In August 2016, The Master’s University announced the Centers of Excellence Campaign—a $25 million fundraising initiative focused on enriching and investing in three specific schools on campus: Business & Communication; Education; and Science, Math, Technology & Health.
Twenty-five years ago, one of the lead donors of this campaign asked a question: What will set The Master’s University apart from other institutions in the years to come? Today, the COE campaign is beginning to answer that.
“We’ve got to emphasize something beyond our general market footprint, which is a fantastic and solid, well-anchored school committed to the inerrancy of God’s Word,” said Luke Cherry, Vice President of Development.
There’s no question we’ve got the best biblical studies in America, but in order to mature that, you have to actually analyze what programs are performing.
These schools, or the centers of excellence, are the four pillars of this university, showing monumental strength and competition both academically and professionally: 100 percent of 2017 graduates from the teaching credential and business programs found employment in their field.
Before focusing on academic outcomes, however, the donors wanted to make their priorities very clear and continue to reinforce the legacy of biblical fidelity as the foundation the other pillars are built upon. This came through the financial allotment for the John F. MacArthur Endowed Fellowship, awarded in May to Dr. Abner Chou, a professor in the School of Biblical Studies
The COE funds are distributed to four separate categories for each school: faculty, facility, scholarship and sustainability —all necessary to make a program strong.
“The student doesn’t rise higher than the professor who teachers them, so we’ve got to substantiate the quality of our faculty by putting a terminal degree in the hands of everyone,” Cherry said. “In the academic world, no matter the reputation of the teacher, leaders are defined by degrees.”
The COE is currently putting four professors through Ph.D. and Ed.D. programs. Communication Department Chair Bob Dickson (Ed.D) and Prof. Todd Kostjuk (Ph.D.) and Prof. John Beck (Ph.D.) of the Business Administration Department are at the University of Southern California. Prof. Dwight Ham (Ph.D.), another business professor, is taking classes through George Fox University.
The second component? The facility.
“We need facilities and tools that showcase the highest quality of teaching on the highest level of facility,” Cherry said.
The City of Santa Clarita has already approved the construction and architecture of a brand new Business Center on North Campus, which will feature trading floors, real estate labs, podcast labs and more.
A new Education Center is also in the works and will be built at the school’s entrance on Placerita Canyon Road, as a representation of the vital importance quality teachers are to higher education and the need to train future teachers of quality, Cherry said.
This is only the beginning of plans that the COE campaign has for the future, from significant improvements like new buildings, to small additions like a professional lab technician whose sole job is to recalibrate all equipment in the Kinesiology & Physical Education Department so every lab and test is accurate. The Communication Department also obtained new film equipment and funding for student films.
The third component? Scholarships to obtain high quality students.
“Already Master’s has the highest scholarship rate in the West, which would indicate that this is the most generous school in the West and we want to be known by that,” Cherry explained.
Donors are contributing specifically to a gap fund, which fills the remaining gap after the school and students provide as much money as they can but are left wanting. It allows merited students who otherwise could not afford Master’s to walk across the graduation stage in 3-4 years’ time.
Fourth and final? Sustainability.
“We want to bring the outside inside,” Cherry said. “We are not just investing in campus improvements but in corporate cooperation and alumni relations to ensure that our graduates not only are placed in a company but the best companies.”
This list contains more than 10 corporate sponsors who see value in TMU graduates and invest $30-40,000 a year. The goal is to develop and maintain relationships with our alumni and employers worldwide.
“The greatest thing an alum can do is hire our graduates because it validates (the) degree,” Cherry said.
The $25 million COE is unlike any previous fundraising initiative at Master’s U. No other campaign has so strategically strengthened the university; it represents our future, maturity, and ranking among other top universities across the nation.
There’s never been a more exciting time at The Master’s University than right now,” Cherry said. “This is just one remarkable identifier of where we are going as an institution.
To participate in the Center of Excellence initiative and support the future of TMU, contact the office of development at firstname.lastname@example.org