A year ago, in this column, I talked about Vision 2030 and how Calvin’s student population has become much more diverse and global. A result of that change means that the alumni association must continually work to reach out across the United States and internationally to help keep alumni connected. Last year when we were holding Vision 2030 listening sessions across the United States, one of the things we heard is that alumni outside of west Michigan would like the opportunity to continue learning from Calvin professors remotely.
We heard your feedback and are excited that CALL (Calvin Academy for Lifelong Learning) will pilot our first distance-learning class for alumni this spring. Beloved former Calvin professor Nicholas Wolterstorff is teaching a class on justice on campus that will be broadcast around the globe. As of this writing, we have 108 students registered, with about 40 outside west Michigan, including Taiwan, the Virgin Islands, and British Columbia.
Vision 2030 specifically called out lifelong learning: “By 2030, Calvin will become a Christian liberal arts university with an expanded global influence. We envision Calvin University as a trusted partner for learning across religious and cultural differences and throughout the academy, the church, and the world. Calvin University will be animated by a Reformed Christian faith that seeks understanding and promotes the welfare of the city and the healing of the world. We welcome all who are compelled by God’s work of renewal to join us in the formative pursuits of lifelong learning, teaching, scholarship, worship, and service.”
This vision has caused us to rethink what it means to be a Calvin student. While our main focus is still the 18- to 22-year-old residential student, it is expanding to include those seeking graduate degrees and lifelong learners. By offering these types of lifelong learning classes remotely, we are helping to fulfill our vision while allowing our alumni around the world to continue learning from the best and the brightest in the Reformed academy.
Calvin wants to be part of your lifelong pursuit of education and would love to hear from you about what you would like to see regarding distance-learning opportunities. We are starting with classes for personal edification, but in the future, we see the potential to offer continuing education credits and badges. Calvin already has strong programs in education, engineering, nursing, and accounting. Why not use those strengths to help alumni in their professional continuing education as well? Let us know what you would like to see.