Whitworth 2021

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President's Message

Beck A. TaylorI'm excited to present to you Whitworth 2021: Courage at the Crossroads – a 10-year vision and strategic plan for the university. Since I arrived in the president's office in the summer of 2010, my positive impressions of Whitworth and my optimism for the university's future have only grown stronger. With a clear and broadly shared understanding of Whitworth's distinctive mission, we are in a position to cast a bold vision for equipping our next generation of students to honor God, follow Christ and serve humanity.

Fr. Theodore Hesburgh, Notre Dame University President Emeritus, described Christian higher education as a "lighthouse standing at the crossroads" – a gathering place to explore and discuss the world of ideas and also a source of light to illuminate the search for understanding and truth.

Whitworth summons its students to such a crossroads, where the fearless pursuit of truth intersects with a steadfast commitment to the integration of Christian faith and learning. When fundamentalism points to certainty based on unexamined assumptions, Whitworth invites tough questions and vigorous debate. When relativism dismisses the notion of moral absolutes, Whitworth stands assured of transcendent truth. It is in the creative tension at these intellectual and spiritual crossroads that students' minds and hearts are forged for great purpose.

The progress of the 21st-century has brought Whitworth to a crossroads in teaching and learning. As cutting-edge technology and pedagogical research emerge, we must draw on these advances to enrich our students' education and extend their learning beyond the traditional classroom. As the world becomes more interdependent, we must cultivate in our students intercultural competencies that will enable them to thrive in diverse environments. And as the world's problems grow more complex, our integrated liberal arts curriculum must equip students to connect ideas and apply learning across multiple disciplines so that they can be effective problem-solvers and change agents.

It is in the creative tension at these intellectual and spiritual crossroads that students' minds and hearts are forged for great purpose.

Sustaining Whitworth's relational, student-centered community, while expanding opportunities for experiential learning, intercultural engagement, and postgraduate preparation, brings the university to a new crossroads in its institutional trajectory. Whitworth's steady undergraduate enrollment growth over the past decade has helped enhance faculty, programs and facilities. There is now strong consensus that the university's mission will be best served by stabilizing undergraduate enrollment and investing in the depth and quality of students' learning experiences. This bold but necessary move calls on Whitworth's leadership to manage resources in new and innovative ways, and for alumni and friends to support the university at greater levels.

I am confident that the university can harness the significant achievements of the past to chart an exciting course for the future. Thousands of stakeholders reviewed and provided input to the Whitworth 2021 plan outlined on this website, and a clarity of purpose emerged that gives energy and focus to the work ahead. We must summon the courage to tackle the challenges and opportunities before us. Together, with God's help, we will!

Yours in service,

Beck A. Taylor Signature

Beck A. Taylor