Universe, meet Calvin University
Calvin College is becoming Calvin University on July 10, 2019, the birthday of our namesake, 16th-century theologian John Calvin.
A new vision for Calvin builds on leaps of progress the college has made in recent years. 2019 will mark the final year of a five-year strategic plan through which we have built a strong foundation and prepared the college to pursue a larger vision for 2020–2030.
Over the past year our campus community has gathered to talk about our challenges and opportunities, in light of our strengths and our identity as an institution. Ultimately, we asked, “What will Calvin look like in 2030?”
As a result of community conversations, we created the following vision:
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.
Why now, and why university?
Four key principles have moved Calvin toward adopting a university name and structure.
1. Cultivating Research & Scholarship
Calvin currently has three graduate programs as well as 11 centers and institutes. These are hallmarks of high-caliber universities worldwide and demonstrate our commitment to research and scholarship. As Calvin continues to expand in these areas, changing our name to Calvin University better reflects who we are.
2. Reaching Across Fields, Across Sectors
In the United States, the term “college” generally refers to a school focused on undergraduate studies in the liberal arts. While Calvin provides a liberal arts core to all students, about half of our graduates earn degrees in professional fields including engineering, nursing, and business. This is another instance in which becoming a university helps Calvin live into who we already are.
3. Launching Learners of All Credentials
Calvin’s expanded vision includes reaching new audiences. We will continue to do this through a variety of degree programs and potentially through certificates and other non-degree programs. Moving to a university model is a fitting way to support learning at all levels.
4. Fostering a Common Vocabulary
Internationally, the term “college” generally refers to a vocational school or two-year program. Changing our name will more accurately describe Calvin to prospective students and faculty research partners on a global scale.
Three ways we’ll grow
Calvin’s 2030 vision is full of innovation and possibilities. And while the details of this vision, and the path to achieve it, will be the job of the next strategic plan, we are excited about the vision’s three areas of focus:
Calvin will become a university. In 2019, we will be known as Calvin University. That’s the initial step. But this transition will be about much more than a name change. Discussions are already underway about what structural and governance changes will help us expand what we do well and experiment with new directions.
In many ways the college already operates like a university, in organization and caliber. Renaming our institution as a university will enhance our reputation and more accurately reflect the depth and variety of our educational work to external audiences.
Calvin University aims to grow as a trusted partner. We desire to be a sought-after source for knowledge and resources for curious learners all over the globe. We want to be able to come alongside groups of all different Christian traditions, all over the world and ask how we can best partner with them to promote flourishing in the world.
Historically, the Calvin community has had a deep expertise in a variety of areas that can be matched with needs in our city, in our nation, and places across the globe. In the coming years we will redouble our efforts to seek mutually beneficial relationships with communities and institutions to promote redemption, justice, and the truth of Christ.
We want to be able to come alongside groups from all different Christian traditions, in all cultural and global contexts, and ask how we can best partner with them to promote flourishing in the world.
Calvin University aims to become the source for Reformed Christian thinking in the world. While it may be countercultural, we believe with all our heart that the world needs a Reformed Christian transformational vision.
Calvin has long aspired to honor God’s sovereignty over all things and to work in and under the broad, covenantal reach of Scripture. To that end, we are expanding on our commitment to teach from a Reformed Christian perspective to become a resource for Reformed Christian thought leadership.
True to our tradition
Calvin isn’t the same as it was five years ago. And certainly isn’t the same as it was 25, 50, or 100 years ago. Yet the core of who we are—the core of our mission—has and will remain consistent. In the midst of the promising changes underway, we also remain fully committed to the lasting hallmarks of a Calvin education.
Transforming minds in the liberal arts
Since 1876, we’ve been teaching students how to think. Students show up every semester to learn from courses in the humanities, arts, and sciences ... and they are amazed. Intrigued. Empowered. Many discover new, unexpected passions through the breadth and depth of subjects they explore. They graduate ready for their vocation and equipped to be Christ’s agents of renewal in the world.
Calvin’s faculty and staff are leading and innovating. We launch new graduate degree programs. We start centers and institutes for focused scholarship. We explore the unknown. We stand up for what’s right, good, and true. And we’ll keep doing that from now until 2030, and beyond.
Uncovering renewal in the world
“My heart I offer to you Lord” isn’t just a mental exercise—it’s a call to action. Our Christ-centered faith propels us to respond to the world’s brokenness with courage and conviction. And our knowledge equips us to listen and provide solutions.
So we go. We go to the contaminated watersheds, to the state prisons, to the rural hospitals in Nepal. This resolve is an innate part of who we’ve been and who we are becoming.
Thinking, learning, being Reformed
Creation. Fall. Redemption. These pieces illustrate the arc of God’s story for his people. And this story animates our mission. Every professor teaches from a distinctively Reformed perspective. Every student—yesterday, today, and tomorrow—graduates Calvin with an understanding of God’s sovereignty over all things.