By Madison Farrar, Staff Writer
This year, Asbury entered into a new five-year strategic plan entitled “Imagine 2022: Asbury’s Vision for Faithful Change.” This plan is the product of the prolonged work of analyzing, listening, praying, discerning and visioning what the most strategic opportunities for Asbury University are and will be. A team of individuals from across campus came together to outline initiatives that will be a driving force for progress at Asbury for the next five years.
The six initiatives are Learn, Believe, Embrace, Explore, Innovate and Deliver, and will hopefully lay the groundwork for generations of Asburians to come. The plan prioritizes big picture ideals, such as creating a more culturally competent and spiritually sound community, while focusing on improving logistics, such as budgeting and physical facilities on campus.
“With God’s leading, Imagine 2022 will be a road map for Asbury University to faithfully press onward,” said President Sandra C. Gray to Asbury University’s magazine The Ambassador. “We seek to strengthen academic excellence, to enliven spiritual vitality and to enrich our vibrant student community. Building on timeless truth, God calls us to ‘serve the present age.’ With joyful expectation, the strategic priorities set forth will equip to be channels through which positive change and eternal transformation occur.”
The essence of strategic planning is answering important questions regarding how to best achieve goals. In order to develop the plan, the university went through a longitudinal analysis of student data and survey results, formal focus groups and connecting with dozens of other stakeholders. The final plan will help the university focus on how to optimize energy, resources and time to best fulfill Asbury’s mission.
Paul Stephens, associate dean for strategic planning and institutional effectiveness, was a member of the committee in charge of writing the plan. “We seek to remain faithful to the mission and heritage of Asbury while being responsive to the challenges and opportunities ahead,” Stephens said. “Asbury is well positioned to provide leadership and we are blessed to be moving forward in strength and institutional health. Making the very most of this opportunity over the next five years is both a hope and obligation.”
Paramount to Asbury’s mission statement is the equipping of students, be it by meeting the needs of the 21st century, facilitating the Lord’s work of growing deep roots of faith and fruitfulness, creating a culturally competent community or ensuring our faculty and staff are resourced and equipped to fulfill their respective callings. “This plan is incredibly student centric. Even within elements relating to optimizing the online facility and the completion of key capital projects – the work ultimately orbits on equipping students to advance the cause of Christ,” said Stephens.
Moving forward, students have the opportunity to make an impact in the implementation of Imagine 2022. Continued feedback from students will be key as the plan is put into place and progress is monitored. “Something very practical students can do is to be mindful of requests for feedback via focus groups or surveys. Responses to these are taken very seriously and analyzed meticulously,” Stephens said. “In the course of a hectic semester, making the time to share your experience and opinions is not only helpful but imperative for our shared success.”
Asbury administration, faculty and staff are expectant for God to work in big ways through Imagine 2022. “The very best thing a student can do is to be prayerful for Asbury – for one another, for our faculty, staff and administration,” Stephens said. “This is a special place because Jesus is Lord of what we do here. May it continue to be so in the years to come.”