Strategic Plan


2018-2023 Strategic Plan

September 20, 2017 marked the 125th anniversary of Greenville University’s first convocation. On that historic day we recalled servant leaders from our past who sacrificed much to make 125 years of Christ-centered education on the Illinois prairie a reality. Many of their names grace buildings on campus—H.J. Long, Leslie Marston, Mary Tenney, Carrie Burritt and others.

We also dedicated the University’s newest structure, Hogue Memorial Tower. This bell tower recalls architectural features of Hogue Hall, or “Old Main,” the hub of campus activity for generations. Its stately presence at the front of campus just off College Avenue reminds us of its namesake and first president, Wilson T. Hogue. Hogue courageously accepted the charge to lead this fledgling institution and worked tirelessly for its success.

Our past continues to shape our present. Words spoken that September day recalled Hogue’s still compelling vision. The prayer we sang—“Be Thou my vision, oh Lord of my heart”—echoed the prayers of our predecessors. The values that fueled their work continue to drive ours. The fields are still ripe with harvest, and learning informed by faith still matters. Higher education today needs this perspective, just as today’s world needs the salt and light our graduates deliver.

Nothing is ever known properly until . . .

In a public address, Hogue once borrowed from philosopher and mathematician Pascal, saying, “Jesus Christ is the center of all things in the universe . . . therefore, nothing is ever known properly until it is known in relation to Jesus Christ.”

We remain standard-bearers to this truth.

Hogue laid a firm foundation of clear ideals on which his successors would build. He chose sound stones with enduring value:

  • Christ-centered education grounded in Wesleyan teachings;
  • faith that informs learning across a broad range of subjects;
  • continual improvement;
  • character development;
  • abundant, transformative life in Jesus Christ;
  • community and service in Christ’s name.

Soon after I assumed the presidency, I invited my colleagues to join me in authoring a five-year strategic plan that would extend the essentials of this rich heritage to new generations of students and expand the University’s influence.

With that blueprint in hand, we set to work.

  • We embraced innovation by shortening the time it takes to earn a degree. For undergraduates, we developed three-year degree programs and put them online. We reframed our general education courses and launched a dual credit program. For returning adult students, we improved our ability to translate prior learning into college credit. We aligned our academic calendars and expanded opportunities for students to take online and face-to-face courses.
  • We cultivated community by establishing discipline-specific learning hubs: the Briner School of Business; the Bastian School of Theology, Philosophy, and Ministry; and the Center for Visual Culture and Media Studies. We developed programming in agribusiness and engineering and laid the groundwork for learning communities in these areas as well.
  • We maximized learning opportunities beyond the classroom by introducing students to “Experience First” and expanding opportunities for field experiences, internships, hands-on research and service and learning abroad. We invested in athletics, a key portal to transformation and growth for many students.
  • We expanded our programming in STEM subjects and added faculty in math, science and engineering. We built quantum information and nanotechnology labs and improved instrumentation in our chemistry lab. We developed partnerships with five nursing schools.
  • Understanding that a diverse student body enriches all students, we increased our percentage of domestically diverse and international students. We registered more international students than at any other time in our history.
  • We focused on the future, improving our financial forecasting and risk assessment. We acquired and renovated buildings, improved our deferred maintenance and implemented integrated planning that paves the way for eventual construction. We installed a new wireless network across campus, increased its speed and tightened our computer security.

Exciting, but that’s just the start . . .

Wilson T. Hogue’s vision for a vibrant, faith-filled institution that blesses young women and men remains compelling. In that spirit over the next five years, we will continue to cultivate innovation and agility, strengthen community engagement and focus on the future. We will build on the seven core values that have historically directed our work:

  1. Christ-centered Wesleyan
  2. Integrated learning
  3. Innovation
  4. Character
  5. Thriving
  6. Service
  7. Community 

My sacred duty is to uphold these values and make sure they continue to direct our work as we move forward glorifying God.

There is room for you in this faith adventure, too. Perhaps you are also intrigued by the idea that we can know nothing properly unless we know it in relation to Jesus Christ. Or maybe the values that drive our work also make your heart sing.

Whether you are a student, a parent or family member; an alumna, alumnus or friend of the University; a faculty member, employee or financial champion of Christ-centered higher education—join us, won’t you? We value your engagement.



Ivan L. Filby, Ph.D.



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