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Introduction

When we learn, we praise God, and we equip ourselves and others
for service in God’s world.

How do you plan for the future of a college when the times are full of unexpected opportunities, complex challenges, devoted people, and urgent need? The answer is clear: You plan with care, hope, vision, and gratitude. You plan with humility and the awareness that plans are human attempts to respond to the unique tasks and resources that God has given to this college.

What keeps us steady in the face of change is our emphasis on our central identity as a college—an institution focused on learning. As a Christian institution of higher education, we are called by God to learn all we can about the world he made and to foster that learning in students, in faculty and staff, and in our various partners and constituencies. Our many activities all have learning at their core. When we learn, we praise God, and we equip ourselves and others for service in God’s world. The question, “How will this promote learning?” (“HWTPL?”), guided the planning process and led to the central objectives in this strategic plan.

Using a question for the title of this plan is also a way to say that the future is likely to surprise us. It says that we need a process to make decisions about opportunities and challenges that cannot be anticipated in 2008, but that will surely come our way. So “HWTPL?” is also the strategic plan committee’s suggested metric for future decision-making. As we make decisions, we must keep our learning vocation at the core, and we must ask one another: How will this opportunity/challenge/decision/action/hire/building promote learning? 

How do you plan for the future of a college? You plan with colleagues who love the institution and are eager to see it fulfill its fullest mission.  A word of thanks is due to those colleagues, especially to the strategic plan committee for its eighteen months of work, and to faculty, staff, students, the board of trustees, and many others who were involved in this process. More information about the committee, the process, the values that guided our work, and contextual analysis can be found at www.calvin.edu/go/stratplan.

Claudia Beversluis, provost

September 2008