Fant Excited About Transformational Opportunities at Greer Campus
NGU President Dr. Gene Fant Jr. addressed the faculty and staff of NGU’s Greer Campus on June 29. At the forum, promoted as ‘The Greer Summit,’ he shared his vision and ideas of online adult and graduate education.
“I am incredibly bullish on graduate programs. I'm incredibly bullish on online programs, and I'm incredibly bullish on Greer,” Fant said.
Fant gave about an hour update on the latest happenings on the Tigerville campus and shared his vision for online, graduate, and continuing education programs at the Greer campus.
“The Greer Campus has incredible opportunities that each and every one of you are going to be a part of. I'm hoping that these [opportunities] will be transformational for the university.”
In his update, he stressed that NGU has to ‘renovate before we innovate,’ referencing a book title by Sergio Zyman, a marketing executive best known as the marketer behind the failed launch of New Coke. A key take away from the book is to remain true to the mission.
“NGU is a Christian university and will always be a Christian university,” he said.
Fant says the university needs to “tend to operational functions and infrastructure.”
“I’m about sustainability. We’re going to be true to our mission and lift up the name of Christ, and we’re going to make sure that operationally, we’re prepared for what God may have in store for us,” Fant said.
Fant has asked former interim president Dr. Randall Pannell to serve as chief academic officer since the retirement of vice president of graduate studies Dr. J. Samuel Isgett in May. He says with Pannell’s background in non-traditional, online, and graduate education, that moving to a unified chief academic officer structure will be an important part of renovating the infrastructure.
“We’re going to be doing this [renovating] all the way through and so whether it's marketing, admissions, or customer service; we’re looking at it in different ways to enhance it [programs] and do it as unto the Lord. Every operational function will not merely be a business practice, but actually an act of worship of God,” he said.
Fant’s desire moving forward is for each and every employee to be excited about going to work every day.
He made reference to a car being in perfect alignment. The same is true for NGU. When all parts of the institution are perfectly aligned, things tend to flow. He will be looking for ways to bring alignment to the university and “communication is key,” he says.
“We want to be in alignment with God. We want to be plugged into the life of not just Tigerville, but Greer and Taylors, and all the other communities that are here as well.”
He said North Greenville Academy was established by the North Greenville Baptist Association in 1892 because Christian education can make a difference in a family's life. “In fact, it can change a family tree, because if you teach people not to be addicted, not to be alcoholics, to have safe and nurturing families, and engage in God's word; education can change our culture.”
The university started as a residential academy so that people living in the Dark Corner would have the opportunity for better training, better jobs, better moral character, and to better understand the Word of God.
Travelers Rest and Greer are up-and-coming destinations.
“If a triangle is drawn between Asheville, Charlotte, and Greenville, we have this really nice little pocket that’s NGU’s target area. When the university’s founders established the school, they had no idea what the future would hold. They were only focused on the tiny little piece of northern Greenville County.”
Through the years, the university has gone through many different metamorphosis. The same values from North Greenville’s founders can actually have a global reach. “It [NGU] is not just for Tigerville, it’s also for Greer and the uttermost parts of the earth,” he said.
“The original founding vision was for one thing, but Christ tells us that our vision is often too small and what we've got to do is lift up our eyes and see that the fields are ripe and the harvest fields absolutely need the Gospel and platforms such as online learning and graduate education. This is how we will make a transformational impact,” he said.
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