NGU News

NGU Cultivating Faculty Excellence With New Center

Posted on: March 10, 2021
By LaVerne Howell,

Tigerville, SC (April 20, 2020) North Greenville University (NGU) has established the Center for Faculty Excellence (CFE) for its faculty. The Center, which began at the start of the 2019-2020 academic year, has a mission to model a Christ-animated vision of teaching, learning, and living and to engage each academic discipline through the lens of the Scriptures so that students can flourish as transformational leaders for church and society.

Along with this mission, the Center has the following four core virtues to cultivate among the faculty. The virtues are excellence in teaching, excellence in scholarship, excellence in integrating faith and learning, and excellence in service to campus, church, community, and culture.

“My desire for the Center is to come alongside our outstanding faculty members to assist their individual growth as academic disciples. Also, to create opportunities for them to pursue this growth through collaborating with colleagues who have a diversity of expertise and experience,” said Professor of Christian Studies and Director of the Center for Faculty Excellence Dr. Donny Mathis.

Mathis says his prayer is that all of the Center’s initiatives will establish itself as a life-giving reservoir where the faculty can come to find nourishment. He hopes that it will renew them as they pursue this multi-faceted ministry of teaching that Jesus Christ has placed before them at NGU.

But, what exactly does it mean to pursue excellence as an academic disciple?

Growing as an academic disciple in the context of a Christian university involves building a Christ-animated vision of teaching, learning, and living in which the Scriptures serve as the lens through which teaching methodologies and disciplinary presuppositions are evaluated. In Ephesians 1:10, Paul explains that the end goal of God’s work of redemption in the death and resurrection of Jesus was not just saving sinners but also restoring everything in creation that was fractured in the fall by uniting it in Christ.

Mathis said, “pursuing excellence in scholarship, teaching, the integration of faith and learning, and service both on and beyond the boundaries of our campus is part of God’s work of spiritual formation to conform us to the image of Christ.”

One way the Center is pursuing this goal is by launching reading groups where faculty members from different colleges can come together and discuss books that encourage discussion about how they can grow as Christians, educators, theologians, and servant-leaders.

“The Center for Faculty Excellence is one of the most exciting new initiatives at North Greenville. Director Donny Mathis is deeply committed to a vision for faculty development that is rooted in the Scriptures and the best of the Christian Intellectual Tradition,” said NGU Provost and Dean of the University Faculty Dr. Nathan A. Finn. “Under his leadership, the CFE is already implementing a number of exciting initiatives to help our faculty pursue excellence in teaching, scholarship, service, and the integration of faith and learning.”

Finns says in the coming years; the CFE will continue to play a signal role in equipping the faculty to be academic disciple-makers who are educating students to take every thought captive to Christ in every academic discipline.

Alongside this endeavor, the Faculty Resources Lending Library will grow so faculty members can peruse and borrow from the expanding collection of books that focus on the Center’s core virtues.

The Center has also started a series of faculty excellence conversations aimed to orient  the first-year faculty to the Christ-centered culture of NGU and empower veteran faculty to reimagine how they might continue to pursue excellence in the years ahead.

“As long as God gives us breath, may we pursue excellence as scholars, as theologians, and as servants for God’s glory alone. This mission is daunting, but living under the lordship of Jesus in the power of the Spirit demands that we give our whole selves to it,” said Mathis.

NGU continues in its commitment to support its student body both academically and spiritually. The CFE will enhance this commitment as faculty can better instill a love for learning, teach critical thinking skills, and possess a knowledge of God’s Word and how it impacts all areas of life, equipping students to serve as transformational leaders in the community and around the world.

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