Wednesday, March 13, 2013

volunteering for the pink slip

Every now and then, someone does something extraordinary.
This is one of those moments.

Times are hard in higher education. Getting a job requires an enormous amount of stamina. Keeping one requires even more. I have fully qualified friends who applied for 50 academic jobs and only landed 2 interviews. Others applied for teaching jobs 4 years in a row. Wheaton has an amazing record -- 100% of our PhD graduates have vocational placements (i.e. they are not working at Wal-mart). But finding these jobs has not always been easy.

Traditional enrollment is down at institutions all across the country. Donors are pulling back as their investments are shrinking. Students are reluctant to take out loans to finance their education, with no guarantee of a job on the other side. These factors make it hard to find a job in academia. An open faculty position routinely draws as many as 200 applications. But while everyone else is lining up for jobs, one is walking away.

Meet Dr. G.

Garry Friesen has been teaching Bible at Multnomah University for 37 years. He is best known for his book Decision Making and the Will of God, a book that has helped tens of thousands of believers around the world as they have wrestled with very practical questions like Where should I go to school? Who should I marry? How do I find out God's will for my life? Dr. G is still in his prime. Students clamor to take his Pentateuch class. They flock to sit at his table at lunch. A handful even live with him in his C.S. Lewis-themed house up the street from campus (affectionately known as Aslan's How). But this fall, you won't find him in the classroom or in the cafeteria. He resigned.

Like just about every other school administration, Multnomah's decision-makers have been staring hard at the bottom line, wondering how to change red to black. This semester they faced the hardest decision yet—they had no choice but to let go of 4 Bible/Theology professors. And that's when Dr. G volunteered for the pink slip.

If I know Dr. Friesen, I can tell you that he did not wait for an audible voice from God telling him to make this move. He simply saw what needed to be done and did it. In his own words,
Dr. Garry Friesen
"A year ago Multnomah wisely alerted our Bible/Theology faculty that we might have to make cuts in the future. I informed them that I would be willing to retire early from Multnomah to avoid a younger teacher being cut. Sadly, that day has come. This week Multnomah announced to our school family that four faculty positions are being to properly size our faculty to our current student body. For years I have dreamed of teaching full time in Africa after my time at Multnomah had ended. I finalized my decision to resign and have applied to teach full time at Africa College of Theology in Kigali, Rwanda." 
Thanks, Dr. G. You are an inspiration to us all!

1 comment:

  1. Carmen,

    This is sad! I knew enrollment was down substantially at Multnomah this last year.

    Do you know who the other profs are who will be leaving?