Providing a carefully-crafted biblical higher education experience that delivers long-term value is increasingly challenging these days. At Clarks Summit University, we address that challenge every day. At times, we must make difficult decisions to follow our mission of equipping students for future service and impact. There is great value in making hard choices if it will help us achieve our goals.
We are implementing changes:
During the last academic year, on-campus enrollment stabilized, and trends would indicate that we will have an increase in our resident student body in the fall. Stabilization is not sufficient. Our employees have been diligent in efforts to facilitate growth throughout the university.
The faculty has reviewed, adjusted and improved the curriculum. The Office for Student Development has initiated significant improvements in our students’ experience, including a robust student employment program which provides mentoring and spiritual growth opportunities for student employees. The Business Office has standardized procedures and worked hard to simplify processes.
The Trustee Board engaged two independent consultants this year. Their perspectives were identical. We are building for a great future. However, we must make significant expense reductions immediately to build financial health, both building reserves and reducing debt.
In response to the Board, the administration:
- Outsourced aspects of operations which could be accomplished more effectively through those means.
- Reduced the number of employees through attrition where possible.
- Consolidated and realigned certain departments.
- Evaluated all employee roles and responsibilities and reduced staffing where appropriate.
- Adjusted our organizational structure.
- Instituted new financial procedures to control expenditures.
These changes require us to eliminate six full-time staff positions and one part-time position. In a smaller school like ours, it is sharply painful to watch co-workers who feel like family go through an unwanted transition. We express our heartfelt appreciation for what these friends have accomplished through the years of their service here.
As we look ahead, we will:
- Focus on Enrollment, Academics, and Student Development, continually improving the ways in which we prepare students to meet their future.
- Keep improving our Business Office operation.
- Aggressively seek greater alumni participation and assistance to current students.
- Build the BBC Foundation holdings.
- Expand our mentoring and discipling student employment program to include all student workers on campus.
- Investigate educational partnerships that will allow us to share costs without sacrificing the essentials of a CSU education.
- Build our online student body through creative marketing, providing excellent customer service, improving online classes, and employing highly relational online instructors.
We will continue to refine our focus to better serve our students. Individuals who desire a biblically-saturated higher education, career preparedness, and a life that pleases Jesus Christ will find that Clarks Summit University is a great place to seek a degree. We are confident that God will continue to use the school as he has for the last 85 years.
I believe that challenging times will make us a stronger school. As an employee body, we are committed to face our challenges responsibly through mutual care, mutual encouragement, and occasionally mutual admonition.
We recognize that a great future will never require less than great effort and sacrifice. We continue to thank God for the opportunity to serve on-campus and online students in times like these, providing a biblical higher education that will serve graduates well throughout their lives.
Dr. Jim Lytle