Last Thursday the TWU community had the opportunity to hear from TWU Provost Dr. Dennis Jameson as he answered questions concerning the strategic plan or "Redesign" of the University titled: A Way Forward into a Preferred and Sustainable Future. The nine-page document outlined several areas in which the University will aim to streamline and improve its processes.
In early February, the President tasked the Provost with the Redesign project, and the goal to "recommend to the President how all academic and non-academic departments and programs in the University could be reorganized and the University, as a whole, redesigned in its operations over a twenty-four month period." As well as streamlining its organizational efforts, the plan also includes finding a way to reduce annual costs of the university by $3.5 - 4 million dollars.
In what could be considered an unconventional approach, the President and Provost opened up the redesign process to the broader TWU community, asking for feedback and suggestions from staff, faculty and external experts in order to improve efficiency.
The result is a Redesign document that is broken down into four sections: 1) Educational Vitality, 2) Infrastructure and Systems, 3) Resource Management, Accountability, and Processes, and finally 4) Wealth Acquisition and Management: Advancement. The redesign mentions specific goals and how they will be implemented as early as mid April.
Called "Go Forward Options" these activities include: streamlining processes for students and looking at duplicate courses over the entire spectrum of the university, a two-year net reduction of 50 full time employees, a voluntary ask of senior administrators to reduce their take home compensation from 3%-5% or an ask that they contribute the same back to the University, the creation of a Senior Marketing position to help bring cohesion to the overall marketing of TWU programs, and the aim to aggressively grow the University's endowment fund, as well as the ongoing reduction and restructuring of the University's current debt load.
The document also highlighted areas that it will target in the next five years. These include "an appropriate lift of faculty and staff salaries commensurate with comparable marketplace standards, technology services and upgrades, and facility upgrades and construction."
TWU President, Dr. Jonathan Raymond says, in a letter to the community, "Through the collective wisdom of internal and external expertise, we have built a plan that faces the realities of our current economy head-on and, indeed, gives us great hope for the promise and possibilities of TWU. This plan encompasses ‘a more excellent way' for the University to conduct itself across all levels of its operations. We have begun a new way of thinking and will adopt new methods to achieve a culture of continuous quality improvement, sustainability, and servant hood that champion the essence and ends of our University. We will go from strength to Strength."
The aim of the administration's transparency was to instill a sense of community and support within the university for the challenges facing the institution. Two public forums were held. The first was an information session about the pending Redesign and the second was the presentation of the Redesign recommendations.
Overall, the campus wide support for the process has been very positive. Raymond writes, "I want to take this opportunity to thank you for your forbearance during this time of change, for sharing in this refining process, and for providing your feedback, prayer, and words of encouragement. We will not be the same. Our changes will be uncomfortable. They will include loss, and we will feel the loss. Nevertheless, we will stay the course believing that God is at work. I am confident that we have a sure way forward!"
Trinity Western University, in Langley, B.C., is an independent Christian liberal arts and sciences university enrolling approximately 4000 students. TWU offers 41undergraduate majors, ranging from biotechnology, education, nursing, theatre and music, to psychology, communications and biblical studies. TWU's 17 graduate degree programs include counseling psychology, business, theology, linguistics, and leadership, and interdisciplinary degrees in English, philosophy and history. TWU holds Canada Research Chairs in Dead Sea Scroll Studies, Developmental Genetics and Disease, and Interpretation, Religion & Culture.
Last Updated: 2009-04-14