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, traditional theological degree programs to graduate students that we have offered for over seventy years; FULLER studio creates free online resources for anyone interested in a more deeply formed spiritual life; and now, with the launch of the Fuller Leadership Platform, FULLER Formation and, soon, FULLER Equip offer formation experiences and leadership development to learners who are interested in something between the two.

Fuller Seminary Students
Marcus Sun, new vice president of Global Recruitment, Admissions, Marketing, and Retention (GRAMAR), and his redesigned team are united in their commitment to “deliver the highest level of service and create the strongest sense of belonging for every student and learner who joins Fuller’s rigorous and formative learning community.” The highest standard of graduate scholarship continues to be the engine driving Fuller’s traditional degree programs, and stabilized enrollment by 2023 is a goal set by the departments responsible for new and returning student enrollment. Given our decade-long decline in enrollment, with 1,000 fewer students enrolled than in 2008, early indicators of a path to enrollment stabilization in 2023 are encouraging. After an 8 percent year-over-year decline in enrollment units, in Fall 2018 total units for all programs in all languages declined at an annualized rate of only 3 percent in the following Winter and Spring Quarters of 2019. The Spring Quarter also marked five consecutive quarters of new student enrollment growth, and the first quarter in recent memory when returning student enrollment for master’s-level programs remained flat. We have great hopes that by 2023 our new student and retention strategies will bear fruit, but supporting them during this interim time will be crucial in order to see that stabilization happen.

Fuller Leadership Platform Learners
The Fuller Leadership Platform launched its first subscription-based offering on April 24 with FULLER Formation, intended for learners who are not seeking a traditional seminary degree but desiring personal formation and lifelong learning. The research and resources of the centers, institutes, and initiatives of the Leadership Formation Division, as well as of our three schools’ faculty, are made available through this offering for church, marketplace, education, and nonprofit leaders. The platform launched with 47 learning modules available, and new modules releasing each month, on topics such as calling, healthy relationships, leadership, personal development, popular culture, spiritual practices, women in ministry, youth ministry, and integrating faith and work. This new endeavor extends Fuller Seminary’s instruction for students to fill the demands of a growing community of lifelong learners. This fall will see the rollout of FULLER Equip, a professional development platform with courses that can lead to a professional certificate. In this way, the Fuller Leadership Platform will become a revenue stream of new donors and organizational partners.

FULLER studio Audiences
Having just celebrated its third year, FULLER studio continues to create resources from Fuller’s scholarship and conversations and offer them to anyone interested in a deeply formed spiritual life. Through its curated, free content, the studio also reinforces Fuller’s global reputation, recording over 1.2 billion impressions last year and over 200,000 visitors from 203 countries to the site in 2018. FULLER studio and its companion magazine, FULLER, are multiple-award-winning endeavors of Fuller that partner with the Leadership Platform and Fuller Seminary to extend the reach of Fuller scholarship, learning, and resources to global audiences. “One of our goals,” says Chief Storyteller and Vice President of Communications Lauralee Farrer, “is for FULLER studio to be a hospitable place where people can go for trusted resources on issues with a spiritual component that they want to think more deeply about. Free, original material such as Bono and Eugene Peterson on the Psalms, Martin Scorsese on his film Silence, Beth Moore on misogyny in the church, David Brooks on community, Willie Jennings on race and identity, Jacquelline Fuller on philanthropy, or Pete Docter on storytelling are examples of conversations happening at Fuller that the studio can make more broadly available than ever before.”

These three channels of scholarly content work together to strengthen Fuller’s voice in the world, develop new constituents interested in guided learning without the need for a degree, and foster prospective students interested in the rigors of traditional graduate education.

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