Virtually everyone believes that Taylor needs to grow the circle of learners it serves – both because it is essential for institutional vitality, and because we believe it is a missional imperative to share the transformative Taylor education with a wider segment of learners. This includes increasing the diversity of our student body as well as residential undergraduate student body growth, but it also involves launching and expanding academic programs to serve nontraditional students for Taylor—adult learners, those interested in graduate and professional programs, and pre-collegiate students. This will require significant investment, so our strategies need to represent wise stewardship of limited resources to leverage for maximum impact. This expansion of the students that Taylor serves must also align with and advance the University’s commitment to Christian higher education, not diminish it.
We think the best approach is to identify a portfolio of academic areas where strategic investments can be made. We have chosen these areas of focus to better serve our traditional students while also creating new academic offerings for pre-collegiate, graduate, and adult learners. This expansion will largely occur through digital or remote learning initiatives, but they will also involve investments in people, on-campus facilities, and programs. A dedicated administrative unit within the academic division will be required to serve these nontraditional learners most effectively. This will necessitate a restructuring of some other parts of the academic division, which could include re-constituting school-like units within the academic division while also creating opportunities for collaboration across academic departments. Unlike previous efforts at the University, none of these restructuring strategies are created to eliminate positions for budget-savings reasons. Instead, we seek to position Taylor’s academic leadership and structure to be more adaptable for the rising competitiveness of our market and to develop a cadre of academic leaders who have sufficient and equivalent “range” of responsibilities and are developed as institutional leaders with greater intentionality and authority. Finally, we seek to invest in academic initiatives that will serve the largest number of students and to diversify the University’s resource base for future growth and development.
As part of this priority, we have identified a set of initiatives that we believe, over time, will help our campus more closely reflect God’s Kingdom on earth. As our Multicultural Philosophy Statement makes clear, Taylor is committed to fostering healthy relationships in our community regardless of differences in race, ethnicity, or national heritage. We believe there is value in seeking diversity, not just out of a desire to serve a wider segment of students but also in seeking to emulate the diverse multitude from every language, ethnicity, and nation who praise the Lord in heaven for eternity. We believe this process not only honors God but also offers myriad opportunities to enrich the experience of everyone at Taylor. The following are the major components of Priority Pillar 1: Widening the Circle of Learners.