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.
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.
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
ALL SEVEN STRATEGIC INITIATIVES
Explore the following pages for detailed updates related to each of the seven initiatives: