OTTERBURNE, MB – There’s no denying that COVID-19 has brought some disappointments for Providence this past year such as layoffs, cutbacks to programs, no Spring graduation ceremony for the Class of 2020 and the cancellation of our summer sports camps. All our classes moved to remote learning and then came the official MCAC announcement to cancel varsity sports.
We may feel relieved to say goodbye to 2020, but we need to remember, that in the midst of it all, there were also a number of notable triumphs that we can celebrate together as we move into this New Year. We were not alone in 2020. The post-secondary community worldwide faced the same struggles, setbacks and challenges that we faced at Providence.
Our faculty resourcefully and valiantly rose to the challenge of developing a blend of synchronous and asynchronous learning and then moving classes entirely online when faced with code red COVID-19 restrictions. This was no small feat! We’re proud of our students who were both flexible and resilient in adapting to new class formats and scenarios.
For our Prov community, we’ve compiled a list of things to remember in 2020.
In 2020, we witnessed a variety of landmark achievements from the opening of our new residence (Muriel Taylor Hall) in January to the installation of fiber optics across campus; from announcing our next president to the completion of our Impact 2020 campaign in December.
LIVING AND LEARNING – Our Living and Learning Strategy was published at the beginning of the year and cumulated with a Faculty in Residence position in September. Our own Registrar and Associate Professor of Communications and Media, Dr. Nicholas Greco, and his family moved into Muriel Taylor Hall and now live on-campus with 115 university residence students. Dr. Greco, whose office is meters away from his campus apartment, and his wife Antonella who homeschools daughter Serafina says their family life ‘organically blends with campus life,’ and it’s a perfect for living and learning together as a Providence community.
GRAND OPENING OF MURIEL TAYLOR HALL – Students moved into the three-storey, 22,500 sq. ft. residence mid-January 2020 and have been since enjoying modern dormitory rooms plus a hub on the first floor to hang out around a fireplace, cook/eat together in a contemporary kitchen, watch movies on flat screens and play some ping pong.
Over the summer, all final touches to the exterior were made including walkways, planting of trees and landscaping. Did you know that 10 birch, linden and spruce trees were generously donated to Providence?
You can watch a tour of Muriel Taylor Hall led by Dr. Greco HERE.
FACULTY ACHIEVEMENTS – Our professors do much more than teach courses, mentor students and engage in campus activities. They also invest their energies into research, community service and the local church. Dr. Dennis Hiebert, Sociology Professor, is a wonderful example as this year he’s published with Wipf & Stock his second book, Rationality, Humility, and Spirituality in Christian Life, calling it ‘the culmination of a four-year interdisciplinary process that may stand as the definitive statement of his life.’ He also gives his time and expertise as senior editor of the international academic Journal of Sociology and Christianity and serves as the adult education coordinator at Grace Mennonite Church…just to name a few things.
Also in 2020, Dr. Lissa Wray Beal, Professor of Old Testament, was recognized as ‘one of the top 30 Old Testament scholars to follow’ by Dr. Nijay Gupta, and The Story of God Bible Commentary: Joshua is among her most recent publications.
STEADY FALL ENROLLMENT NUMBERS – Although we didn’t have the same number of international students in Fall 2020, an increase in domestic students kept our school population steady. We welcomed 442 students in both the University College and Seminary which was consistent with last year’s (2019) student numbers. Read more HERE.
REES PILOT PROJECT – You may not have known that Providence is among 11 educational institutes in Manitoba that joined the REES (Respect, Educate, Empower Survivors) initiative launched by Ending Violence Across Manitoba Inc (EVA) in Fall 2020. It provides students with an online platform that offers them anonymity in reporting sexual violence on-campus.
NEXT PRESIDENT – In early December 2020, we announced Dr. Kenton C. Anderson as Providence’s next president who comes to us from Northwest Baptist Seminary in British Columbia where he’s been in the roles of president and professor of homiletics for the last 25 years. Read more HERE.
Some Notable Events
MISSIO DEI – Student Development organized a number of activities and events over two days in February 2020 including a special chapel with Greg Wiens who graduated from Prov in 2005 with a BA in Biblical & Theological Studies. He now serves with Global Vision 2020. He shared inspirational stories with students about his adventures as he has followed God’s call to distribute eyeglasses and bring the gospel message to developing nations.
PUBLIC LECTURES – Just before the startup of the COVID-19 pandemic in Manitoba, nine of our faculty delivered lectures at the Jake Epp Public Library (Steinbach) and McNally Robinson (Winnipeg). Topics included politics, theology, morality, history, psychiatry, worship and social construction.