Planning Progress

President Greg ChristyAs I reflect on this past academic year, the word that most defined 2011–12 at Northwestern was planning. Last August we began by engaging our faculty and staff in a strategic planning process that continued throughout the year. Students, alumni, parents and community members were also involved, and their feedback helped shape the plan. In April, our Board of Trustees adopted a new strategic plan that will guide Northwestern for the next five years. 

Why make plans? Why involve so many people? In Proverbs 15:22, Scripture teaches, “Without counsel, plans go awry, but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.” Small private colleges like ours are facing huge external pressures—concerns about the costs of higher education, advances in technology, the uncertain economy, and distance education, to name a few.

In response to this rapidly changing environment, not only have we developed a new strategic plan, but we’ve been working on other significant plans as well. Our faculty have been planning changes to our academic program and recently approved a new Integrative General Education curriculum that will be piloted during 2012–13 and fully implemented by the following year. At the heart of this new curriculum is a first-year seminar for new students and a senior seminar on vocation and social responsibility for graduating seniors. 

Last summer we hired a director of online learning to help expand our online course offerings, and this summer more than 160 students—most of them our own—are taking classes online. Now we are exploring online programs—majors, endorsements and certificates—to deliver a distinctive digital education that integrates faith and learning for students who could not otherwise experience Northwestern College. 

In January we also began updating our campus master facility plan now that the learning commons—a grand addition to central campus—is imminent. We have been blessed with beautiful facilities and an immaculately landscaped campus, and we intend to build on these strengths as we move into the future.

We are not just planning for the sake of planning. We are making plans to further the mission of Northwestern College as one of the best Christian academic communities in America. Together we have made these plans, and together we will trust God to lead us in the days ahead—just as he has for the past 130 years.

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