In early February, 2015, Redeemer University College launched Redeemer 2020, a new five-year strategic plan. This is a wide-ranging document, one that arose from a comprehensive review of Redeemer’s place in a rapidly-changing educational environment.
Redeemer has always offered students a transformative Christian university education, one that prepares them for lives of leadership and service. It has remained true to that mission for more than 30 years, and through many changes in the environment.
The last few years have seen some major shifts in the educational landscape:
- Students today are much more cost-conscious
- They are more inclined to choose programs they believe will assure them of jobs upon graduation
- The availability of online courses and degrees from community colleges also presents students with many more options for post-secondary training
- Some question the relevance of a traditional liberal arts and science program, like the one Redeemer offers.
Redeemer had been tracking these influences for some time. As enrollment began to weaken, the University became more intentional in its research into the causes of the decline. It surveyed students, both current and those who had left, and those applicants who chose to go elsewhere. Information was gathered about particular disciplines, the co-curricular activities and experiences that students were seeking and other aspects of Redeemer’s academic program.
At the same time, Redeemer was examining its operations and its long-term financial health. Although there is nothing imminent that could be seen as threatening, Redeemer recognized that it was time to address some issues related to its Information Technology infrastructure, marketing and enrollment management and its long-term debt.
After months of careful examination and consideration by faculty and staff from across the University, Redeemer presented its finding to the Board of Governors. The Board adopted this ambitious new strategic plan, called Redeemer 2020, in June, 2014. It provides Redeemer with a multi-faceted approach to address both the challenges and the opportunities of this new reality.
Some of those initiatives already underway, such as the appointment of Dr. David Zietsma as the Vice President of the new Marketing and Enrollment Division and the launch of the new Centre for Christian Scholarship. They are just the beginning of what will be many announcements over the next five years. Information on all the new initiatives will be posted on Redeemer’s website as they are announced.
The impact of change
Change is not always easy, especially for an institution that values its past and honours all those who have contributed to its development over time. The comprehensive review that led to this new Strategic Plan will see Redeemer make significant change, and not all of it will be painless. Some academic and administrative programs are being cut back, restructured or even eliminated, and that has resulted in some faculty and staff being released at the end of the current fiscal year. Redeemer asks that its extended community pray for those faculty and staff who are most directly affected.
But for Redeemer to remain committed to working out its founding mission, change is also inevitable. “As a relatively small university, we need to and can be, responsive to our environment,” notes Dr. 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.”
The University sees this as an opportunity to renew itself, strategically aligning its vision to respond to this new environment. “We remain strongly committed to providing Christ-centred university education and scholarship,” concludes President Krygsman. “In fact, the need for such education is as urgent as ever, and we look forward to working together to ensure our Christian academic community continues to thrive in service to God and His Kingdom!”