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Strategic Plan Launch

A renewed vision of scholarship, community, fiscal sustainability and church and civic engagement will guide St. Andrew’s College during the coming years.

The college’s board of directors unveiled its five-year strategic plan during a gathering of the college community  its stakeholders held Nov. 19. The renewed plan builds upon successes that have seen the college stabilize and allowed it to begin to look toward the future..

“At the end of 2014 the college was poised for growth. The board, the faculty, staff and principal had worked really hard to get the college on to a firm financial footing,” board member Lea Pennock told the gathering. “After a period of necessary stabilization in our last cycle, there was a real appetite for growth. And not only an appetite for growth but also a recognition that growth is necessary, that growth is in fact absolutely essential as we move forward.”

The plan sets out exciting new directions and goals while recommitting the College to its mission of providing justice-driven education for Christian leadership. It reaffirms the commitment to academic excellence and the integration of practice and study in ministerial preparation, and confirms the ongoing programs and new program implementation. It envisions wider ecumenical involvements and deeper, authentic and mutual relationships with Indigenous people.

It includes new degree and certificate specializations in service of the Church and community, an increased effort in student attraction and a new emphasis on continuing education and distance education. The plan indicates care for the physical and natural heritage of the College building and land with goals to revitalize the Campus Community Centre (Main Lounge), renew the relationship with the University of Saskatchewan and take action to reduce the carbon footprint of our building.

“Planning ahead is to envision the congregations or faith communities the students will be serving,” said Board chair Dawn Ballantine-Dickson. “It is impossible to know, so we plan with faith. We put our money where our mission is. Prayerfully, in an ever-changing environment, this college must effectively train people to share the Gospel of Jesus in word and deed.”

The college’s plan builds on the successes of recent years, most significantly the receipt of a 10-year accreditation from the Association of Theological Schools. St. Andrew’s has developed a new Dual-Degree Program, created a successful pilot for an extended residency component in the Master of Divinity program, made significant accessibility and technological enhancements to the building and has integrated the Designated Lay Ministry program into the life of the college during the past year.

One of the key imperatives identified during the planning process is identifying and lowering the barriers to student recruitment and expanding communication efforts to invite students and prospective students into the St. Andrew’s community.

“I am passionate about the need for our church and our institutions to participate together in reaching out and attracting students. Calling to ministry, calling to theological education, calling to deepening theological understanding in education,” said Principal Lorne Calvert.

“There are some signs of life; I am more encouraged I think than I was a year ago. I see within our church some deepening understanding that we can debate all we want the kind of theological education we should offer, but it becomes academic if no one is appearing to prepare for ministry and study theological education.”

Expanding the college’s educational reach with continuing study opportunities and through new degree specializations and certificate and diploma programs is one of the ways in which the college will look to expand its engagement with the The United Church of Canada and the broader church community.

“The mission of our college is to provide justice-driven education for Christian education, bother ordered and lay. We seek to expand some of that work in the wider church and in the wider community with new technology but also with a new vigour,” said Calvert, noting the designation of faculty member Lynn Caldwell to lead the college’s continuing education outreach programs means a “much more aggressive promotion of what this college offers.”

“We don’t see that as the salvation of the college, but an important contribution that we can make to life of the church. And it will strengthen us,” he said.

The strategic plan also commits the college to continuing it work to foster authentic, mutual relationships with Indigenous students. The college recently joined other Saskatchewan post-secondary institutions as signatories to a pledge of collaboration and consultation with aboriginal communities to close the educational gap for aboriginal people.

Calvert said the pledge will help guide St. Andrews as it moves forward on the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission as they apply not only to post-secondary or university education, but specifically to theological education.

“There is a specific recommendation in the TRC to theological education and your facility is already planning on how we will meet that challenge,” he said. “There is so much more that we can do, both church and secular. We want to position the college to do just that.

“No student leaves St. Andrew’s College without a good grounding in the whole question of residential schools, without a good experience (of First Nations community) through the learning circle, but we want to deepen it.”

The strategic plan also commits the college to the physical revitalization of the college building and continuing the relationship with the University of Saskatchewan.

The Second Century Fund is dedicated to the renewal of the building, particularly the Campus Community Centre, also known as the main lounge, which is as an important gathering spot for many college events and other activities. Window replacement, new flooring, furnishings and other amenities are all part of a renewal plan that will seek contribution from outside the college’s traditional donor base.

“This room was built to serve as a resource to the university, not just St. Andrew’s,” Calvert said. “It was built to be a student community centre, a campus community centre, and we want to renew that and we are setting up to do that.”

Enhancing the capacity of the building to financially and physically support the needs of the college, examining options for greater parking access and energy conservation initiative including exploring the possibility of a solar power component are also part of the plan.

More information and details of the college’s strategic plan are available on the Strategic Plan webpage.

St. Andrew's College Strategic Plan Launch

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