During this academic year, Redeemer University College in Ancaster, Ont., associated with the Christian Reformed Church, has begun or announced several new initiatives. Pastors and professors met to exchange ideas at university-sponsored talks in October and February; five Christian high schools will partner with Redeemer to launch Act Five—an eight-month live-work program for high school graduates; and an $11 million gift made it possible for the school to announce a tuition drop for the next five years.
Expressing gratitude for the generous donation and the strength of Redeemer’s supporting community, president Robert Graham said he looks forward to the positive impact the school and its graduates can have in churches, workplaces, and the community for years to come.
One new resource for local churches is Redeemer’s Pastor Professor Exchange. Featuring lectures by Kevin Flatt on secularization and by Marie Good on the correlation between faith and well-being, these events were designed to share academic knowledge outside the academy. More than 60 pastors and church leaders attended each lecture. At the February event, Redeemer also hosted Classis Hamilton, a meeting of local CRC churches, so the meeting’s delegates could be part of the exchange.
“We wanted to create a space where church leaders could hear from and respond to [faculty] on issues of the day, such as church growth in Canada, mental health, religious freedom, and many others,” explained organizer Mikaela Van Pelt. “The ‘exchange’ is what we love about this event. There is an opportunity to dialogue with all the church leaders present, to work through issues together and see how the topics presented impact their work in the local church.”
Along with engaging local churches, Redeemer also hopes to engage and attract future students to boost enrollment in the next few years. David Zietsma, vice president of external relations and enrollment, confirmed that an anonymous donor has committed to giving Redeemer $11 million (CDN) over the next five years. The funds will be designated to reduce tuition costs by 42 percent so that Redeemer can be more sustainable. Beginning September 2019, Redeemer’s undergraduate tuition for Canadian students will be set at $9,800 instead of the planned rate of $16,992.
Tuition for international students, already lower at Redeemer than other Ontario universities, will be frozen at $16,792 for the coming year, the school said in a release describing the planned fee changes.
Redeemer’s goal is to double enrollment to 1,200 students. Following the 2020 strategic plan adopted in 2014, the institution also expects to continue long-term debt reduction. Redeemer’s long-term debt is currently 17.8 million, almost half of what it was in 2010.