Gordon College logo

Initiative 1

Expand, develop and equip a world-class faculty to deliver an innovative liberal arts education.

IN FOCUS:
cash icon

$1.5M awarded to students in the Global Honors Scholars program

growth graph

17% graduate enrollment growth since 2015

lectern

10:1 student-to-faculty ratio

Industry headwinds and changing demographics led the College to conduct an extensive academic reorganization. These steps helped the College address market realities and better position itself to thrive and grow in a dynamic environment within higher education, but in the midst of restructuring, the College did not make progress on increasing faculty compensation. And while we have expanded the faculty in terms of different categories of academic instruction (ranging from Distinguished Professor to Teaching Professor), and we have drawn new expertise to the College through the creation of Gordon Global and the related expansion of educational offerings, the number of fulltime faculty has actually decreased over this period of time.  When we started the strategic plan, we expected it would grow because of anticipated undergraduate enrollment increases that never materialized, but even in that, we have seen how God has grown the expertise of our faculty in very helpful ways.  Moreover,  we have continued to make some strategic investments in academic equipment, but the College has not implemented a formal budget process to regularly upgrade academic equipment on a regular rotation. Noting these  caveats (which are not insignificant), every other goal in this area was met or exceeded.

Since the start of the 20/20 Project, the student-to-faculty ratio has improved from 13:1 to 10:1, which supports the College’s intensely personalized approach to education. Gordon has also worked diligently to equip our faculty for success. Over half of our faculty (far beyond the original goal of 20%) have worked with the Falcone Center for Teaching Excellence to develop creative and effective pedagogies. And the College has expanded its faculty evaluation process to ensure that all full-time teaching faculty are evaluated on a regular basis. 

The College has also made significant strides in diversifying revenue streams within the academic division. Over the last decade, annual grants and sponsored research increased by a staggering 17,287%. While student research positions were placed on hold last summer due to COVID-19, donor funding has given the College the ability to quadruple the number of on-campus, funded summer student research positions. Dual-enrollment opportunities expanded to offer 9 different courses for high school students at a significant savings, thereby making Gordon more affordable for more families.

GHI Students

Global Honors Institute

In 2017, the Global Honors Institute became the new institutional umbrella for Gordon’s unique honors offerings, including the signature Global Honors Scholars program. Under the direction of Dr. William Barker ’98, the Institute provides support and cohesion for Global Honors Scholars, A. J. Gordon Scholars, Clarendon Scholars, the Jerusalem and Athens Forum, the Scholars Semester in Oxford, the Kenneth L. Pike Honors and departmental honors programs—preparing exceptional students to live honorable lives of Christ-centered leadership and service. We have welcomed four cohorts of exceptional Global Honors Scholars from around the world. We also launched through the Institute a new honors programs for first-year students, the Martha D. Frost Fellows program, to better equip them with the skills to lead with excellence in their fields.

Finance class

Graduate Programs

Two new graduate programs expand the scope of academic offerings, and graduate enrollment has grown by 250% over the last decade. Launched in 2016, graduate leadership offers two advanced degrees (Master of Arts in Leadership and Education Specialist in Leadership) to prepare rising leaders for success in Christian schools and nonprofits. In 2018, the Master of Science in Financial Analysis began offering a faith-based, shorter and more affordable alternative to an MBA. A unique partnership with Gordon-Conwell now allows the College to offer the first five-year joint bachelor and M.Div program offered among nationally-ranked institutions. Subsequently, the College has begun the process of adding graduate offerings in health sciences. And the creation of the School of Graduate and Extended Studies has added institutional gravitas to the College’s commitment to graduate education.

THE STARTING POINT: INITIAL GOALS

  • Increase the number of full-time faculty in understaffed departments, linked to enrollments
  • Implement a budget process to regularly upgrade academic equipment on a regular rotation
  • Make progress towards achieving the 85th percentile of National IIB Colleges in faculty compensation
  • Integrate the best of our unique programs into a cohesive four-year honors program for exceptional students
  • Launch three strategic graduate programs
  • Ensure 20 percent of Gordon faculty will have worked with the Center for Teaching Excellence in developing creative and effective pedagogies
  • Leverage online learning to increase student flexibility and facilities utilization by offering multiple sections of six Common Core courses during the traditional academic year
  • Expand the faculty evaluation process to ensure all adjunct, part-time, and term teaching faculty are evaluated on a regular basis. Implement a professional development and reward plan for all teaching faculty
  • Expand Gordon’s capacity for submitting external grant proposals, with the intent that every academic department will submit at least one external grant every five years
  • Quadruple the number of on-campus funded summer student research positions. Increase the pool for faculty stipends for summer research

STANDOUT ACHIEVEMENTS

  • Annual grants and sponsored research increased by 17,287%
  • Launch of the Global Honors Institute
  • New graduate programs – with more to come
  • Significantly expanded the work of the Falcone Center for Teaching Excellence

DISAPPOINTMENTS

  • Faculty compensation has not grown, nor has systematic investment in the College’s academic equipment
  • The student-to-faculty ratio improved, but so has the full-time faculty’s regular teaching load