Strategic Moves at Northwestern

President Greg ChristyWhat students are seeking from their college experience is constantly changing. In response to students’ needs (and wants), Northwestern’s campus will look quite different when the fall semester begins in August.

The DeWitt Learning Commons will be open, accessible from a grand north campus entrance. The learning commons will provide space, technology and other resources for collaborative learning that will help us build on our hallmarks of excellent, relational faculty and strong, relevant academic programs. We’re excited for our students to learn more and better through learning together. And we are grateful to our many alumni and friends whose gifts have fully funded this $14 million project.

Wellness is important to today’s students. To help them live healthy, balanced lives, we are significantly renovating our fitness center. This project is also being funded by some private gifts, as well as college resources.

Once Ramaker Library is vacated, we’ll begin renovating this solid building into a center for the offices of student development, spiritual formation, career development and multicultural affairs—as well as key academic programs like global education, general education and our honors program. The services of each of these departments enrich our students’ faith and learning, so we’re eager to house them together in a strategic campus location.

The goal of all these improvements is to continue to make the campus as beautiful and functional as possible, but we know physical changes are not enough. Our new integrated general education (IGE) will help us better meet the goals of our Vision for Learning ( A touchstone of the new IGE curriculum is a first-year seminar intended to help new students thrive in our Christian academic community.

The number of 18- to 22-year-olds seeking the intentional Christian academic community Northwestern is known for—at an institution of our size and setting—is declining. However, there is great growth in community college transfer students and adult learners. The reputation Northwestern enjoys for its high-quality academics, spiritual vibrancy and tight-knit community doesn’t just appeal to traditional-aged students. That’s why we’re making the Northwestern experience available to a broader scope of students through two new online programs (nursing and analytics) and exploring others, including graduate degrees. We believe our unique faith-and-learning mission will set us apart in the online learning market.

One of Northwestern’s most valuable qualities is our ability to change with the times while holding true to our founding values: academic excellence pursued within the context of Reformed and Christian principles. While the campus and methods of delivering the Northwestern experience will continue to adapt, we remain true to our mission of engaging students in courageous and faithful learning that empowers them to follow Christ and pursue God’s redeeming work in the world.

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