Redeemer University President Steps Down

The board of governors of Redeemer University College in Ancaster, Ont., announced last week that president Hubert Krygsman is stepping down. His departure is one more in a series of faculty changes at this Christian liberal arts university the past two years. Krygsman, who came to Redeemer University College in 2010, will depart in October.

Karl J. Veldkamp, chair of Redeemer’s board, reported that this decision was made by mutual agreement as both Krygsman and the university felt like it was a good time for a re-set of leadership.

“Krygsman was very affable leader who challenged himself during his tenure,” said Veldkamp, speaking about the outgoing president’s contributions to the university. Krygsman initiated the Best Christian Workplaces practices at Redeemer. He helped to develop Redeemer 2020, the university’s ongoing strategic plan, and reworked the core curriculum to intentionally connect curriculum with faith and calling.

Veldkamp stated that looking at the totality of Redeemer’s situation, fresh leadership fit with the university’s plan for the future. Redeemer University College faces enrolment and operational budget challenges. While Redeemer’s overall financial situation has improved with significant debt reduction from special monetary gifts, the decline in enrolment, from over 900 students in 2012 to around 700 students in 2014, created significant financial strain. In 2014, nine staff and faculty were released to address the immediate shortfall of revenue and Redeemer continues to address the operating budget challenges.

“We feel confident that we can meet these financial challenges and we have an array of new initiatives to excite new students,” explained David Zietsma, vice president for marketing and enrolment at Redeemer. “Enrollment is stabilizing and we have a real sense of optimism for the future.”

Included in these new initiatives are the new media and communication studies program, the revitalized core curriculum, and the launch of experiential learning and career development resources. The school has also developed new streams in its ministry programs, such as music and drama, to support changing church ministry needs.

“These changes ensure that Redeemer is keeping pace with surrounding colleges and universities that offer bachelor degrees but with a unique Christian perspective,” said Zietsma.

 “It has been a privilege to serve Redeemer’s board and community,” said Krygsman. “I remain passionate and confident about Redeemer’s mission and vision for Christian university learning from a Reformed perspective, but I believe that it is time for new leadership to take the next steps to meet our challenges and advance Redeemer’s mission.”

About the Author

Krista Dam-Vandekuyt is a freelance news correspondent for The Banner. She lives in Jerseyville, Ontario.

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The departure of Hubert Krygsman is a sad one for the Reformed community, especially in Ontario. We wish him well as he pursues new career opportunities.

But his departure, combined with the departure of several faculty and staff, provide a providential opportunity to re-imagine Redeemer's role within the North American Christian community.

We are blessed with a large number of liberal arts colleges and universities across North America, each of them recognized specialists in their field.

As I travel across Canada, meeting with groups of Christian business and professional leaders, they regularly bemoan the fact that we don't have a Christian trade school (for wont of a better word).  They are looking for skilled labour who approach their craft from a Christian perspective. They want Christians who are plumbers, electricians, IT professionals who approach their craft as children of Christ.  They want employees who know how to connect their faith to their work.

Perhaps there isn't much prestige in creating a Christian college with a skilled trades focus ... but there is a huge need.

The chap who is currently renovating one of our bathrooms is incredibly skilled at tile work. But throughout high school and college he saw himself as an overseas missionary. He said he truly felt called to do his current work. "I get to spend a week in someone's home where we can talk about faith and God and eternity." he said.  But he said that he missed a Christian perspective when taking courses to learn his craft.

Redeemer has an opportunity to re-imagine education and to think outside the proverbial box. All they need to do is to look at the significant needs in today's labor market.

Please also see: http://thebanner.org/news/2016/08/dordt-to-launch-skills-based-program

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