University of Spiritual Healing and Sufism
Strategic Plan: 2014-2019
Many of the people in this program are experiencing a boost The purpose of the University of Spiritual Healing and Sufism is to spread Allah’s healing light of peace, love, mercy, justice and freedom in the world through the illuminated teachings of Islam and all the prophets.
1) GUIDANCE. We turn to Allah with every decision.
2) ACCEPTANCE. We are open to all faiths and accept all people without judgment or compulsion, knowing that the Unity of all people is the truth of Allah’s creation.
3) POLITENESS. We are in the adab, hold each other in the love and are committed to respectful honesty in all communications.
4) HUMILITY. We are reliant on Allah and continually open to learning and understanding.
5) INTEGRITY. We are consistent in our beliefs and teachings and accountable in our actions.
WHO WE ARE
- We are spiritual seekers on the Sufi path of islam (surrender), iman (faith), ihsan (excellence), and itqan (certainty).
- We strive to carry the light of the illuminated Islam of the Prophet Muhammad, pbuh, the Islam of love, mercy, gentleness and kindness, the Islam founded on the message of unity, in the stream of all the prophets.
- We teach healing in the way of the prophets, which is embedded in illuminated Islam. This unique way of healing through God’s love and light unfolds towards unity.
- We stand in love, mercy, kindness and freedom for all people.
- We stand in the belief that there is no compulsion in religion, and those students who choose to em-brace Islam do so through their own love and attraction to it.
- We welcome all people without making any separation between them. We carry a message of love that does not discriminate between one human being and another.
STRATEGIC INITIATIVES 2014 – 2019
1. One Hand, One Heart
The USHS works in cooperation with all of the Shadhiliyya communities and organizations to build a mutually supportive national tariqa that brings our message to the world. The University works in partnership with all of the communities and members of the tariqa, and moves from the deep light of love and wisdom in all our relationships. It is our vision that the beloveds in the Shadhiliyya tariqa hold the successful development of the University in their hearts and see the University as one of our tariqa’s beautiful gifts to the wider world.
a. Cultivate and nurture mutually healthy relationships with Beloveds in the tariqa.
b. Establish clear, consistent timely and regular communication within the entire community.
c. Develop and implement outreach programs that take the teachings and healing to all hearts in need.
d. Develop a USHS Alumni Association with appropriate mission, vision, activities, structure.
2. Allah’s University
We are an internationally recognized university that creates spiritual professional paths for beloveds wanting to spread the Sufi message of unity, the way of all the prophets and messengers, through their work in the world. We serve Allah and His creation with integrity, politeness, sincerity and excellence. This recognition comes as Allah dispenses his blessings of light, healing and knowledge to our students and they in turn carry this light out into the wider world in service.
a. Develop and deepen an excellent curriculum for a working Sufi University, based upon Sidi’s published teachings and his goals for Sufism in America.
b. Recruit, develop and support a highly qualified faculty, staff and board to fulfill our vision/mission.
c. Define the USHS structure, including undergraduate and graduate spiritual degree-granting departments, as well as post-graduate institutes that provide spiritual certificates and degrees.”
d. Define, develop plans, and timetable for implementation of the new and expanded facilities needed to deliver the university programs.
e. Continue progress toward becoming a full-time university teaching traditional disciplines in light of our Sufi spiritual and healing foundation.
f. Commit to gaining approval/ accreditation, develop a timetable and plan for achieving that goal, and define and develop the resources (infrastructure and curriculum) to commit to the process during this planning cycle.
3. Financial Stability
We maintain and grow a stable financial base for the university. Our intention is to be financially stable in a way that reflects the beauty and strength of Allah’s prosperity. We work to gather resources to share with others so they may learn to walk in the way of Allah. Our giving is unconditional and joyful – a passionate expression of love from the deep heart. On the inside we are ascetic, simple servants. On the outside we give love, peace and healing.
a. Develop a cost estimate that elucidates fixed and variable costs associated with running the USHS.
b. Develop a tuition and enrollment target that will lead to sustainability.
c. Develop and implement a recruitment plan to reach specific enrollment targets.
d. Develop a scholarship target that will make the tuition/enrollment plan realizable for students.
e. Create an effective development effort to sustain scholarship funding, operations funding and capital development for USHS.
f. Create ongoing system to monitor above targets semi-annually.
g. Cultivate, trust and accept Allah’s generous provision and guidance for the University. The University maintains an ongoing commitment to healing and releasing internal fear or restriction resulting from following any influence other than Allah.
h. Develop guidelines regarding legal and ethical issues surrounding conflicts of interest.
4. Enriching Organizational Culture
We create a culture of organizational excellence that enriches and nourishes faculty, teaching advisors, staff, and board. We aspire to work from Allah and by Allah – seeking His guidance at every step as we drink from the Ocean of the Love. We are grateful for Allah’s gifts and for the opportunity to serve Allah and His creation. We wish for our brothers and sisters what we wish for ourselves.
a. Promote health, well-being and work/life balance for all faculty, staff and board members.
b. Establish USHS planning and process improvements program based on periodic evaluation & feedback provided by USHS students, faculty, staff and board.
c. Create an environment that fosters diversity among faculty, staff, students and the board.
d. Establish operational standards that support the creativity, service and freedom of faculty while maintaining appropriate ethical standards regarding USHS’s non-profit university status.
Implementation Specifics by Committee
Community Relations and Enrollment Committee
The Community Relations and Enrollment Committee is a compassionate bridge between be-loveds, Sufi communities and the University to listen and respond to beloveds’ needs, suggest ways for the University to support their walking and to encourage and support anyone to par-ticipate in University offerings and attend the university.
Foster community among beloveds individually and in community.
Outreach to all those who might benefit from University offerings and attending the University.
Create open-hearted communication with Sufi communities.
We envision the communities of the Shahiliyyah tariqa as spiritual centers that sup-port and encourage their constituents to participate in the offerings of the University.
Strategy: Communication (S.I.#1b)
1) Communications to communities and beloveds
- Utilize print and/or online resources possibly including a centralized location for community info and events; programs and content; faculty profiles.
- ‘Ask the President’ call-in once or twice a year.
- Chat groups.
- Forums: sharing our lives with family pictures, etc.
- More use of videos.
2) Survey to various communities to collect info about needs, strengths and challenges. Possibilities include:
- Survey community leaders.
- Building blocks: what is our foundation?
- Regional community building.
- National community building.
- Networking and building bridges between communities.
- Where are we building a strong foundation of love, peace, compassion, connection and joy?
- How do we apply positive aspects of workable community building models to other areas and communities within our country?
- Can we improve upon our current model? How is it stronger or weaker than in previous years?
3) National Leadership Meetings
- Don’t limit participation to rank.
- Meet once or twice a year.
- Strengthen existing meetings and increase participation.
Strategy: Outreach (S.I.#1c)
1) Outreach to Beloved communities
- Meetings with Sidi monthly. Possibly 10 min Sidi videos sent out every month via Skype or YouTube to Beloveds.
- Rejuvenate community dhikrs generating a spirit of enthusiasm, joy, and passion.
- Support Sufi workshops, how to increase participation?
- Brainstorm ideas to increase engagement in Sufi studies and teachings.
- Consider creative ideas for connection such as unique topics on teleconferences and asking communities ‘how can we help you?’ (tie into survey).
- Hold prayers to open the list using the Qualities.
2) Outreach to non-Sufis
- Reach out those who don’t know what we offer.
- Use advertising.
- Reach out to special populations such as cancer patients.
- Utilize Meet-up groups and networking groups.
Strategy: Enrollment (S.I.#3c)
1) Consider holding introductory programs at locations in population centers.
2) Consider how we are building the community of love and unity within our existing structure currently.
- What is our appeal and how do we market and outreach that appeal?
- How can we enhance the appeal of our spiritual group?
- Are there any areas that hold us back from a broader outreach?
- Can we enhance those areas?
3) Consider holding leadership training and coaching with successful community leaders.
4) Consider holding more frequent workshops.
5) Consider having a USHS table at all local workshops.
Financial Oversight Committee
2014-15 year budget was presented to the Board at the July 2014 Board meeting.
Create an effective development effort to sustain scholarship funding, operations funding and capital development for USHS (S.I.#3e)
The Development Committee is developing systems and infrastructure to support ongoing development efforts including:
- Timely and accurate reports of donor activity.
- Establishing a template for an annual campaign.
- Establishing systems for large donor regular solicitation and communication.
- Establishing other efforts throughout the year to generate revenue and donations.
- Enhanced donation page on the USHS website.
- Enhance ongoing communication with SSC and Farm of Peace to be aware of other tariqa fundraising efforts.
Continue progress toward becoming a full-time university teaching traditional disciplines in light of our Sufi spiritual and healing foundation. (S.I.#2e)
The Accreditation Committee considered this to follow from the work undertaken by the USHS admin (see above 2a), and to be premature at this time.
Commit to gaining approval/ accreditation, develop a timetable and plan for achieving that goal, and define and develop the resources (infrastructure and curriculum) to commit to the process during this planning cycle. (S.I.#2f)
In fall 2012, Sidi conveyed the importance of USHS being accredited so that students can obtain federally guaranteed loans to cover their tuition. For this goal to become a reality we will:
(1) Obtain approval by BPPE, to replace our current “exempt” status, by 2016:
(1) BPPE approval:
The committee has carefully reviewed the materials that must be submitted for BPPE approval. For purposes of seeking BPPE approval, the committee supports the USHS admin and USHS leadership in considering the masters degrees to be the purpose of the school, and the focus for approval.
Materials to be submitted for the 5 years prior to submission over the areas of: (a) financial resources and business history; (b) applications, admissions, attendance, graduation rates, and post-graduation employment and use of degrees, and the relevant records; (c) curriculum; (d) student information; and (e) facilities.
(a) Financial resources and business history: The USHS is not currently in debt, and has a solid financial record over the period to be documented. Materials provided annually by the FOC to the BOD will be sufficient basic documentation.
(b) Admissions, attendance, graduation rates, and post-graduation employment: Current documentation is complete on applications, admissions, and attendance, and with the awareness of the importance of these records over 5 years, they can easily be made available. Documentation of graduation has been more problematic; that will be addressed in the coming 18 months in preparation for application. Post-graduation employment is not at this time documented. The Directors of the 3 masters programs have volunteered to interview the necessary graduates to date, collecting individual information. A standard follow-up data collection form will be developed based on these interviews, and annual updates will be sought from graduates.
(c) Curriculum: Salima and Nura have developed consistent curriculum organization and documentation so that this component will be straightforward.
(d) Student-related materials: With Ruha’s help, all of the materials for students (e.g. student handbooks, course handouts, etc.) were developed with the BPPE approval process in mind. The faculty will continue to use these templates, and this component should also be straightforward.
(e) Facilities: This is an area being actively explored. Facilities requirements include:
(f) documentation of rental or other agreements when the facilities are not owned by the applicant organization: these seem to be in order; (ii) library facilities: this is a category that has not been addressed in the past by USHS, and is included in future tasks. (iii) dormitories and other facilities such as kitchens: The materials covering submission of application for BPPE approval include many details on facilities that refer to other state of California regulations and codes; which will be addressed in collaboration with the Facilities Committee; evaluation of all facilities-related issues will occur in 2013-2014 with the Facilities Committee. Insha’allah any apparent barriers to approval in this category will be able to be addressed in the following 2 years.
(2) Identify an appropriate accrediting body that approves USHS for Title IV student loan guaranties, and obtain accreditation through that body by 2018:
We have identified two potential accrediting bodies that may provide this certification:
(a) Association of Pastoral Care Education: This body accredits PCE certificate programs, which include programs of chaplaincy and spiritual direction. We believe that all of our masters degrees would fall under this body. They are currently in the application process to Title IV approval; we will continue to monitor their progress. Their accreditation requirements can provide a conceptual template as we move forward, since this topical area is a good match for USHS.
(b) Accrediting Council For Independent Colleges And Schools (recognition includes distance education). This body has a broad enough mission and has accredited schools that are small and have some similarities to USHS. Religious schools are included. If APCE does not gain the appropriate status, we will proceed with ACICS.
5-year plan summary:
Year 01: Move toward BPPE approval.
Year 02: Prepare and submit application for BPPE approval by mid-2015.
Year 03: Respond to any BPPE weaknesses to assure approval by mid-2016; identify accrediting body for Title IV and begin to plan application process.
Year 04: Prepare accreditation application.
Year 05: Submit accreditation application by mid-2018.
We anticipate that there may need to be facilities improvements in order to be eligible for BPPE approval and/or accreditation. The timetable above covers the non-facilities components of these applications, and may change as facilities issues are resolved.
To be developed.
Alumni Association Committee
The USHS alumni association is a vehicle to integrate alumni into the USHS community, to enrich their Sufi education, to advance their spiritual development, and to support them to extend the reach of the Sufi message and the mission of USHS throughout the world.
- Uphold vision/mission and values of USHS.
- Foster community among alumni.
- Support alumni to keep current with Sidi’s/USHS teachings.
- Help alumni to keep walking and developing spiritually.
- Give back to USHS with love, authenticity and generosity.
- Conduct outreach for USHS with courage and leadership by bringing the Sufi message (message of unity, peace, love, mercy, justice, freedom, message of all the prophets) out to the world.
To support our purpose we offer a variety of projects, services and events in addition to masters degree program and TIP.
Strategies: Short and long term (S.I.#1d)
• Help alum stay connected with each other and integrated into USHS community thru dis-tance/online and on-site activities.
• Provide continuing education and support for their spiritual growth thru.
• Support alum in walking thru their life challenges.
• Support alumni to serve world as leaders thru.
• Invite alumni to contribute to curriculum/programs from their own life challenges and learning.
We have an active, vibrant alumni association that is internationally recognized through world service, and is an agent for extending the message worldwide and for bringing many students to USHS.
Common goal – creating gnostic lovers. Leading people to an oasis, the beauty of that oasis.
Bringing light to places of darkness
Changing darkness to light
Complete and at peace
Ocean of Love
Tranquility within chaos
Deep knowledge of hidden wisdom
Accessing the heart’s wisdom
Discovering the keys to success
Merging the personal will with the Divine Will
KNOWING HEALING LOVE PEACE LIGHT
USHS graduates gnostic lovers of God, whose hearts are an oasis of beauty – a source of tranquility and love, radiating healing to themselves and the world.
USHS teaches and exemplifies the beauty and truth of Islam, working to promote unity in the world.
USHS is year-round university, based on a course-credit model, with a mixture of on-site and on-line courses, which can deliver a Masters in Divinity in 2 years full-time, 4 years part-time. A life-long learning center.
USHS has a vibrant, busy campus with a student medical clinic attached. Multiple satellite campuses around the U.S. and internationally.
1. Deliver M.Div. as a 2 year full-time program, 4 years part-time.
2. Define major academic areas of focus.
3. Define and stream-line departmental structure to reflect academic curriculum.
4. Define appropriate mix of on-site and distance learning modules.
5. Move to credit-based modularized year-round curriculum.
6. Develop satellite campuses, nationally and internationally.
7. Define and stream-line administrative departments to best support strategic initiatives 1-6.
Curriculum and Departmental Structure:
Three departments, each with a Dean of department:
- Sufi mystical knowledge
- Prophetic Medicine