Board meeting focuses on strategic plan

The Northwestern College spring Board of Trustees meeting, April 16–17, featured a focus on the strategic planning process that is currently under way.

At the committee level and during a plenary session, board members responded to the goals that have been identified by the Strategic Planning Steering Committee. Trustees expressed appreciation that the strategic plan fleshes out Northwestern’s newly developed “Vision for Learning,” a statement describing the college’s learning goals and objectives.

“There was strong affirmation by board members of both the strategic planning process and where we are with it,” says President Bruce Murphy.

The work of the strategic planning team will now be to incorporate feedback from the board, faculty and staff and to continue alignment of the proposal with Murphy’s report on “a new way to do college,” an initiative he focused on during a recent three-month sabbatical. His special assignment was to develop a structure and plans for a model of education that would integrate academic, personal and spiritual development more intentionally.

The strategic plan is scheduled to be presented to the board in October 2007 for approval, with implementation to begin in the 2008–09 school year.

Also at the meeting, trustees learned that nearly $9.3 million has been raised so far during the silent phase of Northwestern’s forthcoming comprehensive capital campaign. The campaign’s anchor is a new learning commons, which will include a library and archives, computing services center, writing center, classrooms, auditorium, prayer room and coffee shop. Other campaign components include the first phase of a renovation of the Rowenhorst Student Center and funds for academic innovation and student scholarships.

Drew Vogel, chairman of the board, reported on the progress of the Presidential Search Committee. “We are encouraged with the interest we’ve received in the position, and we’re pleased with the quality of candidates we’ve identified so far,” he says. Last October, President Murphy announced his intention to retire upon the successful completion of a search for his successor.

Murphy said one of the board meeting’s highlights was the Monday evening program in which four faculty spoke on such topics as why they enjoy teaching at Northwestern. Presenters included Dr. Keith Fynaardt, English; Jeff Taylor, theatre and speech; Dr. Wayne Westenberg, math education; and Dr. Mike Yoder, sociology/anthropology.