A bold and visionary strategic plan
In the Winter 2012 issue of our newsletter, The Regent World, President Rod Wilson shared a bold, innovative, and visionary blueprint for the College’s next five years. This is an updated version of that article.
Some strategic plans are humanly constructed and are based solely on observable activities and outcomes. Others, within the paradigm offered in James 4:13–17, reflect a faith commitment that all of it is based on God’s providential will and grace. Within the latter framework, my Cabinet colleagues (Patti Towler, VP External Relations; Kevin Unger, VP Finance & Administration; and Paul Williams, Academic Dean) and I, in tandem with the Board of Governors, have poured countless hours into a strategic plan that provides visionary leadership for the College in these challenging times.
It is no secret that our enrollment numbers are down, as they are in theological schools across North America. Since 2003 our full-time equivalent enrollment has decreased from 410 to 280, a dramatic drop that is part of a wider trend. While the reasons are numerous and complex, one thing is clear: the cost of a Regent education is hurting our enrollment. The combination of high tuition, rising costs of living in Vancouver, the strength of the Canadian dollar vis-à-vis the US currency, and volatile global markets that are affecting students’ savings have all led to a steady decline in the number of students enrolled in our graduate programs.
After carefully assessing the cost-benefit of a number of different strategic directions (including doing more with less, doing less with less, moving locations, and doing nothing), we have determined that the best way forward at this time is to continue offering world-class graduate theological education and to finance it appropriately. We believe that, more than ever, the world needs Christians who are capable of integrating, embodying, and proclaiming the gospel in all of life for the church, the academy, and society. In line with this belief, our strategic objectives are focused on five areas:
- Streamline our curriculum to deliver excellence in theological integration and formation for academically able Christians oriented toward service in the church, academy, or society;
- Improve our marketing and leverage our brand to clearly and unapologetically communicate who we are and what we offer to our target audience and to the wider public;
- Focus resources on recruitment to ensure that more potential students know about Regent and understand the significance of a Regent education;
- Recruit world-class faculty and senior staff to deliver the highest quality research and teaching, and to run an effective organization that leverages scholarship for the achievement of our global mission;
- Re-engineer our financial model to broaden and deepen income streams and provide a healthy, growing, and sustainable financial base.
A strategic plan requires strategic investment and over the next season of Regent’s life, we will be putting financial and human resources into recruitment, marketing, and development. We have also decided to reduce tuition by an average of 8.6% this year for credit courses, effective May 1, 2012. These carefully considered decisions will put us in a deficit position over this next phase but we believe the investments and sacrifices we are making today will put us on the road to a better future.
At the same time, the faculty, along with the Board of Governors and the Senate, have been reviewing our graduate program offerings and considering curriculum changes that will simplify our programs and make them more coherent. All the programs will also be brought closer in line with our core values of integration and formation. We are hoping to announce some of these changes in the not-too-distant future and we are confident that the changes will help us be more effective in the fulfillment of our mission.
Those of you who have a vested interest in this community of faith will know that it has had a remarkable impact throughout the world for over forty years. And so at this time, a time of carefully calculated decisions that are bathed in faith but still have risk, I would invite your support in a very special way. Your support may be expressed in faithful and fervent prayer; encouraging our students, staff, and faculty; commencing or increasing your philanthropic contribution; or linking potential students to this community. If all of you participated in two or three of those ways, we would not only be encouraged but be immeasurably helped in achieving our mission of “cultivating intelligent, vigorous, and joyful commitment to Jesus Christ, His church, and His world.”
About Regent College
Regent College is an evangelical, international graduate school of Christian studies based in Vancouver, and affiliated with the University of British Columbia, Canada’s third largest university. Regent College is a theological graduate school—a place of academic rigour, cultural engagement, and vibrant faith that transforms intellect, imagination, and character. Here, people from around the world are inspired and enriched with a deep and practical Christian faith extending into all spheres of life and enabling them to live more thoughtfully in varied vocations in the church and the world.