Theme One

Living and Learning with Students: A Student-Centered, Christ-Focused Learning Environment

The Southern community identified the following strategic imperatives related to this theme:

  • We desire a small college focus within the larger university. We want our students to feel connected and experience a sense of belonging.
  • We want every student to have a meaningful relationship with advisors and professors.
  • We will encourage every student to succeed.
  • We want every student to experience spiritual growth through spiritual mentoring.
  • We want students to grow their faith and beliefs through their coursework and learning.
  • We will encourage the creation of small groups for building relationships student-to-student and student-to-faculty.
  • We will create social spaces for learning together, playing together, dining together, and worshiping together

Student Success

Goal 1: Increase the graduation rate and student success.

Student Success/Retention Committee: Volker Henning, chair

Key objectives:

  • Create a stronger culture and environment for student success
  • Strengthen advising for first-year students
  • Increase engagement and sense of belonging for new students
  • Increase academic support
  • Focus on career services and career advising


Faith and Learning

Goal 2: Strengthen the integration of faith and learning in each academic discipline. Students will be encouraged to build their lives on biblical beliefs and values and fulfill their roles in ministry in their life work. 

Faith and Learning Committee: Bob Young, chair

Key objectives:

  • Incorporate discovery of a student’s calling into first-year curriculum and career advising

  • Support faculty’s integration of faith in the classroom and in the curriculum
  • Support student learning regarding practical application of faith in their chosen field

Spiritual Life

Goal 3: Be intentional in providing an environment where each student has inviting opportunities to grow in his or her relationship with the Lord.

Spiritual Life Committee: Brennon Kirstein, chair

Key objectives:

  • Disciple small groups of students, led by student leaders

  • Develop a mentoring/coaching model of small group leadership
  • Grow student spiritual development
  • Teach students value of small groups; leadership model for churches after they graduate
  • 300 Life Groups by 2020