A research study released a generation ago warned about the potential demise of small, invisible schools like ours. However, God has a plan for LPC that includes vitality and impact, and we are moving boldly toward His future.
Small colleges and biblical higher education were simultaneously shaken to their foundations and challenged about the future when a UCLA research project was published in 1972. Respected researchers Alexander W. Astin and Calvin Lee authored the report that celebrated the distinctive benefits of colleges like Life Pacific, while also questioning the long-term viability of such institutions. Of special note in the findings were institutions of biblical higher education.
To be completely accurate, Life Pacific was not included in the 1972 study, but would probably be included today because of our present regional accreditation. Astin and Lee referred to institutions like ours as “invisible colleges,” defining them as private, often church-affiliated institutions with relatively open admissions policies and enrollments under 2,500.
This nearly-50 year-old study is still important because of the current climate of students, parents, churches, and learning institutions that question everything related to higher education, perhaps especially biblical higher education. Life Pacific College has addressed mounting questions from our constituents with a series of system-wide innovations focused on strict adherence to our mission and values while expanding programs to remain relevant to the needs of current and future students.
I just returned from Southeast Asia where many of the same questions exist about the viability and sustainability of biblical higher education. This month, we launched the MACL (master of arts in Christian leadership), a U.S.-accredited degree program in Singapore offered jointly with TCA College.
The leadership of TCA College welcomed us with open arms as LPC partners with TCA to help prepare Christian leaders in the region for effective service. Our global partnership with TCA is a significant example of innovation that eliminates skepticism about the relevance of institutions like LPC.
"God has brought together a team at Life Pacific College that is forward-thinking and just as committed to the historic mission of our institution as ever. We rely on the leading of the Holy Spirit as we make decisions about our present and our future, and we are confident that our best days lie ahead."
Still, a flurry of questions circulates still today about the viability of biblical higher education. Alumni ask, “What will happen to my beloved alma meter?” Parents want to know if their child will have the competitive edge they need to get a good job after graduation. Church leaders may wonder how closely aligned its college is with the vision and values of the wider organization.
God has brought together a team at Life Pacific College that is forward-thinking and just as committed to the historic mission of our institution as ever. We rely on the leading of the Holy Spirit as we make decisions about our present and our future, and we are confident that our best days lie ahead.
"For our part, Life Pacific College has turned a corner and I am optimistic about our future. God’s prophetic word in Jeremiah 29:11 for a promising future remains very much alive on our campus and in our programs."
The good news is that the sky did not fall back in 1972 when Astin and Lee released their research. However, their report caused enough of a stir that biblical higher education advocates have spent the better part of a generation identifying key components of sustainability for the ministries and institutions we love.
As a result of deep soul-searching, much research, and hours of fervent prayer, the direction of the Lord is clear to us and we are pursuing His plan for LPC with passion.
We closely identify with the struggles of those “invisible colleges” that Astin and Lee studied so long ago – approximately one-third of the four-year colleges in the United States that collectively enroll almost 500,000 students. For our part, Life Pacific College has turned a corner and I am optimistic about our future. God’s prophetic word in Jeremiah 29:11 for a promising future remains very much alive on our campus and in our programs.
Our team welcomes your questions, input, and testimonies about our past, our present, and our future. We value your prayers for our leadership, our students, and our faculty and staff. Your support means more to us than you will ever know as we innovate today like our founder did in 1923, and strive to remain relevant for future generations we will serve at Life Pacific College.