“It is important for WAU to be at the table and actively participate in such discussions,” Spence noted. “One primary reason is that our student’s depend on federal and state financial aid funds. Many of our students cannot afford private higher education and these federal funds play a major role in funding their preparation for a lifelong career. Our university is sensitive to these issues and that is the reason for WAU’s Vision 2020.”
Vision 2020 is a continuation of the strategic planning process to create a culture of excellence at Washington Adventist University. Based on various assessments conducted over the past four years such as graduate surveys, employee satisfaction surveys, learning outcomes and the recent Middle States self-study, Spence said WAU now has the data that will “guide us to develop action plans that will transform us into a thriving university that is continuously fulfilling the vision of producing graduates that demonstrate competence and moral leadership to their communities.”
He said further that action plans will be within the context of the six institutional pillars of excellence: quality, people, finance, growth service, and community.
The invitation to the White House discussions was extended to presidents across the United States with similar institutional traits as WAU such as high Pell grant recipients and student enrollment under 5,000. The discussion was a part of President Barack Obama’s emphasis on education as a way to build a strong and sustainable economy.
“We…accepted President Obama’s call that all Americans commit to at least one year of higher education or career training, and we also accepted the challenge to do what is necessary for America to once again have the highest share of college graduates in the world by 2020,” Spence said.
About Washington Adventist University
Washington Adventist University is a private liberal arts institution located in scenic Takoma Park, Md. Founded in 1904, it is owned by the Seventh Day Adventist Church and offers a Christian education to nearly 1,500 students of all faiths, through eight graduate and 32 undergraduate programs. Its vision is to produce graduates who bring competence and moral leadership to their communities. The 2011 edition of U.S. News & World Report ranked the University among the best regional colleges in the northern region and as one of the most diverse institutions of higher learning in the US.