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Wheaton graduate school creates first mission statement

Although the graduate school was founded in 1937, no over­arching statement for the graduate program had ever existed until now. With a new mission and vision statement, students can have a clarified sense of what the school stands for.
The Mission and Vision State­ments were released on Wednes­day at a celebration in Barrows Auditorium during the grad school chapel. The event celebrat­ed the Lord’s faithfulness in the past and dedicated the future to the Lord. The statements took two years of reflection and dialogue with students, faculty and others.
According to the graduate school, “The mission is to form ser­vant scholars and leaders through exceptional graduate programs for Christ and his Kingdom.” The vision is to see “God transforming the world through scholars and practitioners rooted in Christ and equipped for global leadership.”
Associate professor of theol­ogy and history of Christianity Jennifer McNutt said, “We as a program were laboring clarity, ex­periencing marginalization, and we were in need of a shared pur­pose, lacking harmony, consisten­cy, and experiencing isolation … we were not working as a body.”
The goal of the graduate school is for the whole body of the school to contribute to the advancement of God’s kingdom. The idea of unity was reflective of the audience of the ceremony that included staff, students, adminis­trators, alumni, friends and family.
The graduate school sees its new mission and vision as more than mere statements, consid­ering them as commitments to mold servants who will car­ry out the mission of Christ’s kingdom after their education.
The Wheaton College Gradu­ate School was founded in 1937 and offers advanced theological and ministry training through many masters and doctoral de­grees. There are 16 degree pro­grams including psychology, edu­cation, ministry and leadership. All work is grounded in the au­thority of Scripture and integrat­ed with the broader liberal arts.
Dean of the graduate school Nicholas Perrin said, “I have learned how incredibly diverse the graduate school is and not only in terms of personnel and disciplines, but also in terms of where we sit along the spectrum of theory and practice. Bring­ing all this under one concep­tual umbrella has been helpful.”
Perrin added, “With the eco­nomic downturn in 2008 and rev­olutionary changes in educational delivery methods, the vast major­ity of graduate programs across the nation are facing a challeng­ing environment … This is forcing us to rethink our next steps for­ward. We are asking anew: ‘Who are we?’ and ‘What does God want us to do?’ Before answering the second question, we have to have an agreed-upon answer to the first. That’s just what a mis­sion and vision statement does.”
The two statements are help­ing students visualize and carry out the education they have been receiving at the gradu­ate school. Christian formation and ministry graduate student, Tae Han Kim said, “As a stu­dent who is graduating in May, I want this new mission and vi­sion statement to be reflective of who I am and how I should live.”
Emmanuel Mahanga Ndoli­mana a second-year masters stu­dent from Rwanda, worked in front line ministry before becom­ing a student. Through his time at Wheaton, he has received train­ing in Bible and theology and has been equipped by the school to raise theological issues and bet­ter lead people back in Rwanda. Ndolimana expressed the over­load of support he has felt from his professors and fellow students. The school hopes to enhance the support they give to students like Ndolimana under the two new mission and vision statements.

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