The work of Christian higher education is ceaselessly complex. Here are some of the many challenging projects we have been working on and difficult issues we are seeking to address during the 2017- 2018 school year:
REACHING OUR $175 MILLION GOAL for the From the Heart, For the Kingdom capital campaign. As of this writing, we are trusting God for as much as $15 million more in gifts and commitments by the end of June.
HIRING EXCEPTIONAL LEADERS to serve on the Senior Administrative Cabinet. Silvio Vazquez began serving as Wheaton’s first Chief Enrollment Management Officer (CEMO) in January. Wheaton’s inaugural Chief Intercultural Engagement Officer (CIEO) will be on campus soon to provide leadership for defining and meeting campus- wide goals to deepen ethnic diversity, promote racial reconciliation, and advance intercultural understanding.
ELIMINATING ANY FORM OF HAZING through improved training and a revised disciplinary process for addressing allegations of student misconduct. Last summer, during an ongoing law enforcement investigation into a 2016 incident, I asked the Board of Trustees to review the College’s policies and procedures. The results of their Anti-Hazing Task Force were announced in January, with recommendations of ways that we can improve our policies, practices, and training going forward.
LOBBYING FOR TAX POLICIES that protect the welfare of our students and employees. Through the coordinated efforts of many private schools—including sister institutions in the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU)—the final version of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act protected students from taxes on their scholarships and spared Wheaton’s endowment from any excise taxes.
ADVOCATING FOR EDUCATIONAL REFORM as Congress reauthorizes the Higher Education Act. Together with other private colleges and universities, we will seek to preserve grant aid for students with the highest financial need and to promote sensible policies for loan repayment—an area where Wheaton alumni excel.
PREPARING NEW STRATEGIC PRIORITIES that will advance our mission. When our capital campaign ends this summer, we do not want to hit the “pause” button; we want to begin implementing a new set of goals. To that end, more than a hundred faculty, staff, students, and alumni have been busy crafting strategic initiatives this year, under the leadership of a campus-wide Strategic Plan Group. The Trustees hope to approve a new list of strategic priorities at their meetings in May.
None of this work is easy or simple, but daunting and therefore invigorating. It all requires thoughtful, prayerful collaboration on campus, as well as generous support from people who love the kingdom mission of Wheaton College.