By Kelsi Peace, Features Editor
Results from the 21st Century Vision Zoomerang survey confirmed that faculty and staff support the Vision and appreciate its bold ambition.
The 12-question survey was e-mailed to ACU faculty and staff three times – once before spring break, once after spring break and once in April – and with 133 people responding, the survey had about a 17 percent response rate.
More than 90 percent of those who took the survey answered six of the questions with a response of “strongly agree” or “somewhat agree.” According to the survey results, all faculty and staff “strongly agreed” or “somewhat agreed” that the 21st Century Vision reinforces ACU’s commitment to academic excellence.
More than 90 percent of faculty and staff who responded also agreed that the 21st Century Vision reinforces the university’s commitment to a global focus and Christ-centered education, which will benefit students and is “bold and exciting.”
Dr. Michelle Morris, vice president for university relations, said the Board of Trustees supported the Vision’s general direction, but the President’s Cabinet wanted to ask the campus one more time what they thought. Morris said while the positive response wasn’t a surprise, it provided the confirmation needed to move forward.
“I think we were encouraged that people saw these things,” Morris said. “It was affirming; it was exciting also to see that more than 90 percent felt it was bold and exciting because a vision should be bold.”
The survey also asked for comments, and respondents raised several issues in their 51 responses. Comments praised the emphasis on challenging academics, cautioned the university about an elitist institution, raised concern over financial means and emphasized the importance of maintaining diversity.
As far as elitism is concerned, Morris said, that is not the goal of the vision.
“Some universities only want students because of pure academics,” Morris said. “We’re a different university. It’s not about elitism, it’s about attracting students who are talented in many ways.”
Morris also said that unlike some universities, ACU encourages students to become involved on campus in a variety of ways.
Another concern raised in the survey, and often voiced in regards to Christian higher education, was the tension that exists between maintaining a Christian mission while having higher academic standards. However, Morris said, a Christian institution should actually have higher standards.
“As Christians, we should expect more of ourselves and not less,” Morris said.
Now that the Vision is in place, Morris said, the next step is to make a concrete plan. And much like the Centennial Vision that launched in 1998, some aspects of the vision may seem too bold or daunting, Morris said.
But just as even the boldest financial goals for the Centennial were reached mere days before the deadline, Morris said she is confident that 10 years from now, the university will have achieved this latest vision.
“I think every time we launch a new vision, we pray over it, we study the environment,” Morris said. “And I think it’s bold, but it’s doable with God.”