In response to recent enrollment trends and to lay a foundation for future strength, North Central University has announced an academic restructuring that will consolidate three colleges, realign other academic areas, and incorporate a variety of program changes. Vice President of Academic Affairs Don Tucker, Ph.D., presented the plan to faculty on Feb. 8 at a faculty meeting.
- Structural changes under the new plan include:
- Consolidating the College of Missions, College of Ministry, and Institute for Biblical and Theological Studies (IBATS) into one college that will include all faculty and student majors in ministry, intercultural studies, and biblical and theological studies.
Realigning the College of Arts and Sciences to include four schools: Business, Communications, Education, and Social and Behavioral Sciences and Humanities.
Additionally, program changes such as discontinuation of low-enrollment courses and merging courses where applicable, plus increased budgets for professional development and new program development, are part of the coming changes.
President Gordon Anderson, Ph.D., noted that the difficult part of the restructuring includes the non-renewal of some faculty contracts for next year. He said that all areas of the university—not just academics—have been asked to reduce their budgets and some staffing reductions in certain areas could be seen in the months ahead.
In making these adjustments as a response to changing markets, shifts in student interest for certain degree areas, and the economics that come from decreased enrollment and increased expenses, Anderson said, “Our goal is to be as efficient as possible, all while managing our resources to align with budgets and North Central’s mission.”
Anderson, who plays both a leadership and pastoral role at NCU, said, “We are praying for the individuals and their families who are most affected by these changes. During very difficult times it is hard to understand what is happening and to see what God is doing. We know God is at work, but sometimes we don’t know how, and things feel very bleak. So we pray and ask God to help us. We ask Him to accomplish His will even when we don’t know what it may be. That is all we can do, and then God does the rest.”
Anderson noted that enrollment for 2016–17 is appearing strong and believes that despite some of the difficult decisions being made, there is great reason to believe in a strong future for the institution. He plans to meet with the NCU community on Feb. 12 to share more about North Central’s vision for the future.