Our Strategy

Our Strategy

Howard Payne University understands the value of the student experience and its role in helping students to grow academically, professionally, and spiritually. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, it is necessary that the University balances the need to provide the transformational student experience for which students desire with the necessary prioritization of the health and safety of the HPU Family. However, it is clear that this transformational student experience which HPU students desire cannot be enjoyed by students or provided by University personnel without a healthy campus community. Therefore, in an effort to provide a student experience in fall 2020 that achieves the goals of holistic student growth (academic, professional, and spiritual), the University must develop and implement additional policies, procedures, and protocols in an attempt to protect the health and safety of the HPU Family and prevent or mitigate the spread of COVID-19 amongst the Howard Payne University campus community.

Three purposes for the guidelines

  1. To provide the HPU Family with important information related to COVID-19, including at-risk groups, signs and symptoms, preventative measures, and best practices if one is exposed to or contracts the virus;
  2. To alert the HPU Family to new policies that will be implemented beginning August 3, 2020, in order to protect the health and safety of the campus community; and,
  3. To inform the HPU Family of new procedures and protocols that have been implemented in order to provide safe and healthy learning, working, and residential environment for all members of the HPU campus community.

These policies, procedures, and protocols have been developed through thorough review of best practices and available guidance from public health experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Texas Department of State Health Services, and the Brownwood-Brown County Health Department, from information provided by our local healthcare leaders at Brownwood Regional Medical Center, and from the expertise of leaders in the fields of higher education, healthcare, virology, and epidemiology. Each policy, procedure, and protocol was designed with the primary intent of protecting the health and safety of the members of our HPU Family and the secondary intent of allowing the University to maintain ordinary operations and offer a transformational experience to the student body.

Ethical responsibilities as Christ followers

Additionally, as a Christian university, these policies, procedures, and protocols were built upon a foundation of seven Biblical truths related to our ethical responsibilities as Christ followers and how we are called to engage with culture and lead in our communities:
  1. Each man, woman, and child is created in the image of God (Imago Dei), and therefore every human life is inherently sacred
    • Genesis 1:26-27; Genesis 5:1-2; Genesis 9:6
  2. Every human life is inherently sacred, regardless of age, gender, racial or ethnic background, physical ability, mental ability, life expectancy, quality of life, socioeconomic status, country of citizenship or origin, or any other quality
    • Psalm 139:13-16; Isaiah 44:24; Jeremiah 1:5; Ephesians 2:10; Galatians 1:5
  3. Christians have a Biblical mandate to protect, advocate for, and support the vulnerable, the oppressed, the disadvantaged, and the disenfranchised
    • Exodus 22:22; Deuteronomy 15:11; Psalm 72:4; Psalm 82:3-4; Proverbs 14:31; Jeremiah 22:3; Micah 6:8; Zechariah 7:10; James 1:27; James 2:2-6; 1 John 3:17-18
  4. Christians are called to sacrifice their personal interests, wants, desires, and comforts and put the needs of others before their own, in order to follow God’s commands
    • Mark 10:45; Romans 12:10; Romans 15:1; 1 Corinthians 10:24; Philippians 2:3-4
  5. Christians are called to be wise and to make prudent decisions
    • Proverbs 3:13; Proverbs 8:12; Proverbs 14:8; Proverbs 14:15-16; Proverbs 19:20; Proverbs 22:3; Ecclesiastes 7:12; Hosea 4:6; Matthew 7:24; Ephesians 5:15; 1 Thessalonians 5:21
  6. Christians are called to represent Christ in their civic engagement and promote the welfare of their communities
    • Ezra 6:10; Jeremiah 29:7; Daniel 4:27; Romans 13:1; Romans 13:5; Romans 15:5; 1 Timothy 2:1-2; Titus 3:1; 1 Peter 2:12-17; 1 Peter 4:10; 1 Peter 5:2
  7. Christians are called to exemplify Christ in all they do and in every aspect of their lives
    • 2 Corinthians 5:20; Ephesians 2:10; Ephesians 4:1-3; Ephesians 5:1; Colossians 3:23; 1 Peter 2:9

The University believes that through the combination of a well-informed campus community, a Biblical understanding of Christians’ ethical responsibilities, new health and safety procedures and protocols, and a strict adherence to the University’s newly implemented policies, HPU will have the ability to provide an unmatched student experience while at the same time prioritizing the protection of the health and safety of the HPU Family.

The University will continue to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic crisis and adapt the policies, procedures, and protocols included in this document in order to ensure that the University continues to provide a safe and healthy learning, working, and residential environment. It is crucial that each member of the HPU Family understand their individual role in helping to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on the HPU campus. Howard Payne University is appreciative of each member of the HPU Family’s adherence with these new policies, procedures, and protocols and looks forward to all that the Lord has planned for this upcoming semester.

Creating a Culture of Open Communication

The University’s moniker for its faculty, staff, and students – the HPU Family – is more than just an encouraging tagline or a trivial term of endearment. At Howard Payne, we truly believe that we are a family, and the leaders of families are called to protect and care for the other members of the family, creating a culture of safety where members feel that they have the ability to express their concerns, apprehensions, or considerations related to the environment in which they serve.

In the midst of these unprecedented circumstances, it is especially important that members of the HPU Family feel safe in the workplace. While there are myriad opinions related to the United States’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, and while, in all circumstances, members of the HPU Family are encouraged to form opinions on current events through prayer and discernment, it is not the responsibility of supervisors or coworkers to convince their direct reports or colleagues of the veracity of their own personal opinion or the fallaciousness of an opposing opinion.

Supervisors and coworkers should promote a culture of safety, where direct reports and colleagues feel comfortable expressing a diversity of opinions in order to allow for others to see issues from a different perspective and to minimize the potential of groupthink and its negative consequences.