JACKSON — Union University trustees in their Dec. 2 meeting approved a strategic plan that will guide the university’s operational goals and planning over the next five years.
The strategic plan is entitled “Protinus,” which is a Latin word that means “to move immediately, forward, continuously, uninterruptedly, as from the very first,” according to Union University President Samuel W. “Dub” Oliver.
“The principle of strategic plans is important for institutions,” Oliver said. “‘Protinus’ builds off the strength of our commitments from the beginning of Union’s history, including our most fundamental commitment, ‘Religio et eruditio’ — faith and learning.”
“Protinus” includes four major themes — advancing Christ-centered higher education, pursuing faithful innovation throughout and across campuses, continuing to solidify and develop Union’s financial position and enhancing Union’s culture of shared life and commitment to one another’s flourishing.
Each theme includes several goals for the university to accomplish by 2027. For example, the theme of advancing Christ-centered higher education includes such goals as focusing each department and athletic team on intentional student discipleship and providing leadership to kindred Christ-centered institutions of higher education.
Other goals in the plan include developing new interdisciplinary programs and initiatives, consolidating a graduate and non-traditional admissions office, responsibly managing debt, exploring new and emerging markets for academic programs, focusing on student and employee wellbeing and providing time off for employees participating in missions endeavors, among others.
Another goal in the plan is the completion of a comprehensive fundraising campaign. Union launched “Union 200: Tradition. Truth. Transformation.” in September with an $80 million goal. To date, $35.8 million has been given and pledged toward that goal.
Union’s most recent strategic plan, “United in Spirit. Grounded in Truth,” was adopted in 2015 and originally scheduled for completion in 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic delayed its completion. The planning process for “Protinus” began in November 2021, and over the past year all university departments and programs have been involved in meetings and strategy discussions to help develop it.
“‘Protinus’ builds off Union’s previous strategic plans and provides us with an opportunity to make sure we are working collectively to advance the institution and more fully realize God’s mission for us,” Oliver said.
Robyn Hari, chair of Union’s board of trustees and a member of Clearview Baptist Church, Franklin, said the trustees were impressed with the plan’s content and breadth.
“We are hopeful that God will use ‘Protinus’ to guide and bless Union’s work over the next five years,” she said. “As we’re celebrating our bicentennial this year, we certainly want to remember God’s faithfulness in the past, but we also want to look forward expectantly to what he will do in the future. ‘Protinus’ is one important way to do that.”
In other matters, trustees received a clean audit report from CapinCrouse and approved a 4.23 percent increase in tuition for next year.
“Like everyone in today’s economy, we’re dealing with the rising costs of goods and services,” Oliver said. “We remain committed to keeping tuition as affordable as we can, even in challenging economic circumstances.” B&R