In God’s providence, throughout church history, faithful individuals and institutions have been marked with special callings. Over the last nine months, the University community has worked together to identify the Lord’s calling in this season and to determine our unique strengths, in the context of a very competitive marketplace, that we can celebrate and accelerate in the years ahead. Based on that prayerful discernment and deep analysis, we have reached consensus on a vision for Taylor’s next five years. Simply stated, we pray that Taylor University would be the leading Christ-centered, student-focused university, committed to carrying the light and faith of Christ to a world in need.
The history of American higher education relates the story of hundreds of institutions who have diminished their Christian commitments in pursuit of academic respectability. Historian James Burtchaell has aptly referred to this as the “dying of the light.” Despite this general trend, there is a segment of American higher education that has maintained its Christian commitments, and an even smaller group that asks every community member to testify to their faith. Taylor is one of the leading institutions within this small group, and we increasingly stand apart from others because of our shared Christian commitments. This is important because we believe faith grows the best in the context of wider faith within higher learning (Hebrews 10:24-25). There are only a handful of ranked institutions in the United States today that foster this kind of thriving Christian community, and we are proud to be among that select group.
For decades, Taylor has been at the vanguard of educational institutions where students are the top priority. While some may assume this is the norm in higher education, it is remarkably rare. Many institutions over the last fifty years have followed one of two general paths—either becoming intensely scholarship—and research-driven or, conversely, pursuing enrollment growth at the expense of academic rigor. Taylor has distinguished itself as an institution that continues to care deeply about the academic and spiritual formation of students and prioritizes resources and institutional energy accordingly. From student learning to student engagement to student development, Taylor has continued to ask, “What is best for our students?” As such, we are a bright star within the constellation of American higher education.
Taylor’s commitment to either of these areas would be a distinctive. The fact that Taylor is a global leader in both makes the University unique, and it is this distinctiveness that animates our vision for the future. In essence, we will build on what differentiates Taylor from other institutions and craft a vision that allows us to live into that uniqueness even more fully over the next five years.
Committed to carrying the light and faith of Christ to a world in need.
We believe it is not only what students are taught, but also how, that reinforces the ultimate telos—that is, our ultimate aim—of what we pursue as an institution that claims the name of Jesus Christ. Through athletics and the arts, through experiential and classroom learning, members of the Taylor community help one another better understand the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the myriad ways the Gospel speaks to the full spectrum of human endeavor (Colossians 1:15-20). We teach our students that Christ’s death and resurrection reconcile not only the human relationship with God but with one another and with creation as well, and we take up the servant’s towel as a way of modeling a counter-cultural approach to leading well. In so doing, we reflect the example of Jesus, who came to serve, not be served.