Date: August 24, 2009
David Ferguson, the first to hold the newly created position of director of Undergraduate Leadership Development underneath the Division of Student Life, brings a wealth of leadership experience to the role. His mantra for leadership is simple, yet profound: “Lead by permission, not by position.”
Ferguson’s role as a director involves oversight of the Undergraduate Leadership Development certificate in addition to being an adjunct professor in the College of Arts & Sciences and School of Education.
Students who wish to receive the Undergraduate Leadership Development certificate must complete 11 credit hours which include the course Intro to Leadership, a change project, and a combination of capstone and cognate courses. “In today’s climate, it gives you an edge,” says Ferguson. “I believe that in a fairly short period of time, we will be able to demonstrate a qualitative difference that will set our students apart.”
Ferguson holds three degrees from Andrews University: Master of Arts in Education (’90), Bachelor of Arts in Religion (’87) and Associate of Science in Business Administration (’87). “It’s not hard to go back to somewhere you love,” he said of his return to the Andrews University community.
Following completion of his studies, Ferguson spent several years working for the Pennsylvania Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, first as a pastoral intern and later as senior pastor for a two-church district. In 1993, he accepted the position of youth director for the Pennsylvania Conference where he remained until 1999. During this time, he gained a wealth of experience working with youth and young adults through conference ministries such as Pathfinders and summer camps, in addition to conducting multiple national and international seminars and speaking engagements. In 1999, he was called to serve as a chaplain and religion/leadership teacher at Blue Mountain Academy (BMA) in Pennsylvania. During his time at BMA, Ferguson taught junior and senior religion/leadership courses and mentored student leaders as the head Student Association sponsor. Ferguson says, “Our students were known for being persistent, proactive and involved in whatever was happening.”
In 2005, during his time at BMA, Ferguson felt called to co-found TrueWind, a leadership development organization created to inspire, equip and launch young leaders for God’s kingdom. It was his previous leadership experience and success with TrueWind that made him an ideal candidate to head up the University’s undergraduate leadership development program.
"Dave Ferguson comes with a rich experience in leadership training. He is a strongly self-motivated individual who in the three or so weeks he has been on campus has initiated a meeting of the leadership council, established relationships and jumped right into improving the start to the program stimulated by Steve Yeagley last year," says Keith Mattingly, dean of the College of Arts & Sciences. "I am excited with the possibilities Dave brings to our campus in developing this undergraduate leadership program and look forward to seeing a difference in our students as a result of this important program."
Ferguson is a natural storyteller whose greatest loves include his family, and coaching and teaching the next generation of leaders. His unique perspective on Scripture unavoidably matches humor with creative depth. “Little makes me happier than the laughter of God’s people,” he says.
-Written by Keri Suarez, media relations, Office of Integrated Marketing & Communication