Parent Programs Transition on Campus

Dear Parents of Goshen College Students:

Over the course of the past couple of years, much thought and consideration has been given to the future of Goshen College and the impact our educational experience has on students. We remain committed to teaching and learning, recognizing our purpose in teaching and transforming the lives of students as they come and go through our classrooms, our residence halls, our study-service programs and the varied campus community programs and events we hold week in and week out. This is clear given our mission statement summary noting Goshen College as “a liberal arts college dedicated to the development of informed, articulate, sensitive, responsible Christians.” The full mission statement is available at In addition to mission, is vision.

In August, President Jim Brenneman shared an inspiring opening address to all employees. An excerpt from his address is below. His vision for Goshen College offers the foundational frame-work for other initiates such as our General Education Review and recent Campus Cultural Audit.

On Becoming a Vision-Driven College
President James E. Brenneman
August 20, 2010

“. . . Almost two years ago, I poised a question adapted from Steven Garber in his best-selling book on higher education, The Fabric of Faithfulness: Does Goshen College have a telos, an endpoint, a northstar, sufficient, personally and publicly, to orient us as an institution for a life time? Goshen College has wonderful mission statements which have been instructive guides and descriptions of our mission thus far. However, the world, the culture, the college, and the church have sufficiently changed to warrant need of a paradigmatic and structural shift of practice from that of a “family”-centered missions orientation to a vision-centered mission-driven orientation if we hope to remain viable for the future.

A rhetorical signpost of this institutional shift in focus is to frame our conversation going forward in vision-oriented language. This shift is more than just rhetorical, however, it is meant to compel us forward in new ways requiring deep structural and emotional changes in order for us to reach our hoped for destination.

I truly believe that we can build on the sure foundation of our past and construct an even stronger house of learning for tomorrow. I believe this new vision statement is, indeed, sufficient, to give shape to our work, our strategic planning, our curriculum development, our student and faculty recruitment, our financial aid decisions, our fundraising campaigns, our marketing efforts, our institutional infrastructure – our life together – for years to come.

Goshen College will be recognized as an influential leader in liberal arts education focusing on international, intercultural, interdisciplinary, and integrative teaching and learning that offers every student a life-orienting story embedded in Christ-centered core values: global citizenship, compassionate peacemaking, servant leadership and passionate learning.”

As we continue to do our work, we will focus on this vision statement as the point of reference in defining how best to help create for every student a “life-orienting story”. In the meantime, we invite your feedback and questions.

In subsequent Parent Connection updates we will provide more detail related to our General Education Review and the Campus Cultural Audit.

Bill Born
VP for Student Life and Dean of Students