My host was dropping me off at the Admin building at Olivet University in Scotts Valley just south of San Francisco CA. Our car turned into a village like community snuggled in the countryside with bush (that’s Australian) all around. We approached the sign and it was hard to distinguish what was university and what was the community. It is completely physically embedded in the neighbourhood all 74 acres of it. I spent the entire day there answering questions and sharing vision. I was very comfortable. It took me quite a while to nail down what I was feeling. I realised it about lunch time – this is just like a YWAM base, it has pioneering written all over it. I was thrilled to play even a small part in their plan to build a 21st century online university from the ground up. We brainstormed the entire day starting with the students, defining how they would “look” or be and the need to define their graduate attributes. Then how they were working on the program learning outcomes and mapping courses and learning to these outcomes.
I almost became jealous of their flexibility, how they were identifying the drivers and who was the most important stakeholder. They had clearly recognised the importance of the student then the pedagogy, then servicing their academics or teachers and then the support needed for the teaching and learning to be world class. They had it the right way around.
There is a lot of work ahead and the staff are committed to do what it takes. It was a great experience to see that the higher education DNA of Christians is alive and well.
Some links from the Podcast episode and Online Resources to think About:
- The university website of Olivet University
- Selected photos of the campus on Flicker
- A thought provoking address titled “Christian Academe vs. Christians in Academe” Kenneth C. Elzinga the Robert C. Taylor Professor of Economics at the University of Virginia delivered this Centennial University Address in September 2005 at Abilene Christian University.