Author Archives: presidentblog

Proposed Tax Reform Negatively Impacts Private Higher Education

Those who keep abreast of political news may be following the tax reform legislation under construction currently.  We are monitoring the situation closely because of the current legislation in Congress (the Senate’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and H.R. 1 in the House of Representatives).  Both bills have serious implications for higher education institutions.

At this writing, both bills have passed in their respective chambers.  It may be possible to change the final version of the law during the Conference process when the House and Senate versions are reconciled with each other.

Here are proposed changes to tax law that could have serious negative consequences for higher education institutions:
  • Student Loan Interest – The current $2,500 student loan interest deduction would be eliminated. Result:  Student loans become more difficult to repay.
  • Charitable Giving – The standard deduction would effectively be doubled, significantly reducing the value of the charitable deduction. This change would result in a dramatic drop in the amount of charitable giving in the U.S. due to an estimated 32 million fewer people eligible to claim the deduction.
  • Endowments – Private institutions would pay a 1.4% excise tax on net investment income above a certain threshold based on the ratio of enrollment to endowment size. Result: This would reduce the amount of endowment proceeds available for operations and student scholarships for institutions that reach the threshold.
  • Tax Exempt Bond Financing – Private institutions would no longer have access to tax-exempt bonds. Result: Cost of capital for construction and improvements would increase.
  • Qualified Tuition Benefit Reduction – Tuition waivers for employees, spouses and dependents would become taxable. Result: IWU would immediate pay over $360,000 in new FICA taxes, and IWU employees would be liable for $1.4M in newly taxable benefits.
  • Lifetime Learning Credit – The current $2,000 per year tax credit for part-time, nontraditional students would be eliminated. Result: An incentive for adults to pursue degrees would be removed.

These changes directly impact the accessibility and affordability of private higher education at a time when these institutions are already vulnerable.  The Council for Christian College and Universities has been proactive in presenting our case against many of these measures. They seem to unfairly and inappropriately target private higher education.

Last month, Trustee David Dimmich and I participated with about 40 CCCU presidents, trustees, and administrators in an intensive day of visits to our Congressional delegates in Washington, DC, to make them aware of our concerns.  We were well received by our Indiana legislators including Senator Todd Young, Representative Susan Brooks, Representative Todd Rokita, Representative Jim Banks, and Representative Jackie Walorski.

We have reason to believe that at least some of these issues will be removed from the final version of the new tax code.

IWU Hoops Mission Impacts the World

Last week I was able to share lunch with senior business student, and IWU basketball player, Jacob Johnson. If you have spent any time around the men on our basketball team or their coach, Mr. Greg Tonagel, you might be familiar with the “I Am Third” philosophy that permeates this group of men. I left my lunch with Jacob encouraged to see yet another fabulous example of the fruit of the “I Am Third” mission.

During lunch, Jacob humbly shared what an impact IWU, and specifically IWU basketball has had upon his life. He was a believer prior to coming to IWU, but it became clear as I listened to Jacob share his story, that it has been here, as a student at IWU and a member of this team that his relationship with the Lord has been transformed from head knowledge of what it means to follow Christ to a heart experience. Jacob talked about struggling to adjust to the drastically different mindset of IWU basketball where he explains that, “his coaches truly care more about me as a person than what I can accomplish on the court.” After two years of watching and listening, Jacob explained that he finally “bought in” and fully embraced a new way of living life. He decided to go “all in” and make the commitment encouraged of him by his coaches – to do everything for the Lord and others first.

Coach Tonagel preaches “I Am Third” which means – God first, others second, and I am third. They measure success by their teammates growth. They play for each other. Greg describes his goal for his team as this: “We want to develop men who will leave our program to be “I Am Third” men in their homes as husbands and dads, in their communities, in their churches, and in their work places.”

Jacob caught the vision, and put it into practice in his life as a college student, and as an entrepreneur. During his freshman year, his best friend from back home called asking if he’d like to build a drone together. Jacob loved the idea and within months the two formed a partnership that has turned into a thriving business called ALPS (Aerial Logistics and Production Services). These young men recognized a business opportunity in drone inspection services. Companies in service industries now use drones for inspection work, but they do not always want to be in the drone business (purchasing, certifying, licensing, piloting, etc.). Jacob and his partner have been there to meet this growing need.

They have four pilots and they are in the early stages of spreading their network nationally. While Jacob is licensed to pilot drones, his partner does most of the flying while he maintains his focus on sales, networking, business development, accounting and so forth. In the beginning, they did deeply discounted work in order to get new business, gain credibility and generate referrals. He explains that the business has exploded in the last six months and he is excited to graduate and make ALPS his full-time work. Check out their website to learn what these innovative and highly motivated young men are doing: www.alpscompany.com

As I listened to Jacob talk about ALPS, I was amazed by the tone of his conversation. He exuded praise for his professors who have mentored him both practically and spiritually as he has walked the road of learning how to grow a new business. He spoke about the amazing business growth that has taken place during the busiest season of his life. He explained that when he decided to go “all in” with the Lord, the things in life that should have been impossible came to fruition and the things in life that should have overwhelmed him did not. He says, “We see that God’s hand is in it [this business]. He gets the glory. We pray over all of it and trust God.”

I asked Jacob if he had any advice for other college students. He did not hesitate—take risks while you are young, fail early and often learning from your mistakes, find mentors who can walk beside you, and don’t be afraid to put in the work. Persistence is important. He quoted Colossians 3:23 ‘Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men’ and proceeded to explain how choosing to focus on this verse has changed everything he does, “I’m doing this for the Lord. We want it all to point back to God.”

To say that I came away from lunch encouraged is an understatement. Jacob has learned an invaluable life lesson – how to practically put God first in all things. He has practiced that while he has been a student at IWU and I know he will continue doing so when he leaves this institution. I was also encouraged because Jacob is speaking truth that is good for ME to hear. Putting God first in all things. I am third.

To read Jacob’s blog on the IWUhoops.net site, visit: https://www.iwuhoops.net/blog/#welcome-to-the-blog-1

David Wright and Jill Pederson

Spiritual Life on Campus – Chapel

If you utilize social media sites (i.e. Facebook, Twitter) or visit national news sites, you will most likely agree that we are living in a rapidly changing and politically super-charged day.

Our residential students are also engaged in social media and, for most, their days at IWU are the first where they find themselves interacting with the world from outside the umbrella of parental oversight.

Knowing how pivotal college is for young adults, we at IWU are very intentional about our time together – both in the classroom, as well as every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning when our Marion IWU community meets together for chapel. It is our time to worship, encourage, nurture, as well as stretch our student’s hearts and minds towards a deeper life in Christ.

I’ve known our Dean of Chapel, the Rev. Dr. John Bray, for many years. Before coming to serve as Dean of the Chapel he was the senior pastor of Heritage Church in the Quad Cities (Indiana/Illinois) – a position he held for 41 years. John and his wife Patty are passionate about inspiring our young people to think about their lives and the world around them in light of the truths of God’s word.

For this academic school year, John has arranged some fascinating chapel themes and guests speakers. I want to share a few with you, to provide a glimpse of the ‘chapel part of life’ for our residential students.

Chapel at Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion, IN.

Chapel at Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion, IN.

Our theme for this fall is “Choices Matter”. Every Monday, faculty from our School of Theology and Ministry are preaching through the book of Philippians. Paul, the writer of this book, consistently chose joy! What an powerful message for our students.

 

 

We launched Hispanic Awareness month by welcoming Gabriel Salguero, pastor of Lamb’s Church of the Nazarene in New York City, and founder of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition (NaLEC) which offers an important leadership voice for the close to 8 million Latino evangelical people in our country.

Did you know that 2017 marks the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation? Dr. Bray has enlisted faculty emeritus, Dr. Bud Bence, to dramatically portray Martin Luther.

To commemorate Global Awareness Week, we look forward to hosting Maryam & Marziyeh, Iranian women who were imprisoned for 256 days because of following the teachings of Jesus. In an Iranian court, they were ordered to denounce their faith verbally and in writing, but they stood firm replying, “We love Jesus. We will not deny our faith.”

Feel free to listen in by visiting our website’s chapel podcast archive: www.indwes.edu/undergraduate/life-at-iwu/spiritual-life/

(David Wright and Jill Pederson)

Success or Significance? Stories of Alumni

Success. The desire for it drives us.

Yet one single, absolute definition of success eludes us as there are so many lenses with which to view success. Still, somehow, it seems easy to recognize when success is achieved.

Would you agree with those statements?

Even the conversation about success is subject to a person’s viewpoint. Is success measured by a position in life, accomplishments, wealth, outcomes achieved, a sense of inner peace, the ability to aide our fellow human beings, obeying the Lord’s will no matter the cost?

We at Indiana Wesleyan University think about success quite often because we want our students to succeed in the classroom and in life. We want our alumni to succeed professionally. We want them to be well prepared for the journey God has laid out before them.

But there is something we want for our students to achieve even more than success. That is significance.

Recently I heard someone say that success is what dies with you. Significance is what outlives you.

I ask you, if it is so very challenging to define success in one absolute way, what does it mean for our lives to have true significance?

Significance, in my viewpoint, is when an individual uses his or her God-given gifts and abilities to impact the world for Jesus Christ, wherever that may be. It could be in a classroom, an office, a lab, a tent or a concert hall. The light in their eyes, the joy in their hearts is obvious when they are using their God-given gifts to the fullest for His glory.

A favorite part of my role as President is celebrating our alumni. The stories are endless, they are wide-ranging in variety, and truly inspiring.

Perhaps it is because of my background as a missionary kid, that I cannot help but feel drawn to the stories of alumni who go to regions of the world where they are a light for the Lord in a place that does not yet know Him. I often think of simple truths found in God’s word such as “Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established” (Proverbs 16:3) or “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me” (Matthew 16:24). Both are true! Alumni who take the truth of God’s word seriously and live their lives to please Him –wherever it is that God leads them after IWU – achieve significance in ways that make me exceedingly proud.

With that in mind, I close with two alumni stories which I have shared with our Board of Trustees recently. If you enjoy these stories and want to read more, visit the IWU Alumni website at https://www.indwes.edu/alumni and look for the Alumni Blog. Also, be sure to visit the IWU Adult & Online Facebook page where posts regularly provide updates of National & Global alumni accomplishing great things within our world.

 

 

Marie Beechy – graduated in 2017 with a Master of Science in Nursing Education. Marie is the Director of Projects for One Refugee Child, an organization which raises funds to improve the day-to-day lives of refugee children. They have raised over $100,000 in funds for refugee children, delivered winter wear and blankets, handed out hundreds of strollers along with infant care items, provided school supplies for schools and distributed hygiene kits to newborns in refugee camps.

 

Ruth Olson (middle) – graduated in 2015 with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. For Ruth’s first year out of college, she has been serving in Iraq meeting the medical needs of refugees with Samaritan’s Purse. She has returned home to Tennessee. Not only is she an awesome nurse, but she is a Christ follower who is choosing to use her gifts to help others and spread God’s love around the world.

 

Indiana Wesleyan University Welcomes Dr. Matt Lucas, Chancellor, IWU-National & Global

It is a special day for the IWU community.

I am pleased to welcome Dr. Matt Lucas as Chancellor of IWU – National and Global. Matt, his wife Tammy, and their daughters moved to Marion this past August. Since that time, Matt has been working alongside retiring chancellor Audrey Hahn as chancellor-elect. Matt assumes full responsibility as chancellor as of October 1st.

The chancellor serves as the chief administration officer of IWU-National and Global, which serves more than 10,000 students at 15 educational centers in Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio, as well as all online students who come from the United States and 30 other countries. IWU’s DeVoe School of Business, the School of Nursing, the School of Health Sciences, the School of Service and Leadership, and the Division of Liberal Arts are all housed within the National and Global umbrella.

Matt comes to IWU from Corban University in Salem, Oregon where he served most recently as Executive Vice President providing oversight of academics, enrollment and marketing, and strategic planning.

Chancellor

Matt Lucas, chancellor of IWU National and Global.

“As we come to the close of the first quarter of the 21st century, colleges and universities find themselves under increasing pressure to redefine and reinvent themselves to meet the demands of a dynamic market and rapid technological shifts,” Lucas said. “I came to IWU because I believe National and Global is poised to meet this challenge by building on a legacy of innovation and entrepreneurial spirit and creating relevant alternative approaches to higher education in the US and around the world.”

 

 

Those who know Dr. Lucas have described him as innovative, strategic, entrepreneurial, inspirational, globally minded and gospel-centered. We are delighted that Matt has joined our community. I believe Matt is the right leader for IWU-National and Global and I look forward to seeing how he and his leadership team will shape our institution in the coming years.

Probing the Evangelical Mind

The religious historian George Mardsen once defined an evangelical Christian as “anyone who likes Billy Graham.”

A few years later, when the famous evangelist was asked what the term meant, he was at a loss for words. “Actually, that’s a question I’d like to ask somebody too,” Graham said.

Fast forward to 2017, and the definition of the term “evangelical” has become even more clouded. For that reason, I am honored to join with Jay Hein, President of the Sagamore Institute, in hosting a gathering of Christian scholars to discuss what it means to be an evangelical.

Level Mansion

The symposium, “The State of the Evangelical Mind: Reflections Upon the Past, Prospects for the Future,” will convene September 21-22 at the historic Levey mansion, which houses the Sagamore Institute, in downtown Indianapolis.

The Sagamore Institute, which came to life in 2004, was intentionally located in America’s heartland to avoid the noise and rancor coming from Washington, D.C. The Institute’s mission is to tackle difficult issues with civility and focus on solutions not theology. Before becoming president of the Institute, Hein was the director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Community Initiatives under former President George W. Bush.

Other partnering sponsors of the symposium, in addition to the Sagamore Institute and Indiana Wesleyan University, are Christianity Today, and Excelsia College in Australia. The Lumen Research Institute, a joint initiative sponsored by IWU and Excelsia, is planning the event.

You can find more information about the conference at lumenresearchinstitute.org.

Evangelicalism, however one defines it, finds itself at the intersection of a host of crossroads. After decades of relative prosperity in North America, the churches, universities and seminaries that evangelicals cultivate, populate and depend upon for leadership are wrestling with legal, social and ultimately theological questions on a wide variety of fronts.

For many, the financial challenges that compelled Christianity Today to close Books and Culture after 21 years were tangible expressions of those challenges.

This symposium offers a context in which participants can reflect upon that past but also think critically about the prospects for the future of the evangelical mind.

Confirmed keynote speakers for the event include:

  • Mark A. Noll, Francis A. McAnaney Professor Emeritus of History, University of Notre Dame.
  • Jo Anne Lyon, former General Superintendent and current Ambassador for The Wesleyan Church.
  • Timothy Larsen, Carolyn and Fred McManis Professor of Christian Thought, Wheaton College.
  • Lauren F. Winner, Associate Professor of Christian Spirituality, Duke University Divinity School.
  • James K.A. Smith, Professor of Philosophy and the Gary and Henrietta Byker Chair in Applied Reformed Theology and Worldview, Calvin College.
  • David Mahan – Executive Director of the Rivendell Institute at Yale
  • Don Smedley – Senior Fellow of the Rivendell Institute at Yale

John Wilson will be honored during the symposium for his long and remarkable service as founder and editor of Books and Culture.

A Day for Renewed Hope

As we begin a new week, our hearts are torn between the pain and sorrow of the horrific events that happened Saturday in Charlottesville, and the hope our community has in Jesus and in the basic good will of our fellow American citizens.

The IWU community unequivocally rejects the white supremacist ideology on display over the weekend. It is not the way of Jesus. And neither is it aligned with the great values of the American dream we have pursued together for more than two centuries.

On this day, we need renewed hope. We need hope that good will triumph over evil. We need hope that humility ultimately wins over hubris. We need hope that we have a bright future together, one in which our differences become our strength and not our defeat.

I remind our university community of the heart of our mission. We are a Christ-centered academic community committed to changing the world by developing students in character, scholarship, and leadership. We take this calling seriously, to be a community committed to the hard conversations, to the challenging work of understanding the times in which we live. We will redouble our efforts to bring hope to our national community through the disciplined use of our minds and hearts under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

Today we turn for hope and courage to our faith in Jesus, who took on himself the evil and suffering of this world and made a way for us to see and pursue beauty, righteousness, and goodness.

As for our house, we will follow the way of Jesus.

Dr. Colleen Derr to become President of Wesley Seminary

Wesley Seminary - Indiana Wesleyan

It is with great delight I announce that Dr. Colleen Derr has been named the new President of Wesley Seminary at Indiana Wesleyan University. She will succeed Dr. Jo Anne Lyon, who has served as interim leader since the departure of Dr. Wayne Schmidt, the founding leader of the Seminary. Dr. Derr’s new role will begin July 1, 2017.

Dr. Derr has been a part of Wesley Seminary since 2011, serving as a faculty member and Assistant Dean. She has served as the chair of the Seminary faculty, as a member of the University Faculty Senate and been active on numerous university committees. She played an integral role in the development of the Master of Arts in Children, Youth and Family Ministry and is currently part of the team developing a Doctor of Ministry in Spiritual Formation that is scheduled to launch in the fall 2018. Dr. Derr is a respected teacher, researcher, leader and colleague.

Before joining the seminary faculty, Dr. Derr served as a denominational leader through multiple leadership positions in The Wesleyan Church. She is an ordained elder and has served in pastoral ministry.

Dr. Derr has earned a reputation as an advocate and resource for an array of church ministries, an effective administrator and a wise and dynamic leader.

Her educational achievements include an M.A. in Ministry Leadership from Indiana Wesleyan University, and an Ed.D. in Christian Education Leadership from Regent University.

Dr. Derr is married to Wayne Derr, and they have four adult children, Jerica, Zachary, Tyler and Anna.

We are grateful that God has prepared Dr. Derr for this work and look forward to her leadership.

Wesley Seminary is a special place that has developed quality programs and faculty since it opened in 2009 on Indiana Wesleyan’s Marion campus.  The seminary now serves more 500 students in 34 states and 11 countries. It is being used by God to engage and equip pastors to lead their churches and reach individuals for Christ.

We have a great sense of anticipation for the new vistas of service that God will open to the faculty, staff and students of Wesley Seminary in the years to come.

Please join me in welcoming Dr. Colleen Derr as the President of Wesley Seminary at Indiana Wesleyan University.

Indiana Wesleyan University launches search for new chancellor

IWU - Louisville Campus

Indiana Wesleyan University is launching a nationwide search for a chancellor to oversee IWU’s National and Global campus, the campus that oversees all non-residential services.

The National and Global campuses serve about 11,000 students at 15 education centers in Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio, as well as all online students, who come from the United States and 30 other countries. IWU’s DeVoe School of Business, the School of Nursing, the School of Health Sciences, the School of Educational Leadership, the School of Service and Leadership, and the Division of Liberal Arts are all housed within the National and Global campuses.

The successful candidate will replace Audrey Hahn, the current chancellor, who has announced her retirement. Hahn’s last day will be Dec. 31, 2017.

The university has established a search committee and is working with EFL Associates to help identify candidates for this key position at the university.

“EFL Associates is a firm that specializes in leadership searches in a variety of industries, including higher education,” said Jerry Shepherd, associate vice president of adult enrollment services and chair of the search committee, in a letter to university faculty and staff. “As applications are received in March and April, the committee will review and schedule interviews with the most highly qualified candidates.”

The committee will recommend finalists to David Wright, president of Indiana Wesleyan University.

“Ultimately, Dr. Wright will review the finalists and will select the individual he feels best prepared to lead the National and Global campuses,” Shepherd said.

IWU has begun advertising the position, and the description can be viewed here.

Merry Christmas from IWU

 

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.”Luke 2:10-11 NIV