August 12, 2022 : By Logan Smith - Office of Communications & Public Engagement
Thursday’s All-Faculty Orientation brought in an array of special speakers to launch Liberty University’s new academic year, including Virginia Secretary of Education Aimee Rogstad Guidera, who recognized Liberty for its critical role in higher education.
“The governor wants to make Virginia the best place to live, to work, and to raise a family,” Guidera said to a packed audience in the Montview Alumni Ballroom. “And we all know, especially those of you in this room, that for that to be true, Virginia needs to be the best place to learn as well. And that’s what you all are all about: helping to make sure this is the best place to learn. That’s our shared goal.” (Watch Guidera’s full remarks below.)
Guidera’s cabinet position oversees education from Pre-K through post-secondary education. She is a renowned national expert on the use of data in education policy. Prior to her appointment in December 2021, she was the head of the Guidera Strategy Consulting Firm and a former founder and leader of The Data Quality Campaign, a nonprofit that shapes education using data.
“There is nothing more important than investing in people and in education,” she told Liberty’s faculty, “and what you all do every day is change lives — to open doors, to provide opportunities, and to ensure that people are ready to make a difference in the world.”
Guidera commended Liberty for grounding its education structure atop a strong biblical worldview. She also praised Liberty for maintaining its tuition freeze as the country battles inflation.
“I want to say thank you for what you’ve done to ensure that access to this great educational institution is available and accessible to all students,” she said. “So, thank you for what you do in that commitment.”
“You bring the teachings of Jesus Christ alive,” she added. “And it’s part of your education mission to ensure that your students go into the world to build communities of faith and to build stronger communities through Christ.”
While the orientation served as a celebration of accomplishments, it also served as a resource guide for faculty. Departments represented included Community Life, Military Affairs, Career Services, Inclusion, Diversity, & Equity, LU Athletics, Spiritual Development, as well as a keynote address from Troy Temple, Dean of the John W. Rawlings School of Divinity.
Colonel Richard Hinkley, Chief of Police for the Office of Security and Public Safety briefed faculty on campus security, including Liberty’s concealed carry policy, access control, emergency blue light boxes, security cameras, raised crosswalks, and other safety proprieties and procedures.
On what would have been 89th birthday of Liberty’s founder, Dr. Jerry Falwell, Chief Academic Officer and Provost Scott Hicks informed the faculty on the state of the university, summarizing a year of academic and athletic success, enrollment numbers, facilities, and Liberty’s global impact. He also offered a message of encouragement and reinforced that the university is only as good as its faculty.
“We should be encouraged, not discouraged. If He is for us, who is against us?” Hicks told the faculty. “God is using you in mighty ways, ways that we will never fully know or understand. We will just keep getting up. We’ll dust ourselves off, we’ll refuse to give up, and we will never ever quit.”
Despite hyperinflation across the nation, Liberty has finished year one in its three-year salary plan, where wages steadily increase with each new academic year, and the university is in its sixth year of tuition freezes. Hicks also recognized accreditation success across the schools, Liberty football’s third consecutive Bowl Game victory, more than 105 new academic programs added just this year, and other university-wide accolades.
Chief Academic Officer and Provost Scott Hicks
“Despite all these trials and tribulations of this season, He did do something big with us,” Hicks said about God’s blessings on the university. “He drew us closer together, He guided and used us in amazing ways. It is by our faith and obedience that He chose to do so much with this place in just one year.”
Residential classes are scheduled to begin Aug. 22.