Sep 29, 2011 | Blog

LeBron, Anne & Stephen Fairbanks
IBOE Retirement Reception

What a journey! When I was approached in late 2007 about my availability to serve as education commissioner to follow Dr. Jerry Lambert, I reminded the general superintendent who contacted me that I had recently retired after 18 years as the Mount Vernon Nazarene University president. I did not have the number of years to serve that my distinguished predecessor, Dr. Lambert, had given. My experience was needed, I was told, and I permitted my name to be included in the process of selecting a new commissioner.  And now, as of September 30, 2011, I will retire from the position I accepted in February 2008.

It has been my delight to work with an outstanding team in the International Board of Education office. Pictured below are: Mrs. Barbara Najarian, administrative coordinator, Dr. Tammy Condon, project coordinator for strategic projects, Mrs. Dana Porter, senior administrative assistant, and my wife Anne. The photo was taken recently at a retirement reception the team planned for me at the GMC.

Dr. Dan Copp, director of global clergy development at the Global Ministry Center of the Church of the Nazarene Center, was elected recently to serve as the next education commissioner. He will lead the International Board of Education in addition to his current assignment as global clergy development director. He knows well the work of the IBOE, and will give strong leadership to the higher education interests of the denomination even as he expands the scope and influence of the global clergy development office.

You may recall that the Church of the Nazarene has 53 colleges, universities, and seminaries in 35countries on six continents. These schools are placed in one of six categories according to mission, Board of governance decisions, and local, district or regional needs, ranging from:

1.Graduate Seminaries & Theological Colleges

2.Liberal Arts Universities & Colleges with Graduate Programs

3.Undergraduate Liberal Arts Colleges

4.Undergraduate Seminaries & Theological Colleges

5.Certificate and Diploma Bible Colleges

6.Specialized Training Schools

Although I have given my best at being a resource to the various school leaders in these six categories, the truth is that I have gained so much more from my association with them.  I have spoken at graduation services, led faculty workshops, guided governing board seminars and retreats, and provided a listening ear to the school leaders and administrative team members.  Networking our colleges, universities, and seminaries within and across regions has been a particular concern and interest of mine. Resourcing governing board members and nurturing them in their roles and responsibilities has especially captured my attention and energy.

The photos below reflect some of our institutional leaders globally.

Perhaps the most strategic International Board of Education project is the Quality and Missional Review process conducted with all IBOE schools. Phase one of the process has taken approximately six years to complete, and each higher education institution of the Church of the Nazarene, with several exceptions, has submitted to this internal and external review.  A thorough evaluation of this process is now underway by the IBOE as we prepare for phase two of this internal and external review. The four benchmarks against which each school is evaluated are:

1.Clarity of purpose

2.Strategic institutional planning

3.Mission driven and effective academic programs

4.Development of the people who work and study at the school

Dr. Kent Brower and I recently completed a Quality and Missional Review of the South East Asia Nazarene Bible College in Thailand with its six education centers located in neighboring countries, and spent four days with the faculty, administrative team, and the governing board of the Nazarene Theological College, Brisbane, Australia.

I close this blog reminding all of us of the mission of vision of the International Board of Education and key responsibility of the education commissioner:

The mission of the International Board of Education is:

…to serve as a dynamic worldwide network of Nazarene colleges, universities, and seminaries to facilitate the mission of the Church of the Nazarene in making Christ-like disciples and shaping Christian servant leaders for local witness and global impact.

The vision statement of the IBOE, which characterizes our colleges, universities, and seminaries at their best and convict them at their worst, is:

…through intentional collaboration and sharing resources, Nazarene higher education institutions effectively equip their students to be global Christians who:

1.Care Deeply

2.Think Biblically

3.Study Passionately

4.Live Gratefully

5.Relate Ethically

6.Witness Faithfully

7.Serve Competently

8.Lead Strategically

Anne and I will move to Florida in October. I will focus my attention on developing a global intervention and coaching resource service. You can read more about what I believe strongly I should do in the next phase of my ministry at  We plan to travel in January to the Asia Pacific Nazarene Theological Seminary in Manila, Philippines for a teaching assignment and other responsibilities on the Asia Pacific region.  I am open to other teaching, coaching, seminar and workshop sessions, especially as these relate to nurturing stronger and more effective governing boards of Christian colleges, universities, and seminaries, local churches and not for profit organizations.

Let’s stay in touch. I covet your prayers.

September 30, 2011

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