TOPIC#1: Draft vision statement

[INSTRUCTIONS:  Please read the following statement from the Strategic Planning Committee and then use the comment box at the bottom to access others' posts and to add your own.]

 

The President and the Strategic Planning Steering Committee are presenting this DRAFT as an initial vision statement for discussion and analysis:

"Our vision is to be the Christian university of choice in the mid-east region of the US recognized for Christ-centered academic excellence, spiritual formation, student engagement, and leadership in thought and service."

 

Developing a compelling vision statement helps an organization confidently move forward.  A vision statement is often defined as a “preferred picture of the future.”  A strong vision assists in developing clear goals and priorities to align with the mission.  Here are some characteristics of an effective vision (adapted from John Kotter, Leading Change, chapter 5 “developing a vision and strategy”).

  • Imaginable – conveys a picture of what the future will look like

  • Desirable – appeal to long-term interests

  • Feasible – comprises realistic, attainable goals

  • Focused – is clear enough to provide guidance in decision making

  • Flexible – is general enough to allow individual initiative and alternative responses in light of changing conditions

  • Communicable – is easy to communicate; can be successfully explained within five minutes


We welcome your comments and suggestions on the content, scope, focus, and impact of this statement and potential revisions and refinements to these ideas.

Please note:  We will receive input into this DRAFT vision statement until April 10 at which time, the committee will consider the input and make refinements to be presented to the Board of Trustees at their May board meetings.

Comments

  1. Why is there a geographic boundary? With our online programs, a student can be anywhere.

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  2. The important aspect of any organizational vision is to define an “idealized state of the future.” This phrase encompasses Kotter’s characteristics of imaginable, desirable, and focused. In trying to satisfy all of Kotter’s conditions, perhaps the proposed vision statement tries to cram too much into one statement. This leads to a vision statement that is too cumbersome to be remembered and therefore diminishes its communicability. Something shorter that embodies these characteristics would be more memorable. Perhaps something like:

    Creating professionals with Christ-centered academic excellence, intentional spiritual engagement, and leadership in thought and service.

    I believe this dovetails nicely with Malone University’s slogan “Christ’s Kingdom First” in both spirit and practice. A statement such as this will provide purpose and direction both outside and inside the organization. I respectfully suggest leaving Kotter’s idea of feasibility for the Mission Statement.

    The Mission Statement can then expound upon the University’s Christian Values, how the University will achieve the vision, and how the vision is assimilated into all aspects of the organization’s culture. Once the Mission Statement is defined, it can be used as a means to assess the University’s progress toward the sustainable vision through various internal and external assessment criteria.

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  3. “Our vision is to be the Christian university of choice in the mid-east region of the US recognized for Christ-centered academic excellence, spiritual formation, student engagement, and leadership in thought and service.”

    I'm letting the criteria for a vision statement guide my comments.

    Imaginable – conveys a picture of what the future will look like.
    --Hmmmm... I'm not sure about imagining this. What does it mean to be "the Christian university of choice"? Whose choice? Students'? What is the "mid-east region"? I immediately think of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, and Israel-Palestine. I'm guessing it's meant to connote neither Midwest nor East coast, but it's a term that is not in common usage. I would advise changing it to Midwest.

    "Desirable – appeal to long-term interests"
    --Being "recognized for Christ-centered academic excellence, etc." seems desirable right away. Being a university "of choice" (assuming that means students) is obviously desirable for the future. But there is problem: this isn't as aligned with our mission statement as it could be. It would help to see how this vision statement flows out of our current mission statement.

    "Feasible – comprises realistic, attainable goals."
    --I suspect the "mideast region" is aimed toward this, a limited audience? We don't want to aim at replacing Harvard or OSU or other national-level universities. But are we limiting ourselves too much? Why can't we aspire to becoming a competitor with other CCCU institutions that attract students from across the country? We could start with a more limited goal to begin with, but over time we might want to compete with Cedarville, Gordon, Taylor, Calvin, Messiah, Wheaton, Westmont, etc. Why limit ourselves to the shrinking Rust Belt region? The current vision statement is TOO limited.

    "Focused – is clear enough to provide guidance in decision making."
    --Ouch. . . I think the current vision statement does poorly on this criterion. What is omitted? What are we NOT trying to achieve in this vision statement? We desperately need strategic guidance to decide what NOT to do. One of Malone's biggest weaknesses, in my view, is that we have tried to be too many different things to too many different audiences. As a result, we've often pleased no one. A mark of a well-defined vision is to know what is outside of your core mission. What does the current vision statement help us to avoid, to not do? I don't see much there.

    "Flexible – is general enough to allow individual initiative and alternative responses in light of changing conditions."
    --The current draft is plenty malleable, probably too much so.

    "Communicable – is easy to communicate; can be successfully explained within five minutes"
    --The current statement seems a bit mushy and vague. It would be easier to communicate if it built logically on our mission statement and foundational principles.

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  4. Jane Hoyt-OliverApril 2, 2013 at 4:49 PM

    I would echo Mary' and Scott's comments about the regionalism of the statement.it underscores what we are now, more than who we envision becoming. It also seems to reflect our undergraduate population rather than our online / graduate programming. Connecting this vision concretely to our foundational principle would help.

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  5. A very good first draft. RE: "recognized for Christ-centered academic excellence, spiritual formation, student engagement, and leadership in thought and service.” These are all laudable and highly desirable attributes. They are, regrettably, increasingly vague as one progresses from the first to the last. I am an idealist but I wonder if we could really be recognized for all four of these? I would settle for the first two, but on the second is there agreement within relevant stakeholders regarding what "spiritual formation" means (or is it something that can mean whatever one wishes for it to mean)? I recognize that replacing "spiritual formation" with something else might be a formidable task. Our mission says that our education is to one based on biblical faith, so the keyword "biblical" should be in here somewhere.

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  6. A very good start. Some thoughts:
    The geographical limitation omits online programs which will more than likely increase in importance in higher education. And the list of characteristics for which we would like to be known: "Christ-centered academic excellence, spiritual formation, student engagement, and leadership in thought and service” -- could perhaps be all-inclusive by simply saying "Christ-centered academic excellence." The other three are a natural result of the first.

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  7. In general I like the statement as a first draft proposal. I agree with some of the statements already made while realizing that no statement can be perfect. My suggestion is that we need to broaden our understanding of the geography covered in the statement. If we plan to grow and move forward as a University we need to broaden our horizons and believe that we can reach a larger audience. Diminishing high school graduation and college enrollment rates will force us to do this if we do not do it proactively. Online programs are only one way of accomplishing this goal. We need to appeal to a broader geographic region to draw students to the University. Other CCCU and CCC schools are doing a much better job at reaching outside their geographic regions for students. We will become more diverse geographically and ethinically when we concentrate on this as part of our vision.

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  8. Ditto on the comments regarding the limitations of geography/region. I believe we would be closer to becoming diverse and inclusive if we were intentional about recruiting from every state in the US and certainly internationally. If I understand correctly,transitioning from college to university results in an institution becoming more attractive to our international pool.

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  9. Excellent beginning.....I appreciate the descriptive vision statement.
    I agree with many of the above comments on why we are limiting our geographic range. We should widen our reach as a University.

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  10. I've just finished reading "Different: Escaping the Competitive Herd" by Youngme Moon, a faculty member at the Harvard Business School. This book has got me wondering about how one escapes the competitive herd. So, does the proposed vision look a lot like what I read from other institutions? Will this vision take us where we want to be? Can we be imaginative and develop a truly exclusive vision that will also clearly express our Christ-centered mission? I've wondered whether anyone would dare to express a vision that would promise to prepare students for the world of work as servants of Jesus and for the purpose of advancing God's kingdom. Just wondering.

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  11. Three comments: First, this Vision Statement could be used by Ashland, Mt. Vernon Nazarene, Geneva, Messiah, Taylor, and many others here in Ohio and Midwest USA - nothing unique, nothing distinctive. "Malone is one of many!" Second, I would support other comments on the narrow, geographical focus. Third, probably because I graduated from Malone 49 years ago, I have no idea what "student engagement" nor "leadership in thought and service" mean. What does that look like in graduates? How do you identify a Malone graduate with these traits? What are the metrics by which to measure success? How are these taught, mentored, or inculcated?
    Thanks for the opportunity to be part of this dialogue.

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  12. I agree with the previous comments about not limiting our geographic vision. I personally consider Christ-centered academic excellence, spiritual formation, and student engagement all as distinct and important concepts. I like the term "spiritual formation". The statement about "leadership in thought and service" may need more definition. I also agree with an earlier comment that we need to distinguish what sets Malone apart from other Christian universities. Thank you.

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  13. I agree that our vision statement needs to be more distinctive and more grounded in our mission and foundational principles. I suggest the following:

    The vision of Malone University is to be an inviting community that promotes spiritual formation and seeks after Christ’s Kingdom through academic study, experiential learning, and humble service to others.

    I think that being an “inviting community” that attracts students is a more appropriate aim for followers of Jesus Christ than being “recognized” or a “university of choice.” For the same reason, I’d prefer to omit “leadership” and just stick with “service.”

    Let’s focus on what we will “be” and “become” rather than what we will be “known for” or “recognized.”

    Since our motto is “Christ’s Kingdom First” (which in the context of Matthew 6:33 includes “seeking”) and we admit non-Christian seekers, we should have “seek” in our vision statement.

    I’ve tried to solve the geography issue by leaving it unstated.

    Since we have banners that declare us to be “Canton’s University,” do we need to include a special commitment to the city of Canton in our vision statement. Doing so would add to the distinctiveness of the statement.

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  14. A good beginning. The above comments give much food for thought.
    Beth. McVan

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  15. I agree with some of the above comments in regards to the scope of the demographics and to the uniqueness of the institution. This is to be a vision for Malone's future so integration of faith and academics could be extended "globally". With this vision statement, is there another paragraph that will follow to elaborate on the vision...for instance, the vision that the Malone's may have declared etc.?

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  16. Ditto on all the above: too long, too generic, and don't restrict the geographical area.

    Ok so I am new here this year...take this for what a former outsider but now insider sees. This is the 6th university I have been at in Ohio. When first starting here I was blown away by the strong cross cultural component of the education goals here! I have lived here a long time and have never heard/seen this advertised or marketed. This distinguishes Malone and should be a point to capitalize on and leverage somehow in the vision statement...or at least somewhere. It is so relevant in the current/future global market. It offers a value added education and can distinguish the Malone education and graduate. The education here at Malone is definitely Christ Centered and also in a very culturally relevant way...

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  17. Christine HarringtonApril 4, 2013 at 10:14 AM

    A very good start. I would not state, our vision is to .... just state it. Our customers, both the students and future employers for our students, want students with as much experience as possible, problem solvers as well as thinkers. Thus a focus on the experience but using Christ's model of service to all who are a part of this institution and then our graduates service the world. For example: Malone University will be the Christian university of choice for experiential learning and application using Christ's model of service in this region.
    Thanks for the opportunity.

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  18. I agree with many of the previous comments, especially the geographic ones. Malone needs to move from the mindset of being regional to national in order to compete with other schools.
    I'm a parent of a high school junior that wants to pursue an engineering career. We are inundated weekly with marketing material from many universities. Much of the marketing focuses on the next step beyond higher education which is a career. I believe the vision statement needs to be amended "and leadership in thought, service and career."

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  19. It is interesting to read everyone's comments. I took a little time to craft a different version of the vision statement. Hopefully it will add value to the discussion and brain storming.

    Malone University’s Vision Statement:

    A powerful and diverse community committed to following the values of Christian life through renowned faculty and staff virtues, student integration and concentration of academic distinction and refinement, stewarding experiential activism, and fortifying relationships with alumni and friends of Malone University.

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  20. Taking off some others, but adding in the diversity that is needed:

    Malone University provides Christ-centered academic excellence, spiritual formation, student engagement, a culturally diverse student population and leadership in thought and service while also establishing a global presence of alumni.

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  21. Perhaps our vision should conceptualize “how our graduates will change the world” versus how Malone envisions itself in 5, 10, or 15 years.

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  22. Leaving out the geographic boundary does not mean we have to pursue online, but it gives us the flexibility to do so. The research I have read does say hybrid is the best, but it also says there is no discernable difference between online and ground regarding learning outcomes. Given the current environment, online may be an important part of sustainability. Let's not limit ourselves.

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  23. I really like Patty Little's proposal that we focus on SERVICE and I also like Becky Albertson's and Karen Slovak's notions of a GLOBAL/cross cultural presence. As our mission statement says, we aim to develop people "who are committed to serving the church, community, and world." I am very excited about how many of our alumni are already all over the world serving others, as well as serving locally in culturally sensitive ways. That's a vision built on who we already are but also inspiring for the future.

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  24. Thanks everyone for the thoughtful analysis and input. I like Matt's suggested alternative and in this spirit I propose an even briefer vision statement situated between our three-word motto and our forty-word mission statement. For me it's imaginable, desirable, flexible, and communicable. It's not as strong on focus and feasibility, though I agree with others that these functions are perhaps better served by our mission statement, foundational principles, and educational goals. So here goes....
    Malone University Vision Statement
    To be a vibrant Christ-centered university that pursues academic excellence and prepares students for a lifetime of service.

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  25. In analysis of the proposed vision statment, I was trying to approach it from the perspective of a prospective student and his or her parents.
    1) "mid-east region of the U.S."
    This seems too limiting, as has been stated previously. Prospective students and parents would like to think that their choice in university is the best for the student, regardless of where it is located. This could suggest that there are other universities in other regions that are comparable. And when comparing different regions, would the mid-east region of the U.S. be a first choice?
    2) "Christ-centered academic excellence"
    As a Christian prospective student and/or parent, this would catch my attention.
    3) "spiritual formation"
    This is a vague phrase about spiritual development that could be easily misconstrued by both Christians and non-Christians. As a prospective student and/or parent the uncertainty of what this phrase might mean could steer me away from Malone University or at the very least, raise a number of questions.
    4) "student engagement"
    I beleive this should be assumed.I do not believe this phrase would necessarily draw the attention of a prospective student or parent. This phrase does not set Malone University apart from others unless there is a unique way in which we are engaging students.
    5) "leadership in thought and service"
    Steve Moroney's example, "prepares students for a lifetime of service," could be much more engaging to prospective students and/or parents. I would also like to suggest the phrase "servant leadership."

    I know of a prospective student currently looking at Malone and at Anderson University. She has been called by God to missions. At this point, she is more drawn to Anderson University because nursing majors are required to go on a medical missions trip and they offer studies in French language.

    I know we cannot be all things to every prospective student, but I am left wondering what our vision of the future really is.

    I have been exploring the homepages of other Christian universities and one phrase that really stood out to me was "globally engaged." It seems to me that we are developing a global perspective at Malone University. We have a new Global and International Studies Major; which is unique. I think this should be considered as part of our vision statement.

    I also agree with others that the vision statement should be brief, engaging, and to the point.

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  26. The coversation is stimulating. I find Steve's suggestion to be thought-provoking and centered on what we do here.

    Others' ideas to leave geography out of it are insightful. I would not have associated Malone with the "mid-east" US geography. I also agree with Mary about not limiting ourselves.

    One thing I cherish about Malone is our focus on integrating our Lord and our faith into everything that we do. I believe that Steve's statement helps to convey that focus.

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  27. Here is my suggestion for a vision statement and I tried to include items from others comments.

    Malone is a Christ-centered university of choice past, present, and future and is distinguished by its academic excellence, spiritual formation, student engagement, and creation of leaders in thought and service.

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  28. I agree. Although most of our current undergraduate students are regional, that is not necessarily true of other programs. It also sets a limited view of the future. Malone HAS to move forward in an expanding region and in online education or we will be very behind other similar institutions.

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  29. When I think "imaginable" with regards to a statement like this, I want to imagine who are graduates will be in the world. What is their global citizenship and how is Malone aiming to impact the local, regional, and global communities that we are a part of through our students (both graduate and undergraduate). THAT is something worth imagining.

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  30. I'm in agreement with John Zietlow above - I don't think we can do all of the things listed there at once. The best part? "recognized for Christ-centered academic excellence" because I think this says much more than we give it credit for. The worst part? "in the mid-east region of the US " Where we are doesn't matter.

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  31. Beth Clark-ThomasApril 8, 2013 at 1:20 PM

    At the risk of being redundant, I agree that the geographic element limits us and doesn't recognize what we are trying to do in some current programs. I further agree that as generic it seems one can risk seeing ALL that we currently do as fitting this statement, when in reality some of what we do isn't really growing programs.

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  32. I like Steve's suggested vision statement, above. I also think Karen raised a really good point about the strong cross cultural component, which, in addition to our focus on faith, learning, and living, adds to our distinctiveness. I would also like to echo Matt's idea that it is more central to our mission to be an inviting community than to be a "university of choice".

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  33. I agree we cannot be all things to all people and prefer our focus on academic excellence and service (as a good fit with our mission). I have worked from Steve Moroney's suggestion:

    "A Christ-centered university focused on academic excellence and preparing students to follow their callings of a lifetime in service."

    A useful tagline could be "Called to Serve".

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  34. I think that Steve Moroney's vision statement is very good. It is direct and allows flexibility as to how we pursue academic excellence.

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  35. Deborah RobinsonApril 9, 2013 at 1:11 AM

    Good draft! I believe we need to add descriptive language to "student engagement" to convey the interactive, dialogue focused, problem solving and collaborative student learning experience that, in my opinion, is a positive distinctive at Malone. I agree that helping students develop a global perspective is key to our mission to more fully obey the biblical commands to love God and love our neighbors.

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  36. Insofar as I understand the purpose of a vision statement, it is primarily if not exclusively for internal use. It's not a thing you'd post on the website next to a mission statement (students aren't looking to attend a future university), but rather a sentence that is put up against every decision that is made, a kind of litmus, to help answer the question: does [whatever the proposed course of action] help us achieve this goal? So any consideration of how a vision statement plays in Toledo misdirects us; and while I'm all for concision, you also want your statement to touch upon enough facets of the university's work to be suggestive and helpful. You also want a statement with a built in measure; you should know how you're doing along the way toward achieving your vision. Since the only measure of our progress is whether more (and more of the right kind) of students choose to attend Malone, the statement should be focused in that direction. The original statement seems aimed at U.S. News and World Report (or whoever does the recognizing) while some of the other suggestions don't get us beyond our current insularity, where measurements of how we're doing are located closer to an internal sense of things (i.e. that's how it's always been, it's good enough, worked for me, what we do is intangible, etc.). The statement needs to be student-centered without using that catch-phrase.

    While I agree that we should 86 the regional demarcation, for some of these reasons above I like the use of the language "university of choice" incorporated in some way because it reminds us 1.) we are currently not a first choice for a sufficient number of top students; 2.) it keeps us focused on improving whatever those choice factors are (insofar as we can know them; and 3.) it keeps us aware of our peer and, more importantly, our aspirational peer institutions. If one thing we are trying to correct is an historic lack of institutional ambition, this little phrase does a lot of work to remind us to keep an eye on these horizons, and to be mindful of all this measure includes. A person's choice, after all, is a complex of the rational and affective, encompassing variables like reputation, values, marketing effectiveness, program excellence and program choice, inviting atmosphere, aesthetics, financial aid, etc. While identifying and giving language to areas of concerns and desired improvements while being as broad and specific as possible, a good vision statement should, it seems to me, also invite dreaming and innovation.

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  37. I agree that the words “choice” and “Mideast region of the US” are not helpful. I like Matt’s “inviting community” and Steve’s “vibrant.” But, what I really long for is that Malone would be a place to which people (potential students and employees) are irresistibly drawn – not just invited; and that once here they WANT to stay! I agree that a list of 4 things is too long; a threesome is tighter and easier to remember. I agree that “student engagement” is not sufficiently distinctive. (Since the appearance of NSSE in 2001, nearly all institutions of higher education, whether Christian or not, are seeking to achieve or claiming to have achieved high levels of student engagement.)
    While I’m in favor of the recent internal change from Campus Ministries to Office of Spiritual Formation, I do not think that a succinct vision statement provides the platform from which to clarify what Malone means by “spiritual formation” (i.e., intentionally focused on the transformation process of our students by encouraging Christian discipleship), thus leaving too much room for misinterpretation.
    Could Matthew 22:37 shape our vision? To be a community of persons who “Love the Lord [our] God with all [our hearts] and with all [our souls] and with all [our minds]” (i.e., committed to serving, seeking Christ’s Kingdom first, and pursuing academic excellence).

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  38. There's a lot of great feedback above. I agree the initial statement is a good draft. If we define a vision statement to be "a preferred picture of the future" then, the picture I get from the draft is a student sitting at a table, reading through material, and choosing Malone, for reasons x, y, & z. It doesn't paint a picture for me of the students that are produced through their Malone educational experience, but more so what we should work towards (a commitment by students for Malone's unique qualities). You could simply replace the word "vision" with "goal."

    The vision is the picture we paint for those invested or looking to invest in our institution. The mission statement is the coloring of that picture, and our institutional/educational goals are the steps or building blocks, to bring it into fruition. I at least think about it in this way.

    I believe simple and memorable is better for a vision statement. As a staff member, if I can repeat the vision easily to my entrusted group, then I can routinely put the picture of where we are going before us, and we're tasked with finding our place in that picture. The vision should inform my work with students and where we are headed.

    So, for those that left comments about academic excellence, life-long service, critical-thinking, etc. I like that. The wording should paint a clear picture of the students we are striving to develop through our many facets as an institution. A Malone student is becoming...? Academically excellent? A faithful servant? A steward of God's resources? A voice of reconciliation in a broken world? A servant leader in their profession. (Just ideas).

    One final thought. The statement draft focuses on four characteristics as to why Malone would be chosen: Christ-centered academic excellence, spiritual formation, student engagement, and leadership in thought and service. We have programs/offices/initiatives for academics, student engagement/life/success, and spiritual formation. However, their is no concrete, clear initiative to develop student leaders. Perhaps if we're make the statement concerning leadership, then we would need to consider developing such a program that actually focuses on this facet of the student experience. Otherwise, that language can be misleading.

    Great comments!

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  39. Given Malone University maintains it Motto "Christ's Kingdom First," the Vision Statement discussed very well above should directly support and expand upon Malone's Motto. When we get through this Strategic Planning process, Malone University's Motto, Vision, Mission, Core Values, Distinctives, Foundational Principles, and Educational Goals should complement each other and be a cohesive whole, without contradictions.

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  40. Sondra Easterly says:
    April 9, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    I really like William Racine’s first few points in his mission suggestion. “Creating professionals with Christ-centered academic excellence, intentional spiritual engagement”

    and then finishing with something like

    “and integrated with global perspectives demanding action.”

    As I think of it from a parents point of view we are asking that
    1. our students strive toward jobs (become professionals),
    2.academic excellence is the only way to make this investment worthwhile,
    3.and we want students to question, grow,and develop into Christ followers so, we have to offer opportunities that allow them to immerse themselves into “spiritual engagement”
    4. and what we are hopefully preparing all of our students to do is to change the world as Jesus asks all of us to do.

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  41. I would echo others in support of Steve's more concise statement. It is to the point, memorable, and achievable.

    I would also like to follow-up on something that Matt said about serving the Canton community, in particular. While we don't want to confine ourselves to a geographic region, we could clearly do a much better job of making ourselves indispensable to Canton, Ohio and surrounding regions. I'm not sure that this can be included in a concise vision statement, but I do hope that, during this planning process, much of the focus will be placed on serving Canton and NE Ohio, in particular, by being a "vibrant Christ-centered university that pursues academic excellence and prepares students for a lifetime of service."

    In my mind, our vision statement doesn't need to be terribly unique, since we are committed to the same gospel as other CCCU/CCC schools, and our missions all look to Christ's mission for clarity. However, we will be serving unique constituencies in a unique geographical region with unique challenges. Our Christ-centered pursuit of academic excellence should be regarded by various local constituencies as something that they need. Our first priority should be to make the people of Canton love us and realize how much we bring to NE Ohio because they see that we are intent on serving them as only a vibrant Christ-centered university can.

    Local school districts should want our students as future employees and should look to our professional development offerings for continuing education. Local business and industry should look to us for quality students, innovative ideas, direction in leading with integrity, etc. Local churches should be grateful that Malone produces so many young pastors and offers so many opportunities for continuing education. The same goes for the medical and public health community, etc, etc.

    Malone will only be important if we focus on serving particular communities with particular needs, and doing this is really what Christ calls us to do, anyway. I would hate to see us get lost in trying to market ourselves to potential "online" students. This should be a part of the mix, but it shouldn't be central to our identity and vision. I hope we will focus, primarily, on what Canton and NE Ohio really need from us as we engage in strategic planning.

    Also, we shouldn't think that a local focus will mean that only local students will want to come here. After Hurricane Katrina destroyed New Orleans, Tulane University initiated a very bold effort to focus on serving New Orleans in very particular ways and, from what I hear, their application pool increased dramatically. Good, thoughtful students want to serve, and they want to lead meaningful, interesting lives. We need to aspire to be a place where good students can come and learn to live Christ-centered lives of service, and this can only happen if our focus is particular rather than vague and theoretical. I've placed a link to an essay on Tulane's efforts, which have become central to their vision and to their "brand" as a university.

    http://www.aacu.org/diversitydemocracy/vol16no1/cowen.cfm

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  42. My suggested vision statement is probably too lengthy. Of all the suggestions I think Steve Moroney's is the most appropriate.

    "Malone University Vision Statement
    To be a vibrant Christ-centered university that pursues academic excellence and prepares students for a lifetime of service."

    Of course, terms like "vibrant" and "excellence" and "Christ-centered" need to be interpreted in the context of our heritage, mission, foundational principles, and educational goals. And, we need to continue to interpret and apply all of our documents over time. They must be living documents.

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  43. Matt's suggestion--that some terms beg further interpretation--resonates. I have found myself wondering. What do we mean when we refer to "Christ-centered academics", for example? It seems open to various interpretations.

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  44. Here is my attempt at a vision statement:

    Our vision is to maintain and grow a caring and inviting Christian community that produces leaders and professionals that are guided by Christian values and who influence our local community and the world for Christ’s kingdom.

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  45. Nothing new here, but I would like to see us keep the original vision statement's descriptors "of choice" and "recognized" to help us stay others-focused and truly/demonstrably excellent in our spiritual and educational initiatives.

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  46. I like Steve Moroney's statement and the discussion focused around it. I don't percieve Malone to be particularly 'culturally diverse.' I hope we are inviting, but I don't think minorities and international students think we are recruiting them.

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