Close Menu

Goals

At the midpoint of Whitworth's 10-year vision and strategic plan, the university has made great strides in deepening its commitments to academic excellence and to the integration of Christian faith and learning, equipping graduates to respond to God's call on their lives with intellectual competence, moral courage and deep compassion. Following are select outcomes from the first five years of the Whitworth 2021 plan. To view the full plan, including goals, objectives and key performance indicators, please visit www.whitworth.edu/whitworth2021.

01
CHRISTIAN FAITH AND LEARNING

ADVANCE WHITWORTH'S DISTINCTIVE APPROACH TO INTEGRATING CHRISTIAN FAITH AND LEARNING

In 2014 the university expanded its capacity to serve as a valued resource for the church and society by establishing the Whitworth Office of Church Engagement and launching The Ekklesia Project, a comprehensive church-engagement initiative funded by a $1-million grant from the Lilly Endowment. In 2015 the OCE created the Ekklesia Fellowship Program, which has thus far placed 92 students as summer ministry fellows with domestic and international ministries (funded in part by a $400,000 grant from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust). The OCE also established the Academy of Christian Discipleship and the Preaching and Teaching the Bible Project (funded by a $153,000 grant from the PCUSA), and developed other outreach programs, including the inaugural on-campus Gospel Conference.

Students across campus are learning to incorporate their faith and calling as an integral part of their professional lives. Every academic department includes faith-learning integration in classes and assesses student-learning outcomes. For example, in the Global Strategic Management class, students examine competition in business from the perspectives of various faith traditions. In the class Becoming an Historian, students write a critical review of a book that investigates whether America was founded to be a Christian nation. And in Gender, Politics and Law, students explore how faith shapes our understanding of who God created us to be and how that influences public policy.

Faculty members with the Core/Worldview Studies Program are working to ensure that students form, develop and apply their own worldview convictions. To assess students' progress, the team leaders for Core 150, 250, 300 and 350 identified a writing assignment that demonstrates students' knowledge of their worldview. The leaders developed a common rubric so that all Core team members will score students' papers in a similar manner. Assessments of the students' papers show growth in their formation and understanding of their worldview; the as- sessments are also leading team members to find new ways to engage students even more effectively in this important area.

The Small-Group Ministry Program has become a bedrock for building community at Whitworth. Each year, groups of students (57 groups in 2015-16) meet regularly to share their lives and their faith, to pray together, and to grow in Christian discipleship. Each group determines its discussion topics, which have ranged from women in scripture and leaders in the Old Testament to cultural opportunities and challenges in ministry, and career vs. calling. Many groups also participate in service projects in Spokane and on campus. Whitworth's robust small- group program has grown in recent years, establishing groups for varsity athletes.

02
INTELLECTUAL VITALITY

STRENGTHEN INTELLECTUAL VITALITY ACROSS ALL CONTEXTS OF TEACHING AND LEARNING

Holmes Elementary School, in Spokane's West Central neighborhood, serves one of the highest percentages of low-achieving students in Spokane. And Whitworth, Gonzaga and Spokane Public Schools are using a Washington State Collaborative Schools for Innovation and Success grant to focus resources and research on advancing student learning at Holmes. Through its support of research-based instruction and a knowledgeable and skillful faculty, the grant team is dedicated to seeing Holmes flourish.

Whitworth now boasts seven endowed faculty positions. Beginning with only two such positions in 2011, the university has increased its number of endowed chairs and professorships by 350 percent in just five years.

The Whitworth School of Business is pursuing specialized accreditation through the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. The AACSB accepted Whitworth's application and has assigned a mentor to guide the WSB through the process, which can take as long as five to 10 years overall. Once the pieces are in place, the AACSB will conduct a final audit and review. AACSB accreditation, which represents high standards of achievement for business schools worldwide, will significantly raise the profile and reputation of the School of Business.

The George F. Whitworth Honors Program, launched in 2012, offers high-achieving students a cohort-class model, research with faculty, prestigious internships, and creative honors projects. Since 2012, three Whitworth seniors have received competitive U.S. State Department Critical Language Scholarships. This scholarship program seeks to expand the number of Americans studying and mastering critical foreign languages and building relationships with people of other countries. And two Whitworth students were selected as Fulbright Scholarship Program finalists for 2016-17. The university has a long-standing tradition of producing such finalists, with 33 students chosen since 2000. In recent years, Whitworth has twice been named a top producer of Fulbright finalists among master's-level universities nationwide.

The Bucs are tops in athletics and academics. Sporting GPAs of 3.5 and higher, 189 student-athletes from Whitworth's 20 men's and women's NCAA Division III varsity teams were named 2015- 2016 Northwest Conference scholar-athletes. Whitworth's total eclipsed the number of scholar-athletes at every competing school in the NWC.

In May 2016, Whitworth Athletics won its ninth consecutive McIlroy-Lewis Trophy as the best program in the Northwest Conference. Pirate teams collected 10 NWC team championships in 2015-16 — an all-time high for the university in one academic year.

03
GLOBAL CITIZENS

PREPARE WHITWORTH STUDENTS TO BE GLOBAL CITIZENS

Whitworth surpassed its goal of recruiting and retaining international students, according to Director of the International Student Center Sue Jackson. Whitworth currently enrolls 80 international students from 41 countries, exceeding the 2021 goal of 30 or more countries; the university expects to top the goal of 100 students by 2021.

One of the ways in which Whitworth prepares students for global citizenship is by offering more faculty-led off-campus study experiences. In the past five years, the number of faculty- led programs has increased from 16 to 23, thanks to faculty- training workshops provided by the Forum on Education Abroad, the international standards-development organization for the field of education.

In the past five years Whitworth has launched two new semester-abroad study programs: Whitworth in China and the Tanzania Study Program. These new international study opportunities for students put Whitworth well on its way toward meetings its goal of developing new semester-long programs in three or more international locations. And students have more options than ever to stretch and deepen their awareness and understanding of different cultures, religions, economic systems and worldviews.

Several times each semester, starting in 2015, the office of student diversity, equity & inclusion brings to campus guest speakers who provide multicultural and international perspectives on critical current and historical issues. The topics of Whitworth's History & Heritage Month Lectures have included how Asian Americans are positioned to be effective agents of racial reconciliation, the Christian Black theology of liberation, and the root causes of migration.

04
DIVERSE WORLD

DEMONSTRATE COURAGEOUS LEADERSHIP IN AN INCREASINGLY DIVERSE WORLD

Whitworth launched a diversity-action planning process in 2016 to determine how the university can more fully live out its commitments to diversity, equity and inclusion. The planning process addresses the university's strategic priorities in the areas of professional development and training for faculty and staff; recruiting and retaining students and employees from underrepresented racial/ethnic populations; and advancing student-learning outcomes in intercultural competency. The plan is slated to be implemented campus-wide in fall 2018.

Whitworth created the office of student diversity, equity & inclusion in 2015 and hired administrators to fill two new positions: assistant dean and director of student diversity, equity & inclusion.

In 2012 Whitworth established the Institutional Diversity Committee, which advises the University Council on all matters related to diversity, equity, inclusion and intercultural relations. The IDC comprises a representative body of faculty, staff and students that complements and supports strategic diversity initiatives throughout the campus community.

The Inclusive University Classroom lecture series, begun in 2012, brings experts from across the country to campus to share strategies for creating a more inclusive educational environment. In addition to presenting public lectures, the speakers often lead workshops with students, training for staff, and symposia with faculty.

Enrollment of full-time traditional undergraduate students from underrepresented domestic racial and ethnic populations has far exceeded the strategic plan's goal of 462 students: the total stands at 537 in 2016, up from 507 the previous year; 23.6 percent of Whitworth's current domestic undergraduate students come from a diverse ethnic or racial background.

05
LIBERAL ARTS EDUCATION

ELEVATE A LIBERAL ARTS EDUCATION AS ESSENTIAL AND RELEVANT TO ALL MAJORS AND CAREERS

In 2012 the College of Arts & Sciences was created and received much-needed support. Noelle Wiersma, '90, was hired as dean in May 2012, and John Pell was hired as associate dean in July 2015.

Whitworth students have twice won statewide monetary prizes for essays on the value of a liberal arts education and presented these essays to the Washington State Legislature, thanks to the efforts of Dean of Arts & Sciences Noelle Wiersma, '91, who is a founding member and an advisory committee member with the Washington Consortium of the Liberal Arts. In addition, the Amy M. Ryan Endowed Professorship in the Liberal Arts was established, and the athletic training program earned re-accreditation and will transition to a graduate-level program in 2018-19. Approval was also given for the 3+3 Law & Justice Program with Gonzaga University.

Internship, practicum and research-project opportunities have been expanded for students. Summer student-faculty research grants, student participation in STEM research, support of two arts and sciences-designated younger scholars, and internship opportunities with Rock & Sling journal, professions in English, and the Smithsonian are among these programs.

Whitworth couldn't succeed without donors who value liberal arts education. Philanthropists Dana and David Dornsife gave $1.5 million in support of Whitworth's Dornsife Center for Community Engagement.

The Hugh W. Johnston Interdisciplinary Research Endowment ($500,000) was established in 2015 for faculty-student collaborative research across fields of study. Whitworth also received an honors endowment for interdisciplinary teaching focused on academic excellence and 21st-century pedagogies. Inaugural courses included Whitworth TED, How to Make Darn Near Anything (which paired computer science students with other majors in project-based learning), Encountering the Covenantal God (theology), and the team-taught (S)heroes and Legends (communication studies and English/women's & gender studies).

A comprehensive survey of College of Arts & Sciences departmental requirements was completed for future job-search strategies and to gather portfolio and work-sample materials from faculty.

The Core Connections Program was established to familiarize Whitworth faculty hired within the last five years with the Core Worldview Studies Program and to provide possibilities for revision. Faculty receive a stipend to attend lectures and discussion groups for one of the Core courses (150, 250, 300, 350). At the end of the semester, faculty submitted a paper reflecting on possible connections between their academic disciplines and their theological background with the Core curriculum. They also met with the Core team leader and Dean Noelle Weirsma to provide insights and ideas.

06
GRADUATE AND CONTINUING STUDIES

ENHANCE WHITWORTH'S STRENGTHS IN GRADUATE AND CONTINUING STUDIES

Whitworth is carrying out its vision for 21st-century teaching by offering online classes. The university completed a task- force report on mobile, online and distance learning that resulted in more than 30 faculty members participating in a course on designing and implementing online and hybrid classes (in part online and in part in the classroom). These faculty now offer innovative classes through the School of Continuing Studies and School of Education graduate programs that reach underserved students in the region; several online summer courses are also available for undergraduate students. Over the next five years Whitworth will offer an increasing number of online and hybrid courses as demand continues to grow.

Since athletic trainers will soon be required to hold master's degrees in order to be certified, Whitworth's new Bachelor's + Master's Athletic Training Program enables students to save time and money while they complete the curriculum for both degrees in an intensive, accelerated format. Students can complete the requirements for a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in five years.

07
INVEST IN EMPLOYEES

INVEST IN WHITWORTH'S EMPLOYEES AND SUPPORT A CULTURE OF CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT

Whitworth's staff performance-management process has been revamped over the past two years. Human resource services is finishing a roll-out of an electronic process that makes the process more accessible for supervisors and employees alike, and that will capture trends more than achievements across campus. Under the new system, more than 85 percent of employees received a timely performance review.

A system for monitoring turnover of regular faculty and staff is beginning to help evaluate trends for how to best retain employees, including those from underrepresented populations. Turnover rates are quite low, but this process has tremendous capacity for evaluating and identifying opportunities.

Whitworth has participated in the Best Christian Workplaces survey twice in the past five years and has done well in numerous areas. Based on survey results, faculty and staff identify a high level of trust in leadership and share a consensus that Whitworth continues to recruit and retain highly qualified employees.

All faculty and staff salaries have met or exceeded targeted benchmarks over the past five years, due to across-the-board salary increases, as well as to targeted responses to market forces for some harder-to-fill positions.

08
DILIGENT STEWARDSHIP

EXERCISE DILIGENT STEWARDSHIP IN GROWING WHITWORTH'S FINANCIAL AND CAPITAL RESOURCES

The university's "Worth It!" giving day in 2015 yielded 1,127 total gifts. First-time donors totaled 139 people (including 38 students), and Whitworthians' generosity earned a $25,000 challenge gift.

Whitworth continues to add facilities and to augment and improve existing structures. Prominent projects since implementation of the strategic plan include Cowles Music Center, the dining hall, the university recreation center, Robinson Science Hall and Merkel Field.

Whitworth celebrated its 125th anniversary and launched the $100 million Campaign for Whitworth.

Whitworth's Alumni Discovery Project is an innovative initiative carried out by the office of alumni relations. In hour-long, face-to-face interviews conducted by student ambassadors, Whitworth alums talk about their life experiences before, during and after their days on campus. In four years of interviews, ambassadors have heard the stories of almost 1,500 alumni. This information will be used to reflect on the university's past, to inform current practices, and to aid in planning for the future.