Dowden unveils Huntington University's strategic plan

Huntington, Ind.—Change and continuity were recurring themes this morning as Huntington University President Dr. G. Blair Dowden unveiled the institution’s newly adopted strategic plan. Dowden’s remarks were presented before the breakfast meeting of the Huntington University Foundation.

“We have a new name and several new or expanded academic programs, but our mission remains the same,” Dowden said. “As we grow and change through this new Strategic Plan, we will continue to be a Christ-centered, student focused campus characterized by academic excellence.”

The Huntington University Board of Trustees adopted the new strategic plan in late April, Dowden said. The plan is the result of a year-long effort by the University Innovation Task Force, a 24-member group of faculty, staff, students, administrators and trustees.

Dowden explained that the plan is guided by a strategic vision for the future. He announced that the University intends to double in size, increasing enrollment to 2,000 students by 2016.

Other goals include doubling the endowment (currently valued at $21 million), raising the five-year graduation rate, strengthening the academic ethos of the campus, and reaching competitive compensation targets for faculty and staff.

Dr. Ann McPherren
To assist with the coordination, development, implementation and monitoring of the new strategic plan and process, business professor Dr. Ann McPherren has been appointed as vice president for university planning and strategy.

“I’m excited to have the opportunity to help Huntington University plan for the future,” said McPherren, who celebrates 25 years of service at the University this year. “We continue to strive to help students develop able minds and loving hearts to serve our local community and the world beyond it. We have been blessed with more than 100 years of service in Christian higher education and want to sow the seeds in planning that will lead to even more effective service in the coming years.”

Dowden explained that a series of university-wide strategies will help the institution achieve the goals laid out in the plan. These include:

Implement a continuous planning and assessment process across the University.
Foster proposals for enriching and expanding the academic enterprise.
Assure an appropriate experiential academic learning component for each student.
Collaborate in meaningful ways with strategic partners.
Establish a center for spiritual formation that engages the entire campus, connects with every other program as well as serves as a resource for spiritual formation.
Restructure adult and graduate programs to provide excellence in education and to take advantage of opportunities for appropriate growth.
Enrich our campus community by engaging persons from a variety of cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds, and exposing students, faculty and staff to cross-cultural environments.
Dowden said that these changes will strengthen the University’s ability to fulfill its 109 year-old mission: To provide a high quality, Christ-centered educational program that prepares men and women to impact the world for Christ.

The University anticipates that additional facilities and resources will be needed to accomplish the goals of the Strategic Plan. In 2002, the Christian liberal arts college adopted a long-range Facilities Master Plan to guide campus development and accommodate additional growth. Dowden indicated that the University was beginning to prepare for a multi-million capital campaign.

The text of Huntington University’s newly adopted Strategic Plan is available for review online at

Excerpt from 2006 Strategic Plan: Vision Statement
The goal of Huntington University is to educate men and women to impact our world for Christ through high-quality, Christ-centered education. The University seeks to honor Christ through scholarship and service.

It is our intent to provide a premier Christian college experience that integrates faith, learning and service. We will be a leading Christian university community of 2,000 students characterized by a strong national reputation for academic excellence, the ability to attract and retain outstanding faculty and staff, and high levels of satisfaction and engagement among students, faculty, and staff.

This is an ambitious goal which will require our innovative thinking and action to strengthen and expand high-potential academic programs, increase financial health and revenue, broaden reputation, and consider alternative educational enterprises.

The end result will be a University in the tradition of the liberal arts that is considered among the top CCCU institutions in the nation and one of the top Christian universities in the region. We will offer a highly personal environment in the midst of larger competing institutions. Students will consider tuition paid a worthwhile investment. Huntington University will be known for a student-focused, Christ-centered campus, excellence and innovation in education, and a nurturing environment which encourages spiritual growth and faith-learning integration. Our graduates will be in demand in the marketplace and for entry into top graduate schools. And most importantly, our growth and development will allow us to more effectively impact the world for Christ.

Huntington University is a comprehensive Christian college of the liberal arts offering graduate and undergraduate programs in more than 70 academic concentrations. U.S.News & World Report ranks Huntington among the best colleges in the Midwest. Founded in 1897 by the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, Huntington University is located on a contemporary, lakeside campus in northeast Indiana. The University is a member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU).


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