FPU board approves program to help community, brings back major in political science

A new budget, a new major and a new way to serve the community were approved by the Fresno Pacific University Board of Trustees during its last meeting.

The university joined Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary, Mennonite Brethren Mission and Service International and Butler Mennonite Brethren Church to form the Southeast Fresno Community Development Corporation. The goal of the non-profit group is to reach out to the area surrounding the campus. Its first project was the expansion of Small World Preschool at Butler Church to include more local children.

Beginning in the fall the political science program will again offer a major as well as a minor. The major was begun in 1964 but discontinued 10 years later. Political science is one of the major disciplines within the liberal arts and provides an excellent background for many careers, Richard Unruh, political science faculty, stated in his proposal to the board. Brining back the major at this time follows the goals of the university and takes advantage of increased student interest in the field, according to Unruh. 

The board approved a $23,082,225 operating budget for 2002-2003. This is almost 10 percent more than the 2001-2002 figure. The first objective of the new budget is to provide a 7.5 percent raise for employees effective January 1, 2003. There is also a 3 percent increase in program budgets for academic improvement.

Several items requested by faculty and staff were also approved as part of the budget. They include two full-time faculty positions in Fresno Pacific College (the traditional undergraduate program), additional marketing and financial aid help in Fresno Pacific Graduate School, a financial aid counselor in the Fresno Pacific School of Professional Studies, a half-time position dealing with the university World Wide Web site and help with collections and digitization in Hiebert Library.

In an attempt to change behavior rather than raise money, several student fees were increased. The fees are for services such as late registration, special processing, late payments and withdrawals, reinstatements and some applications and credentials. The idea is to encourage students to file paperwork on time so as not to put extra stress on staff in the affected offices. “With any luck, our revenues will go down,” said Larry Perryman, vice president for business affairs.

In other action, the board:

  • Appointed John Birkhauser administrator of the Bakersfield Center, succeeding Bill Williams. The center offers credentials and master of arts degrees in administrative services and library media.
  • Gave emeritus status to four faculty who are retiring this spring. Dalton Reimer has been in several positions over the last 42 years, including college dean and co-director of the Center for Peacemaking and Conflict Studies. Larry Warkentin spent 39 years in the music department, most of them as chair. Devon Wiens was part of the biblical and religious studies faculty for 31 years. Judith Hillen served 19 years and was a member of the graduate mathematics program.

The board met March 8-9 on campus. The next session will be June 21-22.