“At Redeemer, I was able to experience the world of science through the lens of a Christian worldview and to appreciate the innate details of God’s creation. More than that, through my classes I was given the opportunity to apply my passion for optometry and prepare me for graduate studies.”
Emily Kendall ‘14
Graduate student at the Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University
What is a mission?
Why does it matter, especially for a university? Isn’t its purpose just to provide an education and provide a place for research?
Redeemer’s mission is to deliver university-level learning that helps students understand the world in the light of God’s Word and His redemptive claims on every part of life so that they are prepared to use their gifts in the callings God has for them. This is the core objective at the heart of why Redeemer does what it does.
But the landscape in which Redeemer operates is dynamic—the world of higher education, the expectations of students and the communities in which students and faculty are called to serve have all changed dramatically this past decade. “As a relatively small university, we need to and can be, responsive to our environment,” notes Redeemer President, Dr. Hubert Krygsman. “We need to adapt—without changing the heart of who we are—to the needs and interests of students who are seeking a holistic, transformative Christian university education that equips them to serve at the front lines of today’s culture.”
In response to this ever-changing landscape — and to continue to meet the needs of students, faculty, the workplace, schools and families — Redeemer has developed a new strategic plan—Redeemer 2020—to guide the University through the next 5 years.
At the heart of Redeemer 2020 is a commitment to the goals and principles upon which Redeemer was founded. “What we are doing with Redeemer 2020 is looking anew at how we can best work out the mission and vision of Redeemer in a new context,” says President Hubert Krygsman. “Much has changed since we opened our doors to 97 students in 1982; through this planning process, we carefully re-examined all aspects of the university so that Redeemer can still honour its calling — to serve its students, support community and society.”
Redeemer 2020 will enhance Redeemer across three broad, interconnected areas:
- Student Experience – Continuing to define, in this new environment, the best way to equip students for lives of leadership and service under the Lordship of Christ.
- Strategic Connections – Determining how Redeemer can best serve and partner with others, in ministry and from across society, to further God’s Kingdom along the front lines of our culture.
- Stewardship of Resources – Ensuring that Redeemer continues to wisely utilize the resources provided by supporters, faculty, staff and students.
As the plan is implemented over the next five years, Redeemer will launch a series of initiatives to help translate its mission to this new current context. Specifically, it will:
Re-Invigorate Redeemer’s Academic Program by:
- In September 2016, Redeemer will introduce a renewed Core Curriculum. This comprehensive initiative will foster in students a desire to learn from a Christian perspective across all disciplines, and help them discover their passion and find their callings. The new core will include a series of interdisciplinary courses designed to prepare students for the realities and challenges of living and serving in a digitally connected world. The new core, consisting of ten courses that all build on each other, was developed after nearly two years of research and planning.
- New programs will be added that further engage students at the crossroads of today’s culture.
- The new Media and Communications Studies program, launched in September 2015, equips students to interpret, assess and engage in culture-making through the interconnected world of digital media.
- Planning is also underway for revitalizing Redeemer’s existing Ministry program. Updates to the program will ensure that our graduates continue to be prepared to meet the needs of the various church ministries and para-church ministries that bring hope and light to our churches and our communities.
- This Fall, the new Centre for Experiential Learning and Career Development opened. The Centre’s mandate is to expand experiential and service-learning opportunities through internships and co-op work terms. The Centre also assists students as they explore career and/or graduate school options and possibilities. In short, it helps students seek to define their callings.
- The Centre for Christian Scholarship was established to emphasize the relevance and role of our Reformed Christian vision for the issues of our day. Read more about the Centre and its work [link].
Enhance Redeemer’s visibility and profile by:
Earlier this year, Redeemer restructured several areas of responsibility. Through a more dedicated approach to marketing and enrolment, Redeemer is becoming more proactive, strategic and intentional in its recruitment, financial aid and retention activities.
Redeemer is enhancing its in-house expertise in branding, marketing and communications. This includes increasingly utilizing digital platforms to tell Redeemer’s story.
A designed and updated website was launched on September 1. The new redeemer.ca features increased functionality, greater integration with social media and more robust navigation.
A greater focus on strategic partnerships with churches, schools and other organizations, which share and support Redeemer’s mission. These institutions will see benefits of supporting Redeemer as the University prepares graduates that are equipped to support them. By working together, these institutions further advance the Lordship of Christ and the Kingdom of God.
Improve Redeemer’s infrastructure by:
Redeemer’s information technology systems have been dramatically updated. This project – known as Telling Our Story – provides a better experience for students and others who interact with Redeemer, with and through technology. The most visible component is a new website, but it also includes:
- Dash, a new portal or intranet to serve faculty, staff, and students
- Informer, a new administrative data storage and reporting service for staff
- A new Library Information System that provides students, faculty and other borrowers better access to print and digital resources
- A new Financial Aid application that gives current and prospective students a single place to access and apply for their scholarships and bursaries.
These upgrades also allow students to use the gifts of technology to better interact with and serve society and its increasingly complex structures and relationships.
Plans are being developed to update labs, offices and student spaces. These will better serve faculty and students and prepare the campus for subsequent development projects.
Steward Redeemer’s resources by:
The University’s long-term debt is being reduced. Paying down this debt, all of which is held by Redeemer’s supporters, frees resources to fund other ongoing program and facility needs, as well as financial aid. With the generous help of supporters, we have already been able to reduce Redeemer’s debt by more than $2 million this year.
The Redeemer 2020 strategic plan seeks to revitalize Redeemer’s mission so that it can continue to train students and develop graduates who will impact society for Christ and his Kingdom. “God has blessed Redeemer in amazing ways for its first 33 years, and we believe Redeemer has been uniquely positioned to provide urgently needed Christian post-secondary education for today’s youth,” notes Krygsman. “Relying on God and all those who share Redeemer’s mission, we look forward to continuing to prepare the next generation of students for lives of discipleship, leadership and service and today’s and tomorrow’s world.”
The experience of Emily Kendall, quoted at the beginning of this article, demonstrates the vital role of Redeemer’s mission today. Emily is in the optometry program at Salus University in Pennsylvania. As a biology major who earned her B.Sc. in the context of Redeemer’s liberal arts and sciences core program, not only was she well prepared for graduate studies, she came to understand the deeper purpose of her education, one that is reflected by Redeemer’s mission. She recognized that while science is certainly the study of cells, formulas, wavelengths and algorithms, it is also a way to see, explore and impact a world she proclaims as God’s own.
Our creation is full of wonder and beauty, but which we only “see…imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror.” The teaching, research and learning that takes place at Redeemer helps students see those reflections more clearly, especially when the ripples caused by our dynamic, rapidly changing world further dim our vision. Through that study, they become equipped for lives of leadership and service under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.