Q: You received three degrees from Vanguard, taught as a tenured faculty member here, and now returned as the Dean of Graduate and Professional Studies. What is it about Vanguard sets it apart from other institutions?
There is a Soul to Vanguard like no other institution I have encountered. What we do here is unique in that there is a deeply spiritual foundation that underlies absolutely everything that happens here. I know other universities talk about their unique Christian perspectives, but things really are different here. There is a spiritual commitment that binds the faculty together that is inspiring. We can sometimes disagree on the “how,” but we are all absolutely committed to the “what” (student learning) and the “why” (our calling to change lives). When you have faculty who are absolutely dedicated to the what and why, the how will inevitably be resolved – and with better outcomes due to the collaborative process. We all want the same outcome – students living a Spirit-empowered life of Christ-centered leadership and service.
Q: You are known as an expert in leadership development. What advice do you give to students and alumni who want to better develop themselves as a leader?
Whenever anyone tells me they want to be a leader, I ask them why? Where they want to lead people and why they want to lead them there is foundational. Until a person has discovered that passionate call to truly make a difference – to rectify an injustice or to bring restoration to the broken – leadership is not about creating positive change; but is merely an ego trip. Leadership is always about other people. The best leaders I know really are not all that interested in being in charge. They’re interested in making a difference. People always follow someone like that.
Q: Our graduate programs and our School for Professional Studies have now merged into Graduate and Professional Studies (GPS) at Vanguard. Can you tell us the benefits of all adult learning being in one school?
All of our graduate and professional studies programs equip adult students for professional excellence. Our students are not the traditional students who live on or around campus and take classes throughout the day. Our students attend classes in the late afternoons, evenings, on weekends, or online. They generally have family obligations while furthering their own careers and are highly motivated to succeed academically as well as professionally. With this new organizational structure we can better leverage our efforts to attract, equip, and graduate students into fulfilling careers whether its business, education, nursing, counseling, or ministry.
Q: What would surprise our alumni who haven’t back to campus in over a decade?
If they walk around campus at nights or on Saturday mornings, they will see hundreds of adult learners ranging from their mid-20’s to mid-60’s. Some of the greatest diversity within the university is among our graduate and professional studies students.
Q: What is the greatest piece of advice you have ever received?
From my Dad: “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.”
Q: Can you tell us a little about your family.
My wife Karen and I were married ten years ago in Needham Chapel – a place that has always been special to me. Since she had a daughter (Lindsay) and I had two (Taryn and Kayla) I proposed to her with a simple gold band with five diamonds. I told her that if we were to marry, it would be a package deal. There would be five us involved in the new enterprise. She agreed and life since has been an amazing blessing. Sure blended families like ours have unique challenges, but we also have unique blessings as well. I have written numerous articles for Focus on the Family about our stories and the November issue of OC Family will carry one of my favorite stories. I hope you get a chance to read it.
Q: What is the single greatest attribute you admire about your wife?
She absolutely loves the Lord. Her faith is constant.
Q: What do you like to do in your free time, when you are not on campus?
You will find me at the pool or the beach. Water is good for my soul.