Thoughts from Professor Heuser
In four years we will be celebrating Vanguard University’s first 100 years! Some of America’s most prestigious universities share a similar historical identity with Vanguard in its original, single mission of training ministers, missionaries, and lay leadership for Christian ministry. Broadening our mission to embrace the liberal arts several decades ago is now challenged by those in society who question the value of a liberal arts education if it doesn’t translate into a vocation with an adequate salary to pay off student loans, and to provide the means to make a decent living.
The continuing challenge for us as a Vanguard community is to persistently and thoughtfully deepen our commitment to Christian identity and academic excellence without compromising either.
Christian universities – especially those that are evangelical – will likely continue to take a hit in the media and perhaps from specific policies outside of our control. I’ve been thinking about Vanguard’s mission statement, “to pursue knowledge, cultivate character, deepen faith, and equip each student for a Spirit-empowered life of Christ-centered leadership and service.”
In a culture that continues to stereotype Evangelical/Pentecostal labels, it seems important for us as a community to be proactive in clarifying how the interplay of knowledge, character, and faith connects with a liberal arts and professional studies mission of higher education, and why a “Spirit-empowered life” and “Christ-centered leadership” can help to distinguish Vanguard from other Christian university choices. I asked an upper division class how they would unpack “Christ-centered” and “Spirit-empowered” and the discussion was pretty sparse. What follows, perhaps to get a discussion going, are a few of my thoughts.
The inaugural mission of Jesus’s leadership announced good news to humanity’s poor – claiming release to the captives, recovery of sight to the blind, freedom of those who are oppressed, and proclamation of the Lord’s favor (Luke 4:18-19). The radical nature of what Jesus claimed as kingdom values – loving our neighbors as ourselves (Jesus had a specific parable to define neighbor), forgiving when it seems humanly impossible, loving enemies, redefining personal growth and religious piety – need not take away from our convictions of strengthening the academic quality of our programs. On the contrary, these values demonstrate the full meaning of what it means to be truly human in a world that is often dehumanizing and stuck in patterns of recycling blame, judgments, name-calling, and irresponsibility.
The fresh wind of Spirit’s empowerment inaugurated at the Pentecost event in Acts 2 breaks into our creative capacities to speak forth about God’s many deeds of power, and shakes loose the natural bent toward status quo divisions and hierarchies of gender, race, ethnicity, and age. Instead, we walk in the Spirit’s indwelling presence with “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, and self-control” (Gal 5:22-23).
Beyond the academy and one’s vocation is a life lived to its fullest – one that a Christian liberal arts foundation offers to those who will partner with God’s reconciling purpose for the world God loves so much.
Roger Heuser, Ph.D.
Professor of Leadership Studies
Department of Religion
A Word from the Provost
We extend congratulations to Vince and Mikki Gil for the outstanding accomplishment of their daughter. Rachel Gil (class of ’03) of Villa Fundamental Intermediate School was selected SAUSD Educator of the Year for the Intermediate division. Rachel learned that she had been selected through a surprise visit from Superintendent Rick Miller, and members of his Cabinet during one of her English classes on Friday, March 25th. She will represent SAUSD in the Orange County Teacher of the Year program (SAUSD is the largest school district in OC). She will be recognized with all of the Educators of the Year from each school during a recognition reception and ceremony on Tuesday, May 3, 2016, at Santa Ana High School.
Congratulations to Dr. Kristen Lashua’s History of Human Rights class (Fall, 2015)! At its upcoming national conference, Amnesty International will be presenting a Write for Rights Letter Writing Award to the students in Kristen’s class for their participation in a campaign designed to generate attention to the case of Teodora del Carmen Vasquez, who is currently serving a 30-year prison sentence in El Salvador for aggravated homicide, after she suffered a still-birth. Teodora, who could not afford adequate legal representation, was presumed guilty of having an abortion.
We extend congratulations to Julia Wilson for the outstanding accomplishment of her daughter. Lynnea Wilson Morm (class of ’10) has one more week of med school rotations, then she is finished with med school. She officially graduates May 20th from Western University of Health Sciences, College of Osteopathic Medicine in Pomona. Lynnea recently found out that she was matched into residency at Harbor UCLA in family medicine. In addition, she was one of only 100 med students nationwide to be granted a $120,000 scholarship through the National Health Service Corp that will be applied towards her tuition. After residency, she will work for 3 years in a federally funded clinic that cares for the under-served population. We are very thrilled for her success and grateful to Vanguard for the wonderful education she received!
The team who worked with the Substantive Change for Online Religion programs met with WSCUC Substantive Change committee on Monday, March 28th. The team has worked hard developing the changes and preparing curriculum. Thank you all for your hard work.
The Reaffirmation Report for our WSCUC offsite and on campus visit is in progress. Thank you to Dr. Ludmila Praslova, ALO who led the religion team through the substantive change process along with the working teams for the Reaffirmation Report. We have multiple upcoming presentations by Vanguard faculty at WSCUC ARC academic resources conference.
Here are the links:
- AB1888 failure to pass in California
- Sheri Benvenuti and Roger Heuser healing
- Children of Faculty, Staff and Administration
- Students experiencing major challenges
News from the Library
Pam Crenshaw, Michelle Schonken and Steve Valdez will be attending the CARL (College and Research Libraries) conference on Friday, April 2, 2016 at the Westin South Coast Plaza, Costa Mesa.
Dr. Adam Ayers participated in Urban Storytellers in February.
Selah Cosentino, ’14 also presented in February for Coffee, Tea and conversation. She asked a panel of guests to come and help with her presentation of Transitioning from college to career.
The library will be open extended hours for pre-finals and finals week.
- April 25-28, Monday – Thursday, 7:30-3 a.m.
- April 29, Friday, 7:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
- April 30, Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
- May 1- May 4, Sunday – Wednesday 7:30-3 a.m.
- May 5, Thursday, 7:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
- May 6-8, Friday – Sunday, CLOSED
The library is introducing its new LIBRARY APP available through the Apple store and Google Play for download. The official unveiling will be during National Library Week, April 11-15. The application allows patrons to access the catalog and popular databases on their smart phones.
News from Global Center for Education and Outreach
Students spent another spring break serving in Ensenada, Mexico and San Francisco. Both teams had an incredible time and were deeply impacted by what they were able to experience.
Both Women’s Chorus and Orchestra toured over spring break, visiting several churches in states throughout the Western US.
In addition, our Science Department had another successful spring break course through Joshua Tree, Anza Borrego and Death Valley.
News from the Office of Institutional Research
The Office of Institutional Research has collected and analyzed data from Vanguard’s fall 2015 entering class. Being a Christian-based university, the results Vanguard University received vary compared to this year’s national freshman entering class. Here are the results:
Vanguard’s fall 2015 entering freshman class showed similar level of commitment to political engagement and community issues as their national counterpart.
However, Vanguard Freshman have significantly different opinions on the key social policy issues such as endorsement of the marriage of same-sex couples and legal status of abortion, as expected. 81% of 2015 freshmen in the nation endorse the right of same-sex couples to marry while 38% of Vanguard freshmen do. 64% of 2015 freshmen in the nation support the legal status of abortion while 38% of Vanguard freshmen do.
Also, it appears that the higher proportion of Vanguard students use a variety of sources to fund their first year of college than the national freshmen. 27% of national freshmen rely on Pell grants while 46% of Vanguard freshmen do. 52% of national freshmen utilize merit-based grants or scholarships while 83% of Vanguard freshmen do. 65% of national freshmen express concerns about financing their education while 82% of Vanguard freshmen do. Click here for more information.
Also, course evaluations results of 2015 fall will be sent out in the first week of April or sooner.
News from Global Center for Women and Justice
The Frontline Summit included participants from Juvenile Justice, Child Welfare, Victim Advocates and Educators from Orange County, San Bernardino, Riverside, San Diego, and Las Vegas, NV returned to consider emerging protocols for county services to Commercially Sexually Exploited children (CSEC) which is mandated by new California laws. A highlight of the Summit was a Technology and Decision Making presentation by a local App Developer. As a result of his engagement and information gathering, his company is developing a communication app that will link county service providers immediately. Here’s a first look at this.
We had organized our first ever 5K Walk for Justice to kick off the beginning of Ensure Justice Conference. Participants came to Crowne Plaza for the start and walked to Vanguard where Chick-Fil-A was provided. It was a fun way to get the community together to bridge the gap between the government officials that participated at the Frontline Summit, and the students and community attendees of Ensure Justice. Judge Maria Hernandez led the pack, representing the OC Court System.
The Ensure Justice Conference theme was A Marathon to End Human Trafficking with the idea of Train, Sustain, and Focus. We had many expert speakers join us to lead the plenaries and participate on panels, answering the questions from the audience. Some of our plenary speakers this year were Deborah Augustine from DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration), Frank Massolini, Jason Pope, and Priscilla Santos all from The Salvation Army, David and Beth Grant from Project Rescue and many others including local and global organization representation. Here is the link of the plenary sessions: http://www.vanguard.edu/gcwj/ensurejustice/videos/
The second annual Compassion Night was held the first night of the Conference and it was a very impactful in which many Vanguard Students came out to participate in. Chris McCall from Grace Fellowship Church led worship with his team including 3 junior high students. President Beals hosted and Dr. Beth Grant led this powerful evening in which the call was to be filled with Courageous Compassion following the example of Jesus.
The Live2free team went to Kenosha, Wisconsin to participate in the Annual Hope Run Forum at Journey Church. While Dr. Morgan presented to two sessions of healthcare providers at Aurora Medical Center (total of 100 physicians and nurses), Live2free presented at one TOT (15 leaders) and 3 school assemblies. On Friday it was all hands on deck for a one day Community Forum with over 250 participants with law enforcement, victim services, community engagement and awareness leaders. Dr. Morgan facilitated the panels and offered a session on a Public Health Model to the exploitation of vulnerable women and children.
Brittany Skiles, recent alum of Vanguard has been added to the GCWJ staff as Administrative Assistant for the Center. She has already been working as a temporary Coordinator while Nadia Hernandez has been on maternity leave and taking care of baby Isabelle. Nadia will return in April.
Approval of Human Trafficking Certificate is in the final step in the approval process, the WMST 12 unit Anti-Human Trafficking Certificate was approved by the Faculty Senate, February 26, 2016. http://www.vanguard.edu/gcwj/htcertificate/
News from the Registrar
Traditional undergraduate priority academic registration is April 11-15, and graduate student priority registration is April 18-22. Remember that if your class closes during registration and students add themselves to the waitlist you can give priority to individual students by contacting your administrative assistant. They know how to make that happen. Please do not sign an add/drop form to allow them entry to the class as this procedure is now handled by each department through the waitlist process. More detailed information will be sent via e-mail closer to Registration.
FERPA reminder: If a parent wants to speak with you about their student’s grades and/or attendance, please check with your department administrative assistant to see if the student has given permission for you to do so. We recently changed from tracking this information on an excel spreadsheet to entering it into the school’s database (Colleague) so your administrative assistant will need to access this information for you.
You are invited to the: National Faith Leaders Conference
Click here for more information.
Click here for the agenda.