MVNU launches Fairbanks Center for Global Engagement
MOUNT VERNON, Ohio — Mount Vernon Nazarene University publicly launched the Fairbanks Center for Global Engagement to alumni and friends during the Church of the Nazarene’s General Assembly in June. The Center, which is the first of its kind among the Nazarene universities, centralizes the University’s on-campus and off-campus engagement and provides unique opportunities for…
July 19, 2023
- Center for Global Engagement
MOUNT VERNON, Ohio — Mount Vernon Nazarene University publicly launched the Fairbanks Center for Global Engagement to alumni and friends during the Church of the Nazarene’s General Assembly in June.
The Center, which is the first of its kind among the Nazarene universities, centralizes the University’s on-campus and off-campus engagement and provides unique opportunities for students to turn their academic pursuits into active service around the world.
Under the direction of Dr. Brenita Nicholas-Edwards, Assistant Vice President for Global Engagement, the Center creates opportunities for students not only to appreciate the complexity of global integrations, but also to develop skills to navigate it successfully. Well-structured global learning practices — classroom experiences, co-curricular events on and off campus, study away, service-learning, and community-engaged scholarship — help build cultural understanding and competence.
“Most MVNU students come to campus eager to make a difference in the world. But if we really want to make a positive impact in the world, we first have to learn about it, equip ourselves with the skills and dispositions to work effectively in it, build relationships and serve throughout it, and develop compassion and passion for it,” said Nicholas-Edwards.
Through three key strategies — on-campus engagement, off-campus engagement, and the distinctive service-learning Collaboratory — the Center ensures that global perspectives and opportunities to learn and serve locally, nationally, and globally are woven into the fabric of the student experience as a strategic imperative for the University.
Intentionally partnering with Church of the Nazarene, the Center is building bridges from Mount Vernon, Ohio, to destinations throughout the world creating a two-way street of engagement in all three key strategies.
“MVNU is the only school currently intentionally partnering with the global church at this level to help students across all disciplines play a meaningful part in ministry globally,” said Stephen Sickle, Global Coordinator of Partnerships and Work and Witness initiatives for the Church of the Nazarene. “MVNU students and faculty are already serving alongside missionaries and regional leaders in places like Belize and the Africa Region, among others, and many more connections like this are in the works. I anticipate transformation in students, growth in the Church, and mutual encouragement between missionaries, students, and local churches.”
NAMING THE CENTER
Founding President Stephen W. Nease laid the foundation for MVNU’s pursuit of Christ-like service to the world when he introduced the University’s motto: To seek to learn is to seek to serve. Fifth President Dr. E. Lebron Fairbanks and his wife, Anne, elevated the significance of the motto by fostering MVNU’s global impact and setting the example of being global citizens.
Examples of Dr. Fairbanks’ influence on global awareness and engagement included the appointment of an Assistant Chaplain for Mission and Ministry Opportunities, creating the first international study trip, partnering with the Church of the Nazarene to begin the work of the Church in Hungary through efforts of MVNU Collegians, and hiring the University’s first diversity officer which is now the Office of Intercultural Learning and Engagement. Mrs. Fairbanks was also influential in her personal efforts to intentionally minister to international students and children of missionaries.
In his final address to faculty in 2006, Dr. Fairbanks encouraged integration of a cross-cultural component for every graduate, stating that this addition to the curriculum would “emphasize the distinctiveness that MVNU graduates experience face-to-face immersion within a culture other than their own. It reflects our intentionality to prepare students to become global Christians.”
Nearly 17 years later, Dr. Fairbanks continues to promote MVNU’s service in the world and praises the work and mission of the Center.
“Think more globally. Live more simply. Love more deeply. Give more generously. The Center for Global Engagement is passionate about fostering these perspectives campuswide, regardless of position, academic major, or giftedness. In possible and appropriate ways, the Center is committed to enabling the campus community, individually and collectively, to realize these goals,” said Dr. Fairbanks at the launch of the Center.
Adding Fairbanks to the name of the Center was an easy and logical step in recognizing their personal ministries throughout the world and their ability to guide by example an entire university’s vision to change the world with the love of Christ.
“The work of the Center for Global Engagement has been central to the heart of MVNU since we began. However, the Fairbankses helped us engage our heads, hearts, and hands by partnering with friends around the world in mutually beneficial ways,” said Smith.
To learn more about the Fairbanks Center for Global Engagement, click here.