Thursday’s all-faculty orientation brought together an array of special speakers to kick off Liberty University’s new academic year, including Virginia Secretary of Education Aimee Rogstad Guidera, who recognized Liberty for its pivotal role in higher education.
“The governor wants to make Virginia the best place to live, work and raise a family,” Guidera told the large audience in the Montview Alumni Ballroom. “And we all know, especially those of you in this room, that for that to be true, Virginia must also be the best place to learn. And that’s what you all are: helping to make this the best place to learn. This is our common goal.
Guidera’s position at the firm oversees education from kindergarten through post-secondary education. She is a recognized national expert on the use of data in education policy. Prior to her appointment in December 2021, she was head of strategy consultancy Guidera and former founder and leader of The Data Quality Campaign, a nonprofit that shapes education using data.
“There’s nothing more important than investing in people and in education,” she told Liberty faculty, “and what you do every day is change lives – opening doors, providing opportunities and ensuring people are ready to make a difference in the world.”
Although the orientation served as a celebration of achievement, 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 from the John W. Rawlings School of Divinity.
Bureau of Public Safety and Security Police Chief Col. Richard Hinkley briefed faculty on campus security, including Liberty’s concealed carry policy, access control, blue light boxes emergency, security cameras, raised pedestrian crossings and other security properties and procedures.
On what would have been 89e anniversary of Liberty founder Dr. Jerry Falwell, Academic Director and Provost Scott Hicks briefed faculty on the state of the university, summarizing a year of academic and athletic achievement, enrollment numbers, facilities and l global impact of Liberty. He also offered a message of encouragement and pointed out that the university is only as good as its faculty.
“We need to be encouraged, not discouraged. If he is for us, who is against us? Hicks told the faculty. “God is using you in powerful ways, in ways we will never know or fully understand. We will keep rising. We will dust ourselves off, we will refuse to give up, and we will never give up.
Despite hyperinflation across the country, Liberty has completed the first year of its three-year salary plan, where salaries rise steadily with each new academic year, and the university is in its sixth year of a tuition freeze. Hicks also recognized accreditation success across all schools, the third straight Liberty Football Game victory, more than 105 new academic programs added this year, and other university-wide accolades.
Director of Studies and Provost Scott Hicks
“Through all of these trials and tribulations this season, he has done something great with us,” Hicks said of God’s blessings on college. “He brought us together, he guided and used us in incredible ways. It was through our faith and obedience that he chose to do so much with this place in a single year.
Residential classes are scheduled to begin August 22.