Redeemer Announces Academic Re-Structuring

It has been a year of change at Redeemer with new program options, improving enrollment, and a revitalized Core curriculum. But while new program areas open, others will be cut. Following an extensive review of their programs, Redeemer University College in Ancaster, Ontario announced on March 9, 2017 that several of their current programs will no longer be offered.

This restructuring is part of Redeemer's 2020 Strategic Plan, adopted in 2014 to enhance the school's mission and vision in areas of student experience, strategic partnerships, and financial stewardship.  Redeemer has been dedicated in their work of reducing long-term debt and introducing new, relevant initiatives to meet the needs of today's student.

Redeemer offers undergraduate degrees under the disciplines of Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, and Bachelor of Education degrees. Examining programs with lower student enrollment, the restructuring process was done in collaboration with the Academic Senate and the Board. Programs in Art and Design, Political Science, and honors-level Religion will no longer be offered, but Redeemer will ensure that current students in the affected programs can maintain pathways to obtain their respective degrees. The changes also affect faculty as the loss of four positions will be part of the cutbacks.

"These were difficult choices. It was painful not to continue with these programs, but we have a financial responsibility to build for the future." said Interim President Fred Verwoerd, also Vice President, Administration and Finance at Redeemer. "These decisions were made with conviction about the program areas in which we are investing and growing, but with a heavy heart for those connected to restructured programs."

While a decline in enrollment beginning in 2012 and the heavy burden of long-term debt signalled the need for a new strategic plan, Redeemer tackled these issues and is reaching a turning point. Along with celebrating the launch of new initiatives, the 2016-17 school year saw a 2.5% climb in enrollment, marking the first year-over-year increase in four years.

"Students are voting with their feet," said Verwoerd. "Students today want to be hands and feet of Jesus.  They want a practical education with a theological foundation." With the revamped Core curriculum, the Centre for Experiential Learning, and several new programs in Media and Communications, International Studies and Politics, and Ministry and the Arts, Redeemer aims to equip students with a relevant, Christ-centered liberal arts and sciences education.

"As we evaluate, it is the academic vision that drives us and we need to be sustainable regardless of size," said Verwoerd. "To prepare students for life as a Christian, to provide deep Christian scholarship: That is at the heart of the vision for Redeemer."

About the Author

Krista Dam-Vandekuyt is the Banner’s regional news correspondent for classis Hamilton.