The Future of Fuller
Our world, and Fuller Seminary’s place in it, is at a historic moment of disruption and opportunity. As we lean into change, we must thoughtfully examine Fuller’s place in higher education and in the wider world. We must rethink our institutional structure, program offerings, and even the location of our campuses in order to revitalize our vision of forming global leaders for kingdom vocations in a way that makes the most impact in the 21st century. Continue to visit this page for updated information about changes at Fuller and the opportunities that await us in the coming season.
Reimagining Fuller Seminary in Pasadena
At the recent Board of Trustees meeting the board considered two scenarios regarding the future location of Fuller’s California campus: stay in Pasadena or continue with a relocation to Pomona. On Thursday, October 24, the trustees unanimously affirmed that Fuller will remain in Pasadena. This shift in the board’s plans was occasioned by two major factors: (1) dramatically escalated costs of construction in Southern California, which have affected the proposed Pomona campus, and (2) differences with the City of Pasadena, which affected the sale and sale price of the seminary’s Pasadena campus. Board Chair Dan Meyer put it simply, “The economics and timing on which we based our original plan have changed too significantly to make it the best course for Fuller’s future. We have determined another positive way forward and will now pursue that vigorously.”
This means re-embracing our home in Pasadena, a place we love and want to serve, even as we feel nothing but gratitude for the support and welcome we were extended from the City of Pomona. This decision will require working closely with the city in immediate steps toward consolidating our Pasadena footprint to better serve the needs of our current students and community (while continuing, as always, to provide student housing). As we’ve discussed in several employee meetings, the new way forward will continue to involve moving some of Fuller’s offices to the modern but underutilized campus the seminary operates in Houston—now the third largest city in the United States.
Additionally, we will increase access to online programs and strengthen our Arizona MFT program. While we continue to offer both residential and online educational programs—marked by the academic rigor to which we have always been committed—we are reimagining what a responsive, formational education looks like for a world campus.
The next logical question is: how will we enact strategic plans to secure the future for Fuller? The board has reviewed the penultimate draft of Fuller’s strategic plan, constructed by the Strategic Planning Steering Committee, who will work with faculty and administration to bring the fully developed plan back to the board for ratification in January.
This combined work—consolidating the Pasadena campus, selling off non-core properties, rightsizing Fuller’s financial outlook through debt reduction and the launch of a comprehensive capital campaign, and maximizing our admission and retention efforts—will provide the foundation for Fuller’s stability. Dan Meyer adds, “The proceeds from those eventual sales and the capital campaign we will mount starting in 2020 will enable us to reduce our debt, modernize our Pasadena campus, increase our student scholarships, and fund other enhancements to the quality of our education and community life.”
While there is disappointment that Fuller will not be relocating to Pomona with a new physical beginning, there is also relief that the city that has been our home for over 70 years will continue to be our home. We recommit ourselves to being good neighbors with the City of Pasadena, and we will keep working alongside the city in addressing the various needs and challenges within our community, while continuing to build on the need to be a different, more intentional, more responsive Fuller.
I know, and share with you, the loss and tumult that the community has patiently endured in recent years. The board’s decision to reinvest here in Pasadena brings greater clarity and stability as we continue to enact the creative measures needed for Fuller to flourish for decades to come.
Grateful for this moment and anticipating God’s faithfulness for a new era in Fuller’s life,
Clifford L. Penner Presidential Chair
Strategic Planning Committee
Mark Labberton, Clifford L. Penner Presidential Chair
Kevin Chan, Trustee
Mari Clements, Provost
Amos Yong, Dean of the School of Theology and the School of Intercultural Studies
Ted Cosse, Dean of the School of Psychology
Ray Asad, Chief Operations Officer and Chief Financial Officer
Brent Assink, Chief of Philanthropy
Lauralee Farrer, Chief Storyteller and Vice President of Communications
Tod Bolsinger, Vice President and Chief of Leadership Formation
Marcus Sun, Vice President of Global Recruitment, Admissions, Marketing, and Retention
Alexis Abernethy, Associate Provost for Faculty Inclusion and Equity
Oscar Garcia-Johnson, Assistant Provost for the Center for the Study of Hispanic Church and Community
Cameron Lee, Professor of Marriage and Family Studies
Scott Cormode, Hugh De Pree Professor of Leadership Development
Wilmer Villacorta, Associate Professor of Intercultural Studies
Kara Powell, Executive Director of Fuller Youth Institute
Martha Hunyadi, Director of Business Analysis and Implementation
Britt Vaughan, Director of Communications
Rene Velarde, Student
Mike Bonem, Consultant
Greg Hawkins, Consultant
Among the commitments of Chief of Philanthropy Brent Assink and his team in Development and Fuller Foundation are renewed alumni relationships. Last summer, they crafted a survey to which 1,200 alumni responded. Two particularly important data points, says Assink, were “very strong loyalty and positive feelings towards Fuller, and a correspondingly deep desire to feel…
The Future of Fuller Working Group recommendations to the board equal $6.4 million in financial improvements comprising revenue increases, budget reductions, removing items from the multi-year plan, and more. Of the $6.4 million in financial improvements, $4.6 million are budget reductions that will happen over three years (FY20–FY22). These reductions are in addition to budget…
Fuller’s Core Commitments and Updates on the Future of Fuller: Changes to Fuller’s Educational Business Model
Proposed and recent changes to Fuller’s educational business model are both structural and programmatic. Structural changes include the decision to sustain the three school model but consolidate three deans into two: School of Psychology (SOP) and School of Intercultural Studies with the School of Theology (SIS/SOT). This will facilitate greater integration between the two schools…
Greater inclusion and equity has been emphasized in every level of authority and in every department on campus, even though diversity has been sought after and appreciated by Fuller for decades. This past year Fuller has pushed for change in leadership with the addition of three new trustees, Nicholas Braithwaite, Nicholas Pearce, and Katherine Herrick…
Fuller’s Core Commitments and Updates on the Future of Fuller: Pasadena Sale/Pomona Campus Build Update
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In the past six months, Fuller has sustained a breathtaking whirl of nine accreditation visits (four to Pasadena, two to Houston, two to Phoenix, and one to Irvine) by our three accreditors (the American Psychological Association, the Association of Theological Schools, and WASC Senior College and University Commission). This flurry of accreditation activity reflects a…
In order to have guiding principles around the challenge both to be a “new Fuller” in all the necessary ways when we arrive in our new spaces as well as to continue to be “the same Fuller” in equally important ways, the divisional leaders, mission advancement committee, the Future of Fuller Working Group, and a…
Fuller’s Core Commitments and Updates on the Future of Fuller: Three Channels for Fuller Scholarship
As the landscape of higher education continues to shift, we have been working to find new ways to offer Fuller’s wealth of research and scholarship to as many people as possible. Our strategy now includes three distinct channels for people all over the globe to benefit from Fuller’s resources: Fuller Seminary provides the same rigorous,…
Fuller’s Core Commitments and Updates on the Future of Fuller: Workplace Distribution (Pomona, Houston, Phoenix, Virtual, Lease Options)
Considerations around the holistic use of our physical assets has led to a discussion of workplace distribution organized in three areas: what we own, what we might lease, and how we might work virtually. The Pasadena campus is in the process of being sold; land in Pomona has been secured to build a new campus…
Fuller Seminary is excited to announce that Amos Yong has been named to serve as dean of both the School of Theology (SOT) and the School of Intercultural Studies (SIS), marking a historic new structure for the institution,* effective July 1. Under one dean, the coordination and integration of curriculum and degrees in SIS and…