Anderson President Details 'Four Pillars'

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(Startegic plan graphic provided by Anderson University.) (Startegic plan graphic provided by Anderson University.)

The president of Anderson University has outlined his vision for the next five years. John Pistole's strategic plan includes four pillars: outstanding student experience, outstanding place to work, forward-thinking brand and fiscal strength. AU celebrated its 100th anniversary last year and Pistole, a former head of the United States Transportation Security Administration and former deputy director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, has led the Madison County school since 2015.

He says "in everything we do, how can we be a distinctive, compelling, and relevant institution?" Over the last three years, Anderson has added multiple academic programs, including national security and information security. Pistole says the strategic plan, called the Christian Spiritual Transformation initiative, is designed to connect students to career and calling.

Additional details of the strategic plan include:


  • We provide an outstanding Christ-centered student experience of opportunities and environments for the development of meaningful relationships and useful skills; maturation in self-understanding, personal values, spiritual transformation; and, to prepare graduates equipped for a life of faith and service.
    • High Impact Graduates - We graduate people with intercultural humility who are competent, caring, creative, generous individuals of character and potential.
    • Invest in Student Experience - We devote tangible and intangible resources in order to create a student-centered campus culture that fosters holistic growth and development.
    • Focus on Engagement - We intentionally engage each student by fostering meaningful relationships, collaborative learning, and educationally challenging activities which enhance student learning and growth.
    • Embrace Ubiquitous Learning - We approach our work as "educators" creating innovative programs and educational opportunities in and out of the classroom that enrich and enhance the student experience.


  • We are a liberal arts university with innovative programs and people, integrating Christian spiritual transformation with free and open inquiry rooted in our rich history of unity and holiness.
    • Engaged Constituents - Our constituents understand who AU is, clearly identify us with our mission and values, and take action to support the University.
    • Invest in Marketing - Our investment in marketing leads to increased contributions, greater shared understanding, more engaged alumni, and enhanced enrollment.
    • Develop Storytelling Strategy - Our development of a storytelling strategy includes methods of gathering and sharing compelling stories and information.
    • Articulate Institutional Identity - We clearly and consistently articulate our institutional


  • Our resources, structures, and processes are sufficient to fulfill our mission, improve the quality of our educational offerings, and respond to future challenges and opportunities.
    • Resourced Mission - We are financially resourced to thrive in our second century of service.
    • Invest in People, Systems, and Facilities - We develop our employees, invest in effective systems, and adequately maintain our facilities.
    • Practice Operational Efficiency - We engage in continuous improvement to enhance processes, personnel, and programs.
    • Build Revenue Streams - We are agile in our program offerings and develop initiatives to increase net revenue in support of our institutional mission.


  • We create an environment in which our people are fully engaged and developed, highly productive, and integral to our institutional excellence.
    • Thriving Culture - We clearly understand who we are, celebrate achievements, and strive for excellence in all things.
    • Invest in People - We invest in the whole person -- spiritually, financially, physically, and socially.
    • Enhance Engagement Strategies - We are informed of and committed to supporting the mission, values, objectives, and activities of the university.
    • Build Professional Development - We provide both resources and opportunities for onboarding, training, and development of all employees

  • Perspectives

    • #MeToo, Bullying And What We All Can Do Now

      Indeed, it is an interesting time with so much continuing to come out in Hollywood, the media, other industries, and even our state government related to the sexual harassment of women - women who have remained silent for years. Like those women, I too have been harassed in various ways over the course of my career, even in recent years - and yes, even in top leadership roles. The headline about my departure or the email citing that I was moving on never fully told the real story.



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