Learning for Life: On Campus and Online

President Greg Christy


Throughout Northwestern’s 132-year history, much of the teaching and learning has taken place on campus in traditional classrooms. This has served our students well—and continues to do so for those who can leave home for a time. Living and learning in community on campus will likely continue to be how the majority of students experience Northwestern, which is why we continue to invest wisely to make our facilities as inviting and functional as possible.

However, our mission of engaging students in courageous and faithful learning and living should not be limited to our physical campus. We live in a world that is desperate for Christian leaders and servants, and the education Northwestern offers is every bit as valuable for adults who want to enhance their ability to make a kingdom difference by completing their bachelor’s degree or earning a certificate, endorsement or—in the future—even a graduate degree.

As our culture changes and more educational opportunities become available online, we are adapting accordingly. This spring semester we had the highest number of online-only students to date, 64. We expect that number to double next year. For the third consecutive year, all our summer courses are being offered exclusively online, and one result is we have more students taking summer courses now than when they were offered only on campus.

Northwestern has done a marvelous job educating primarily 18- to 22-year-olds for generations. Now we are expanding our educational delivery methods to meet the demands of adult learners wherever they live and at whatever stage in life they find themselves (read about three of our online students on page 24).

Data indicates that in today’s information economy, graduates will likely have five to seven different careers in their lifetime. This suggests at least two things: First, a college education grounded in the liberal arts has never been more important because those foundational classes teach students how to think critically, write well, communicate effectively and work with others. These skills are transferable to any job, anytime, anywhere.

Second, as our graduates and other adults sense a calling to change careers, we’re eager to support them with online programs that are accessible, convenient and affordable. Maybe you’re a teacher in need of an education endorsement or a professional seeking a specialized credential. Perhaps you want to complete a bachelor’s degree or finally earn your master’s. Whatever your goal, we hope Northwestern will be your college of choice. Alumni and other adults can still count on our promise to deliver a distinctively Christian, academically rigorous education.

Regardless of whether students experience Northwestern on campus or online, we remain committed to providing high-quality academic programs that prepare graduates not only for the world of work but for a calling to further God’s kingdom through one’s vocation.

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