Pursuing the Vision: Preparing Transformative Leaders for Service to the World

by Alexander Pierre | Apr 17, 2015

By Daniel J. Elsener, President of Marian University

If there is one lesson Marian University has learned from the Sisters of St. Francis, Oldenburg, Indiana and their “courage to venture,” it is to pursue our vision, be steadfast in faith and values, and be strategic in action.

Here is our vision: To provide an education distinguished in its ability to prepare transformative leaders for service to the world. Fundamental to this vision is the belief that scientists, artists, business people, health care, and other professionals can be positive, transformational leaders in their chosen fields and in all walks of life. This focus influences the nature and substance of all our academic and co-curricular programs, university policies, and marketing and recruitment communications to potential students and collaborators in our vision.

Here are the three pillars on which a vision for transformational leadership must rest:

Pillar One: Exceptional Academic Programs
To successfully prepare students to be transformational leaders, academic programs must be exceptional. Toward this end, we must:

  1. Ensure every student’s education is rooted in a strong curriculum of liberal arts and a commitment to integral Marian University values;
  2. Recruit and retain outstanding faculty who are highly educated, adroitly skilled, and dedicated to teaching; engaged in research related to being an exceptional professor; committed to the development of students; and,
  3. Demonstrate innovative teaching that promotes engaged learning and use of the best practices and technology to advance the speed, depth, and enjoyment of learning.

Pillar Two: Vibrant Campus Experience
A dynamic, culturally-engaged campus is essential to a university culture that promotes leadership. On this vibrant campus, co-curricular student life programs will be offered that include, but are not limited to: mentoring, internships, speakers, athletics, campus ministry, and performing arts. Dedication to the university’s values by the faculty and staff who help oversee these efforts will be key to pursuing this element of the vision with success.

Pillar Three: Building Character
A process designed to build character, based on the Catholic Franciscan tradition and the sponsorship values on which Marian University was founded, should be intertwined with traditional academic courses and all programs. Other institutions can work to build character in various ways. But because of our strong faith tradition, Marian University ought to be truly distinct in its ability to prepare students as they become transformative leaders in the professions and communities in which they will serve.

Alumni will recall the official Marian University seal: sedes sapientiae (seat of wisdom). Staying true to our vision means being a seat of wisdom university dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, our patroness. Please pray for us, the entire Marian University community, as we seek to educate leaders for service to the world!

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