Monday, October 21, 2019
The State of the Institution Address was presented at the annual Providence Corporation Meeting on Friday, October 18th, 2019 to Providence employees, Board Members, and Providence Corporation members in attendance.
Tonight, as we begin the 2019 annual meeting of the corporation of Providence University College and Theological Seminary, we acknowledge that Providence rests on lands occupied over many centuries by the Cree and Anishinabe peoples joined later by the Metis. Their descendants are found in the Red River Metis and, closest to us, the Roseau River Anishinabe First Nation community. It is within their territory that our activity as a Christian educational institution takes place under Treaty One signed in 1871. We honour them as current hosts and original trustees of this part of God’s creation. May we live well in the land together!
As part of this meeting, three of my Cabinet colleagues are going to report on developments of the past year. Heath Holden, Vice President Administration, Cameron McKenzie, Vice President Academics, and Cody Quiring, Vice President External.
I will use my time to present our strategic plans to give you a sense of where Providence is going.
Providence is a Christian academic community in the evangelical tradition that teaches people to grow in knowledge and character for leadership and service in churches and communities around the world. This is our mission. This is who we are.
We name five values that guide us in making our plans for the future. First, Jesus Christ is Lord of all. The rest of our values are under his sovereignty. Second, we value the Community that we call Providence. Third, we value Academic Excellence which is tied to our mission under the lordship of Christ. Fourth, to attain academic excellence we value Exploration, a curiosity about what God has created. Fifth, to attain academic excellence in community we value Diversity of Thought, a willingness to dialogue on what we have explored even when we disagree.
We have called our strategic plan, “A Living and Learning Community.” We believe that the best way for students to learn is in the context of real life in community. We observed again last week that this is true. We had 65 seminary students here for one week living intensely in community. They ate together, studied together, interacted together. I saw lots of students relaxing together all the while learning together. We also find this is true at the undergraduate level. Every educational study we have read says that learning is most effective when it takes place in community settings. We are breaking down the barriers between life and the classroom.
To be a living and learning community in our Christian context we have determined three goals.
To accomplish these goals we have determined 14 strategies which we will initiate over the next couple of years.
It is pretty hard to miss the fact that we are building something new just south of here. Last year at this time we put the building on hold. We realized we needed more time for very careful planning. Our current plan is to have students move into this new building in January. Women will occupy the rooms on the second and third floor. This building is a symbol of our strategic plans. It is for students to live and learn together in community; but it is more than a symbol, it is a means to the end of becoming a living and learning community. Every space is intentionally designed to accomplish our goals.
This building will serve students by developing Christ-centred relationships under the care of our fantastic student development leaders. It will also provide an environment for the positive mental health of our students. There are lots of study spaces and community spaces for individuals and groups. The large windows will provide lots of natural light in rooms and in the lounges. Good mental health needs community, and it needs connections with nature. That is how God has created us. So we are building in keeping with how God created us.
Why do we do all of this?
Because we believe that our calling is to provide the Lord Jesus Christ with Christian servants of knowledge and character to be servant leaders in the church and in the world.