This wall can talk: TWU unveils future vision

“Our goal is to create a unique, faith-based university environment where thinking young people can become the compassionate leaders our global society so desperately needs, and achieve success in their personal lives and vocation.” TWU President, Neil Snider, PhD

Langley, B.C.—Sparked by the public launch of its major fundraising campaign, Trinity Western University recently unveiled its new Vision 2012 Wall. Located in the entrance of the main student mall, a larger-than-life collage of high-resolution photos and graphs, a 3D campus model and giant 20 square foot computer screen tell the university’s story and cast an ambitious vision for its future. It paints a picture of university culture, profiles faculty and students, and gives thermometer-style updates on the largest fundraising campaign in TWU’s history.

With a goal to raise 16 million dollars in the first-phase of the campaign, the university is well on its way to meeting the April 2004 completion target with nearly thirteen million dollars already raised. “This is only the first phase of a multi-phase campaign over a decade,” explains Doris Olafsen, vice president for advancement, “and our fundraising goals over the next eight years may top 80 million dollars.”

As part of the 2012 campaign, a well-researched plan is in development to identify and meet the needs of continuing enrolment growth. Plans being formulated include the construction of new buildings—a multi-level student residence and a field house with three basketball courts—additions to TWU’s current buildings—a graduate studies facility, new computer labs and a fine arts wing with a media instructional studio and choral rehearsal hall—plus millions of dollars for scholarship endowments and leadership training initiatives.

The most ambitious project proposed is a $40-50 million dollar multi-use University Centre. It could include a multiple gym facility for the growing athletics and human kinetics programs, and a performing arts and black-box theatre complex for the expanding media and fine arts program.

For a university that started with 17 students just over four decades ago, and which enrolled over 3,500 this year, the scope of the vision reflects the momentum the school has gained.

“Why has TWU grown so much? Without question it’s because students who come here are finding what they want,” says TWU President Neil Snider, PhD. “And I don’t simply mean the kind of information that will give them jobs. Our goal is to create a unique faith-based university environment where thinking young people can become the compassionate leaders our global society so desperately needs, and achieve success in their personal lives and vocation,” he explains.

And according to students, the efforts are paying off. Every three years the Canadian Undergraduate Survey Consortium asks graduating students from 26 AUCC universities how satisfied they are with their university experience. Both the 2000 and 2003 reports reveal that in almost every category, TWU students gave their university a higher rating than did students from other institutions.

According to the survey summary, “TWU’s main strength was a supportive educational environment that builds confidence in students’ academic abilities and life skills.” The survey concluded that the students’ personal growth of life skills “is accomplished without overshadowing the development of their academic skills.”

In addition to its compelling community setting, the Survey Consortium also credited TWU faculty with playing a key role in student development. Personal interactions and enthusiasm for the subjects they teach were characteristic of TWU professors. And faculty enthusiasm is matched by a quality and scholarly profile that may surprise those unfamiliar with TWU.

“Approximately 85 per cent of our full-time faculty have PhD’s,” says President Snider. “And many have earned doctorates from Ivy league and other top schools including Oxford, Princeton, McGill, Carleton, Columbia, Wheaton, University of Toronto, UBC and Queen’s. They also pursue and publish peer-reviewed scholarly research all over the world,” he continues, “and have a diverse perspective, having taught in such places as the U.K., Korea, South Africa, China and Germany, to name a few.”

Complimenting the growing recognition of the quality of TWU’s faculty, the profile of TWU’s athletics has also skyrocketed. TWU’s teams began to gain notoriety six years ago when they joined the top level of Canadian sport, now called the CIS.

“We are continually surprising larger institutions,” says Olafsen. “Our teams have experienced unprecedented success, including record achievements and high comparative rankings. TWU boasts CIS All-stars in every sport it competes in, including basketball, volleyball and soccer, and this year gained its first berth in a CIS national championship series, earning a bronze medal in men’s volleyball. And as we tell people about what TWU is all about, it’s just one more example of the quality Trinity Western aspires to in every area. It’s not surprising to us,” continues Olafsen, “but it can be to people new to experiencing the effects of Trinity Western’s university community.”

Last Updated: 2015-07-20
Author: Keela Keeping