WALNUT RIDGE – The board of trustees at Williams Baptist College (WBC) heard about the school's new strategic plan at its regularly scheduled meeting Friday, April 12. The board also approved a $10.5 million budget for the upcoming school year and affirmed the promotion of two faculty members.
Most of the meeting was devoted to a detailed explanation of the Diamond Destiny Plan, a three-year strategic plan that WBC will undertake in the coming months. The plan's name is drawn from the college's 75th anniversary, which will be celebrated in 2016.
"The Diamond Destiny Plan provides the steps needed to capitalize on our strengths, improve our vulnerable areas and embrace strategic opportunities to expand our mission," said WBC President Tom Jones.
A 15-member panel composed of faculty and staff members, administrators and students has been crafting the strategic plan since last summer. They evaluated various aspects of the four-year, liberal arts college and examined its future needs. The result is a plan consisting of six broad goals and 27 supporting objectives.
"We are confident the Diamond Destiny Plan will guide us in building on a strong foundation, allowing us to expand our mission into areas untouched by Williams to date," Jones said.
Among the objectives is a plan to launch online classes in the fall 2013. Williams is also making a concerted effort to recruit international students – in addition to expanding its athletic program – as a way to build enrollment.
The Diamond Destiny Plan also calls for Williams to expand an array of academic and student services, as well as a fundraising campaign to provide new facilities for academics, athletics and resident students.
In addition, the plan reinforces the spiritual dimensions of the Christian college.
"The Diamond Destiny Plan will help assure that Williams remains grounded in its historic Christian identity," said Kenneth Startup, vice president for academic affairs. "The history of Christian higher education too often reveals the possibility of drift in this matter of Christian identity. This plan helps prevent that from happening at Williams by building in some structural safeguards."
The board also approved WBC's budget for the coming year. The budget includes financial assistance to incoming freshmen affected by the recent legislative reductions of the Arkansas Challenge Grant.
In addition, two Williams faculty members were promoted at the meeting. Brad Baine, chair of the Williams Teacher Education Program, and Melissa Hobbs of the science faculty were both promoted from the rank of assistant professor to associate professor.
Williams is a four-year, liberal arts college at Walnut Ridge. It is owned and operated by the Arkansas Baptist State Convention.