By Kylie Osborne
Distinctive. Compelling. Relevant. When President John Pistole stepped onto campus as head of Anderson University in 2015, those three values were his compass for what he would strive for the university to be. “In everything we do, how can we be a distinctive, compelling, and relevant institution?” In his first three years with AU, Pistole and his staff have found a multitude of answers.
The first answer is a five-year strategic plan that includes four pillars: outstanding student experience, outstanding place to work, forward-thinking brand, and fiscal strength. The plan provides a guideline that will continue to make Anderson University the best place for students to receive a purposeful higher education. Now, faculty and staff seek to fit campus pursuits within one of those four pillars.
New academic programs have been added during the past three years, including national security and information security. Pistole is able to bring his history, connections, and expertise in such areas to these programs. Students have opportunities for practical experience, along with the chance to engage in conversations with guest speakers that are leading professionals in the field.
Christian ethics is a cornerstone of these new programs. The Christian background is not just used in academics; Pistole has set the expectation that it will extend beyond the classroom. With the Christian Spiritual Transformation initiative, the university emphasizes being intentional in connecting career and calling. Pistole says, “Through this we are able to equip our graduates to go out and be salt and light in the world.”
The centennial year has come to an end, changes are being made, and new opportunities are coming to campus. President Pistole sees this as a strategic pivot point in AU history and a very exciting time to be a part of its story. For him, the university’s identity in its first century is certain, and the school is poised to answer the question of who it will be in its second century of faith and service.
Kylie Osborne is a junior from Redkey, Indiana, majoring in public relations and journalism, and writing on behalf of the Anderson University Office of Communication and Marketing.
Anderson University is a private, liberal arts institution in Anderson, Indiana with a mission to educate students for lives of faith and service in the church and society. Anderson University is recognized among top colleges by U.S. News and World Report, Colleges of Distinction, and The Princeton Review. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, the university now offers more than fifty undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, music education, and theology.