What’s happening at Gordon?
During the 2018–19 academic year, Gordon implemented a yearlong, proactive budget planning process as a systematic assessment designed to help bring operating budgets in both academic and non-academic areas in line with College revenues, while preserving essential support for Gordon’s overall educational mission. It included organizational changes that can provide Gordon the ability to make needed investments in areas of growth—expanded digital learning, accelerated pathways to degree completion that can save students and families time and money, and new programs which will increase and diversify revenue sources for the institution. Learn more about the academic changes, the market realities and the details of the process.
Will I be able to finish my degree if changes are made to my major?
Curricular changes only impact a segment of departments, and starting June 1, students will hear more specific information if their area of study is changing in some way. Changes will be incremental, but regardless of modifications, all current students—those who will be sophomores, juniors and seniors as of fall 2019—will be able to graduate in their major. In other words, any major of study that may not be offered in the same form to future students will still be able to be completed by current students over the next three years.
I’m still a deciding major and/or am thinking about switching my major—can I do that?
Absolutely. All current students—those who will be sophomores, juniors and seniors as of fall 2019—will be able to graduate in their major (or any major/minor that was offered when they began at Gordon). Any major of study that may not be offered in the same format to future students will still be able to be completed by current students over the next three years.
Will course offerings be changing for the fall?
Students should plan according to the current course catalog. If changes are made to their fall schedules, students will be contacted by departmental faculty and advising staff between June 1 and 15 to make the necessary adjustments.
If the budget reset is about affordability, why did tuition increase this year?
Annual tuition increases are a standard part of the higher education landscape in response to the cost of providing services. As has been the case every year for over a decade, a larger segment of Gordon’s budget will support College-funded financial aid. Compared to national increase averages, Gordon has remained historically low for a number of years. One of the goals of the budget reset process is to move Gordon away from being so heavily reliant on traditional, undergraduate tuition revenue so that we can make Gordon more affordable in the future.
How is Gordon caring for the people who are departing as a result of this process?
Because of the strict parameters in place regarding personnel decisions (both legal and HR/personal privacy reasons), the College cannot disclose the names of individuals impacted. Even though program reviews resulted in eliminating certain positions as part of the College’s budget reset, we care deeply about these colleagues who have served so well in these roles. The College is very grateful for their many contributions to our community. As an expression of this gratitude, Gordon has sought to offer generous separation benefits to assist departing colleagues. Benefits include severance payments for staff, fully-funded yearlong terminal sabbaticals, stipends to assist with healthcare coverage and transition expenses, reimbursable tuition scholarships for individuals who want to take classes at Gordon or elsewhere, and a full tuition scholarship for departing employees who have children pursuing an undergraduate degree at Gordon presently or who have children in high school who might want to do this in the coming years. We are able to offer these benefits, in part, thanks to an anonymous donor who shares the College’s desire to ease the transition for these affected colleagues. Departing colleagues also have the opportunity to choose how they say goodbye to the campus and their colleagues; if desired, the College will provide appropriate funds to underwrite these farewells on campus or in smaller settings.
Why is Gordon making reductions in foreign languages while saying it is embracing more global programs?
The number of majors in the study of Western European languages has been declining across the country, and Gordon is no different. The study of languages thrives where it is tied to other majors. At the same time, with the changes in the world, students are interested in studying a greater variety of languages—our international affairs students want Arabic, and we now offer Mandarin through the intermediate level. We will be looking at ways to tie language study with majors—medical Spanish for example—and to expand options for our students through partnerships.
Is Gordon still committed to the liberal arts?
Gordon’s core identity is not changing. Instead, we have the opportunity to build upon the core values of a residential Christian liberal arts education in order to meet the rapidly evolving needs of students, families and employers in the 21st century. Our educational values are the key to the future. We know the future of liberal arts is education plus preparation, and we’re committed to making that a stronger reality at Gordon. The budget planning process includes a reorganization of the academic division, which will change some of the current offerings for specific majors and minors, in some cases integrating or combining areas of study to actually increase pathways toward specific vocational goals. The heart and soul of the Gordon experience is a Christian liberal arts education. That will not change, even as some pathways will look different. Learn more about academic changes ➔
Who can I talk to about my concerns or ideas?
As more detailed information becomes available over the summer, students should work with their departmental faculty and advising staff to finalize their plans. In the meantime, please direct questions about the budget process and outcomes to [email protected].