Board approves strategic plan

The Northwestern College Board of Trustees, gathered for their spring meeting on April 16 and 17, unanimously approved the institution’s new strategic plan.

“The strategic plan gives us a direction for the next five years or so, identifying key initiatives for moving Northwestern forward,” says President Greg Christy. “In the rapidly changing environment of higher education today, it’s more important than ever that institutions like ours are very intentional about our mission and the goals we hope to accomplish.”

The plan, under development over the past two years, involved contributions from all sectors of the campus community. Among its five strategic goals are resource investment in key academic programs; expanding the delivery of Northwestern’s distinctively Christian liberal arts education to include online programs; and embracing growth that results in an increasingly diverse population ethnically, geographically and socio-economically. The college’s previous strategic plan was approved in 2007.

The trustees also approved a Christian identity statement that recognizes three key complementary theological perspectives shaping Northwestern: Reformed commitment, evangelical engagement and ecumenical spirit. “Northwestern was founded by the Reformed Church in America, and our Reformed roots are deep and strong,” says Christy. “Being evangelical and ecumenical are important components of being Reformed, and this document tries to spell out what that means to potential students or employees who aren’t familiar with the Reformed tradition.” The full statement is online at

The board meeting also included a report on the new integrative general education program, which includes a first-year seminar and a senior-year seminar. The program also includes eight credits of classes that focus on the Christian story and tradition, with the remainder of the core curriculum comprised of courses that fall under learning themes such as belief and reason, cross-cultural engagement, historical perspectives, and self and society. The first-year experience will begin on a piloted basis this fall, and the college will begin phasing in other parts of the new program in the fall of 2013.

Trustees also engaged in conversations about the campus master plan that is currently under development, attended the groundbreaking ceremony for the new $14 million learning commons, and heard from members of the NAIA Div. II national championship women’s basketball team.

The board recognized the service of five retiring members: Doug Boone of Sioux Center, Iowa, who served eight years; Dr. Nick deVries of Orange City, Iowa, who served eight years; Arlan Draayer of Milford, Iowa, who served 24 years; Maggie Jackson of Warrensville Heights, Ohio, who served 16 years; and Drew Vogel of Orange City, who served 19 years.