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New academic programs, facilities improvements planned

President Charles A. Fowler discusses a five-year strategic plan with the University’s Board of Trustees on April 23. Vice Chair Patricia Bible, of Morristown, is pictured at left.

(April 26, 2021) JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. — Carson-Newman University’s Board of Trustees approved Friday a five-year strategic plan that calls for new academic programs, expanded athletic offerings, new and renovated facilities, enrollment growth, and greater missional alignment.

The University’s Executive Leadership Team led the development of the plan, entitled “Acorns to Oaks: Pursuing God’s Preferred Future,” following the Board of Trustee’s approval of the planning process in April 2020.

“The entire University engaged in the planning process. Faculty, staff, students, alumni, administration, trustees, and other constituent groups helped dream this dream. It has resulted in a strategic plan that is bold in scope, faithful to our mission, academically driven, and Christ-centered in its approach,” President Charles A. Fowler said. “When successfully implemented, this plan will produce missional alignment, financial stability, 21st-century programmatic strength and enrollment growth, which positions Carson-Newman to be one of the premier Christian universities in the Southeast.

The Board of Trustees approved the comprehensive strategy April 23.

Board Chairman Bob Gay described the plan as the University taking up with confidence the Lord’s work.

“The form and function of the strategic plan takes the great ideas, the compelling thoughts and processes from every aspect of the University,” Gay said. “Everyone is on board and sees the same single vision. When that occurs, you can see that God is directing the vision.

“We believe this is God’s vision for Carson-Newman,” he added. “That is strong. That is powerful. That is unifying. When you put everyone’s strengths in the right place at the right time, pulling in the same direction, nothing but great things can happen for God’s university. This plan is truly a statement and the embodiment of the mission of Carson-Newman University.

The plan includes new construction of health sciences, chemistry, biology and physics, and education buildings. The plan also incorporates the addition of a sciences plaza along with a new pedestrian mall for added outdoor space for student enjoyment.

Renovations to athletic and academic facilities along with enhancing handicap accessibility across the campus are also important components of the plan.

Beyond the proposed construction, the plan calls for expanded athletic offerings, new undergraduate and graduate academic programs, and increased investments into programming. The strategic plan entails thoughtful and purposeful alignment of policies and procedures with the University’s Christ-centered mission and an ongoing commitment to balanced budgets. This includes work to reduce dependency on tuition through innovative programs and entrepreneurial pursuits designed to develop new revenue streams.

“The plan is at its core an academic plan,” Fowler said. “Carson-Newman is a Christian university dedicated to a rigorous and Christianly formed education. We are blessed with an incredible teaching faculty. This plan provides facilities, technology, and programming that will complement the educational enterprise at C-N, position us for even greater excellence, and extend our reach to new student markets.

The plan culminates in 2026, which will mark the 175th anniversary of Carson-Newman’s founding.

Founded in 1851, Carson-Newman is a Christian liberal arts-based university affiliated with the Tennessee Baptist Convention. The University is located in Jefferson City, Tennessee, among the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains and celebrated a record 2,900 students in the fall. Carson-Newman offers 50 undergraduate majors, as well as associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees.

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