Campus Life

Securing Grace’s future

Student leaders were invited to McClain Auditorium on Monday afternoon to take part in a strategic planning effort on behalf of the college.

Grace is working with an outside consulting group Johnson, Grossnickle, and Associates from Indianapolis, Ind., to secure the future interests of the college.

The staff of student affairs met with various student leaders in order to solicit ideas, feedback, and goals from the campus community.

Dr. Swanson, the vice president of student affairs and academic services, calls the strategic planning effort “the roadmap to the institution’s future.”

During the meeting with student leaders, Aaron Crabtree, the associate dean of students, addressed questions to the students.

Questions during the meeting focused on the strengths of Grace College’s niche in higher education, and the weaknesses that the institution can approve upon.

Grace’s close-knit community as well as personal attention from professors were noted as strengths, while some students considered world awareness and on-campus activities as weaknesses.

Two students will be directly involved with the strategic planning process: Jonathan Haag, student body president, and Niki Barlow, student senate administrator. Haag and Barlow will serve as the representatives for student opinion.

The strategic planning process began on January 17 and will be completed by April. In this stage of the process, Grace is conducting a series of internal focus groups from a wide variety of demographics across campus.

By the end of April Grace will have clearly identified goals for strenghtening the college which they will use towards fundraising efforts.

This is the third strategic planning effort during Swanson’s tenure at Grace. Previous strategic planning efforts took place in 2006 and 2009.

The 2006 plan focused on strengthening the board of trustees, the chapel program, faculty and staff salaries, the endowment, marketing and athletics.

The 2009 Reimagine plan did not began as a strategic effort but grew from  Dr. Manahan’s desire to make the high cost of college more affordable.

During the meeting Swanson noted the advancement of athletics under the 2006 strategic planning effort. The plan identified the goal of hiring more full-time coaches.

In 2007 Michael Voss was hired as the full-time women’s soccer coach.

“If we are going to have athletes lead the campus we need to have coaches that can go deeper,” said Swanson.

Story by Octavia Lehman | Editor in Chief |