Dr. Corey's vision
Corey sees of all that Biola stands for and dreams of all it can become in the current culture. | Jessica Goddard/THE CHIMES
Q: What was your vision when you came to the university?
A: “What I loved about Biola, and still do, is here’s a school that takes high levels of education seriously, has never forsaken the truth of scripture at the core of who we are and has this kind of intellectual heart of trying to preserve the great truths of a Christian and biblical worldview. I saw that… I don’t know if I actually came with a vision for where Biola’s going, but I came with a passion for who Biola is.”
Q: Going forward, what are your hopes for Biola’s future?
A: “We need to not change who we are, but we need to keep on being better at who we are... We’re starting a school of film and media arts, and that’s a big, bold move. But when you realize the influence that media has globally, why should we not continue to prepare the best and brightest leaders… in order to populate and saturate that community with leaders in film… That’s just one example of a bold initiative that Biola is taking in the next few years to continue us on this trajectory of expanding who we are without depleting our own sense of our reason for being.”
Q: How does the new branding “All As One” fit into your goal for the future?
A: “That means every single person that we invite to come to Biola as a student… belongs here and is important here and is valuable to this community. And no one should ever feel that they’re socially isolated here or they don’t fit in or they’re unwelcome. I think that’s the beauty that ‘all’ is a pretty broad ‘all.’ We have people who grew up in the city and grew up in the country, people from whole families, broken families, missionary kids, kids from Hispanic backgrounds, kids who grew up in Indonesia. We’re here as a kind of representing and reflecting just this great body of Christ.”
Q: Along those lines, last year you gave a really good chapel speech, about how in your time in college you felt a little bit isolated at the beginning. So how does this “All As One” meaning personally feel valuable to you?
“One of the many things I would wish for is that Biola would be known as the kindest, most hospitable campus in America, because this is who God calls us to be... how are we reflecting the profound love of Christ?… So I think that ‘All As One’ means we need to do everything we can to be intentional about that oneness. It doesn't automatically happen. You have to work at it... And I think that is what needs more and more to be the heart of who we are.”
Q: What are your visions for Biola’s global expansion?
A: “I think there’s a bit of an injustice when most of the institutions, Christian institutions of higher education, are located in one part of the world… North America, but where the church is growing—China, Asia, Latin America, Africa—there are growing communities of Christians, but not necessarily the resources. So how do we be part of the solution of eradicating the barriers to Christian higher education globally?…
“We’ve talked a lot about that, we’ve done a new initiative this past year in China, offering a counseling certificate for Christian counselors in China because the church there is growing and it's in desperate need of Christian counselors for these churches... We can’t say we want everyone who wants a Biola education to come to La Mirada. That is logistically, financially, family-wise just impossible for most people.”
Q: In an email to faculty, you said that Biola must change in order to stay the same, what exactly did you mean by that?
A: “What do we need to change about who we are, about how we do education in order to remain for the foreseeable future a strong, vibrant, flourishing, economically-sustainable university… So that’s the whole idea about what do we have to change who we are in order to stay the same as this thriving, flourishing university.”
Q: How can Biola stay relevant in such a politically charged culture?
A: “We need to make sure that we’re not compromising our convictions of who we are as a university: biblically faithful, Christ-centered, part of this long continuum of Christians throughout the centuries who are committed to doing good by doing well for the sake of the gospel and its proclamation to the world. That’s who we are… unless we build bridges with those who don’t understand us, unless we are demonstrating that we are making a contribution to the common good of society, those who are the critics... and are politically charged in one direction or another, they’re going to be skeptical about us... I think that’s why we need to keep on working out to engage the culture, to provide excellence in all of our programs so our graduates leave here not just deeply Christian but outstanding in their careers, their fields, their vocations.”
Q: What’s been your greatest joy?
A: “Students, without a doubt.”