Shapemaximize playTriangle

August 8, 2019

Imagine 2022, Asbury University’s strategic plan, is propelling the University into the future of higher education while strengthening its core values and programs.

Initiative I of the strategic plan (titled “Learn”) was created to “advance Asbury as a rigorous Christian liberal arts university that embraces opportunities and addresses emerging challenges in an increasingly complex and globally interdependent world.”

Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences Daniel Strait’s visioning was instrumental to the process of creating Imagine 2022. Now, he’s looking forward to seeing how all of the initiatives, but especially Initiative I, impact campus. Strait is also working closely on Point One of Initiative I, which focuses on promoting and strengthening the liberal arts at Asbury.

“We want to be a leading Christian university committed to liberal arts inquiry and interdisciplinary thinking,” Strait said. “All of these things are stated in that first area. We have been doing things, even prior to codifying that strategic plan. We put a lot of things in place to start creating some openings for students to reengage with the Foundations program in a more robust way.”

For Strait, Initiative I’s role in strengthening and promoting Foundations across campus is critical as the impact of the liberal arts can be felt years after a student leaves the classroom. His own liberal arts education affects the way he thinks, even today.

“We sometimes find ourselves in a class reading a book that we would’ve never read on our own or entertaining a question that we never even thought we could ask,” Strait said. “I live for those moments still, actually. It still happens to me because a student may ask a question that I just never simply thought about before. I think we need to live in this expectation of real, profound change. When you put the faith component into this, then everything is even more dramatic and significant.”

Committee members are excited to continue dreaming up ways to engage the student body with Foundations curriculum. They’re also looking forward to working with Asbury’s new president, Dr. Kevin J. Brown, as he assumes the leadership of the strategic plan.  

Prior to Imagine 2022, the Foundations curriculum was updated with the addition of the Liberal Arts Seminar, a course that all incoming freshman take to set the tone for their four years at Asbury. The four-week course requires that students read and discuss a portion of a book each week. This year, new students will discuss “How to Think” by Alan Jacobs.

“The Liberal Arts Seminar was really created, not for the book and not for some elaborate curriculum, but to create a conversation space around a really big question,” Strait said.

This year, the seminar program received a bit of a facelift with Strait and the Liberal Arts Council enlisting the help of a group of students to assist in choosing a book for the seminar for the first time ever.

“We’re really trying to be active in listening to what is on the minds of students and student perceptions about different books,” Strait said. “It’s the first time I have formally put together a committee of students. They’re going to serve on this committee until they graduate and then we’ll replenish. We had a few meetings and it was so much fun.”

For Strait, Initiative I presents opportunities to set Asbury apart for its incredible academics both now and in the future.

“I hope that Asbury can continue to develop as the kind of place where students not only feel the abounding of God’s grace, but also the constant thrill of intellectual discovery,” Strait said. “I hope that their intellectual adventure here combines and is entailed in their spiritual adventure. As they live more deeply into God’s grace, I hope that they discover more about the world, each other and themselves.”

Learn more about Imagine 2022.