I am astonished at the way education has changed. When I arrived at Roberts in the summer of 1996, the College lagged behind many of our peers, with our fledgling computer technology on campus. My first task as provost was to hire a consultant to help us move to a stable Internet connection and a reliable email system. Today, we have at our fingertips a world of information and the capacity to search for answers on our smartphones and laptops. What used to take hours or even months of research is now available in seconds. The way educators work, study, teach and communicate with each other has completely changed.
I have been proud — first as provost, then as president — to lead teams of bright people who take our mission seriously, through such incredible alterations. It is indeed a high calling to be motivated by a higher purpose. As I reflect on the nearly 18 years we’ve shared, I am impressed by our talented faculty members, who, through adaption and creativity, have worked together to start more than 70 new programs during that time. Our courses are technologically rich and thoughtfully designed to meet the needs of students preparing to enter the fluctuating work environment of today’s digital world. New initiatives and partnerships within the Rochester community have provided opportunities for our students to benefit from internship and learning experiences, as well as demonstrate “the Roberts’ difference” out in the workforce, service sectors and business world.
It has been an honor to serve alongside administrators who have insisted that the spiritual needs of our students, faculty and staff members don’t get short-changed in the shifting educational environment. Our goal of transforming lives has driven all of us to a persistent determination that our expanded academic offerings include all three important aspects of our mission: scholarship, spiritual formation and service. Some of our major transitions — to NCAA Division II, to two schools instead of 12 divisions, and to online or distance classroom delivery models — have required skilled and focused administration, and I am grateful to my colleagues for these accomplishments without compromising our foundational beliefs and traditions.
Flexibility in programs and facilities has been and will continue to be crucial to the success of Roberts Wesleyan College and Northeastern Seminary. Whether it is our completely reengineered historic buildings and state-of-theart new structures, or our increasingly popular online offerings and other curricular innovations meeting the needs of traditional and nontraditional students, the College and Seminary will strive to innovate and reinvent education. We will also strive to remain deeply rooted in the faith that defines our identity.