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 with designs underway; our Phoenix MFT program is thriving; and our campus in Houston has been magnanimously gifted to Fuller—as long as it is used for theological education. Fuller has a history of employees working virtually, with 50 or so successfully engaged already this way. Administrators and staff from Human Resources, IT, and Teaching and Learning are working together to formalize best practices for Fuller around this type of work arrangement. Other space needs, such as student housing leased from a third-party organization (as has been the case for decades in Pasadena), or alternative office leases are in convenient supply near the campus center.
A note about Houston
Houston is a thriving market that could support a theological seminary of Fuller’s ethos but it requires the kind of undergirding that a decision like this would give. At the same time, our architects are meeting with frontline leaders to understand their space needs while divisional leaders are calculating the number and size of private offices, open workspaces, library, and convocation spaces we need to accomplish all our missional goals. The Houston property gift is a key part of our financial portfolio and offers an innovative solution to office space needs; therefore, we will be considering a move of some offices (in the neighborhood of 50–75 people) to Houston, though the exact number and functions will be decided as we are able to work through realities together. Preliminary recommendations have been presented to the board in a “what if” scenario, to positive support. (It’s worth noting, for those who might be affected by such a move, that living in Houston on a Pasadena salary will go much further, as we expect to be the case in Pomona. According to a cursory search on bestplaces.net Pomona is 41.9 percent less expensive than Pasadena and Houston is 107 percent less expensive.)