THEY ARE REMARKABLE PEOPLE!
I felt it from the moment I sat down for dinner. It was the beginning of the weekend for the London College of Bible and Mission alumni celebration. The conversations were lively and animated. After graduation, many had gone into service overseas as nurses, doctors, and teachers. Some moved to other academic pursuits that led them to varied occupations. Some made deep imprints of influence in what they did and others simply lived faithfully to whatever God had called them.
The opportunity to be with them was deeply moving. These LCBM alumni often feel forgotten in the narrative of history. It is too bad. They should not be forgotten because their DNA is intricately woven into our life. The impetus from this small school in London foreshadowed many of our recent decisions.
Consider our decision to make the transition to University College status. Provincial legislation enabled us to focus on undergraduate post-secondary education. Don’t dare think that we thought about it first! In 1963, LCBM was talking about developing a Christian liberal arts university. They had even begun conversations with Waterloo Lutheran University (now Wilfrid Laurier University) toward amalgamation. Economic circumstances never allowed this concept to gain traction, but their instincts and commitment to thoughtful scholarship through a university education are being lived out today at Tyndale University College.
We believe that this is a critical time to have a significant and influential Christian university in the largest city of Canada. Our move to the Bayview campus is just another in a long line of moves through our history to actualize the next season of Tyndale’s development. We know God is in this with us, and frankly, our faith and trust are being stretched as we plan and proceed in this transition.
We are focused on developing a unique undergraduate environment that differentiates us from others, not just because we are Christian, but because of the quality of educational and formational experience we provide. Students will be a part of a learning experience in which they are not alone. Through a student-centred monitoring system, we will be able to pinpoint students who are struggling educationally, and we strive to walk alongside those struggling in other areas of their lives. Mentoring and coaching from our Academic Success Centre will emphasize quality education and early intervention.
We want the seminary to continue to lead the way on accessible, thoughtful, and formational theological education for “the whole people of God.” It is the largest seminary in Canada, but we want to extend its reach through delivery models that allow access through online, virtual classrooms, summer school, and many other possibilities.
The Tyndale Open Learning Centre is proving its ability to address creatively the need for non-credit, informal, and formal educational initiatives. As we move forward, we believe that we can position Tyndale University College & Seminary as a first-choice institution for the Christian Community. I will write about the strategic directions of the Seminary and Open Learning Centre in future issues, but let me tell you about the University College.
What is becoming the Tyndale University College difference? You see it and hear about it from our students. Manageable class sizes mean that students do not get lost. Along with our undergraduate educational focus, professors take an interest in students and provide more opportunities for hands-on research. Our professors give us reason to be proud. It is becoming a significant collegium of academic and scholarly pursuit (just read their updates on pages 27–30).
As we transition to a view of learning that is not just a classroom experience, but a varied introduction to transforming minds through internships, discussion groups and service learning opportunities, the result will be a student experience second to none.
Students who transfer into Tyndale from other universities (30% of undergraduate students are transfers) talk about our programs being as good as and often better than the universities they came from and comment about the degree of educational rigour we require.
Graduates see the value of the analytical tools they developed. Almost all students tell us how they appreciate being prepared with proficiency in their area of study by being helped to think and act as a person of faith. Combine that with our new emphasis on Academic Success and Transformational Student Experience—and you have a university worth attending!
There is a Tyndale difference—you can see it in students whose lives and minds were changed by coming to Tyndale. Thank you for your support and encouragement as we enter into a journey that we believe is God’s calling. It is in our DNA to make changes that will meet the needs of the times we live in and we couldn’t do it without you.