Nearly nine months after she first announced her strategic two-year plan for Goshen College, President Rebecca Stoltzfus gathered all faculty and staff to present a formal update on Monday morning.
President Stoltzfus first created the plan after meeting with students, faculty and staff and other GC community members to evaluate where improvements could be made.
From these early meetings, four goals were set:
GC community will be engaged, inclusive and fun
Students’ experiences will be characterized by growth and social belonging
Academics will be excellent and distinctive
Goshen College will be efficient and effective
While each goal is in the process of being met, many initiatives have already been put into action since President Stoltzfus first announced her plan in late January.
“GC community will be engaged, inclusive and fun”
Since President Stoltzfus’ first goal was announced, many visible changes have been made in effort to create an “engaged, inclusive and fun” community.
David Kendall transitioned into a new role as the career networks coordinator in hopes of connecting students with “community partnerships” and “experiential learning.”
In May, the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force was officially launched with Beth Martin Birky and Dominique Burgunder-Johnson.
Additionally, Birky took on a new role as the special assistant to the provost for Title IX, in which she dedicates her time to “strengthening Title IX protocols and programs, with comprehensive roll-out education.”
“Students’ experiences will be characterized by growth and social belonging”
In hopes of fostering positive student experiences, the Admissions Office has taken many measures to increase enrollment.
The Admissions Office has also worked to strengthen diversity by hiring an African-American admissions counselor and a second bilingual admissions counselor. A bilingual financial aid counselor was also hired.
The Academic Success Center received an overhaul in hopes of creating a more accessible tutoring program. Pat Lehman and Zeila Frade were also hired as teaching faculty with “expertise in communications and academic English for non-heritage speakers.”
Within Student Life, several programs have been revamped and expanded.
Counseling and health services for LGBTQ+ clients were further developed.
Furthermore, Gwen Gustafson-Zook has worked to create a Ministry Leader Program in hopes of “[supporting] faith and spiritual development of an an increasingly diverse student body, including commuter population.”
“Academics will be excellent and distinctive”
President Stoltzfus’ goal to push academics at Goshen College inspired the SST-Search Conference that took place in mid-September alongside additional actions to strengthen experiential learning.
Efforts have been taken to support Goshen College’s humanities. Conversations with departments have been made to request strategic plans for departments and majors.
Several programs of study are in the process of receiving updates. The possibility of a Community Health major is being assessed currently, as well as a Data Analytics minor.
Additionally, the Office of Graduate and Continuing Studies was split into two separate programs — Graduate Studies and Adult Education, both of which report to the academic dean.
“Goshen College will be efficient and effective”
Efforts being made to reach President Stoltzfus’s fourth and final goal include “strengthening governance at all levels (student, faculty, staff, board) to promote effective leadership and service.”
Another potential change is a two percent wage increase and one percent retirement contribution for faculty and staff. According to Stoltzfus, additional targeted compensation increases have already been given to lowest-wage workers.
Goshen College is in the process of revising its mission statement. Two statements were shown and faculty and staff were encouraged to give input.
The first option stated, “Goshen College integrates academic excellence with Anabaptist-Mennonite values by engaging holistically with our local community and the world.”
The second statement was: “Goshen College opens doors to academic excellence in service to one another and the world.”
Since President Stoltzfus took office last November, many changes have been made to the Goshen College community.
“I and the Cabinet are working concertedly toward these goals in service to you,” President Stoltzfus said to all employees. “So that we, collectively, can serve our students effectively.”