Crozier awarded sabbatical grant to pursue book, promote Hamer & King Scholarship

An honor to a Fresno Pacific University faculty member and administrator will benefit the university as well as the recipient.

Karen Crozier, Ph.D., associate professor of practical theology and director of faculty development and diversity, received a Sabbatical Writer’s Retreat grant from the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities. Crozier, who joined the university in 2008, will take a sabbatical in the fall of 2016. Among her projects will be completing a book manuscript on Fannie Lou Hamer’s creation care leadership ethic.

Hamer was an American voting-rights activist instrumental in organizing Mississippi Freedom Summer for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). She is known for saying, “I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.”

 “The leadership contributions of African American women of the modern day civil rights movement, and black women of the African diaspora are invaluable to the growing bodies of literature in creation care and leadership studies,” Crozier said. “This sabbatical will afford me the time, distance and space to research and reflect on the life and legacy of an unsung ‘shero’ to many in the person of Mrs. Hamer.”

Grantees receive the use of a fully furnished 1,560 square-foot cottage in Michigan that offers a quiet, comfortable environment for study and writing. The cottage is a few hundred feet from the shoreline of Lake Michigan and a five-minute drive from downtown Holland, MI. Hope College is nearby, and Calvin College and Cornerstone University are 45 minutes away by car. Other benefits include a per diem for expenses and library privileges at Hope College.

This kind of scholarship deepens faculty understanding and teaching, which benefits students, according to Stephen Varvis, Ph.D., FPU provost/senior vice president. “Dr. Crozier is a gifted scholar and writer. This is a rare opportunity for her and she is already preparing to take full advantage of her time,” he said. 

In addition, FPU will receive $10,000 to help defray institutional costs associated with providing a sabbatical. “These funds will be used to continue Karen’s work in finding prospective African American students eligible for the King-Hamer Scholarship,” Varvis said.

The Martin Luther King Jr. & Fannie Lou Hamer Scholarship was begun in 2014 under Crozier’s leadership. The goal is to provide opportunities for African American students, who are underrepresented in higher education in general, and Christian higher education in particular. The scholarship, named for two civil and human rights leaders who took a nonviolent stance to promote peace and justice and create social change, is also designed to raise awareness of FPU within the African American community by sending a message that Christian higher education is affordable and accessible. Recipients are current or new FPU students across all undergraduate, graduate and seminary programs who are connected to a congregation, academic agency or non-profit agency such as the West Fresno Ministerial Alliance.

CCCU provides the award in partnership with the Issachar Fund. Based in Washington, D.C., the CCCU is an international, nonprofit higher education association of 180 Christian institutions. The Issachar Fund serves the church by partnering with scholars, leaders and organizations that seek to engage, learn from and contribute to the norms, practices and values of our scientifically-minded culture.

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Wayne Steffen
Associate Director of Publications and Media Relations