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President's Office

A Second Century of

EMU Strategic Plan 2017-2022

EMU envisions being the premier Christian university offering a third way between the missions of more traditional Christian universities and the more secularized missions of mainstream universities. By “third way” we refer to an explicitly Christian university that engages the full diversity of human experience and identity, facilitating progress and social change in addressing the most pressing problems in our world.

As a Christian community of learning, we emphasize academic rigor and reflective practice organized around the liberal arts. We promote the intellectual, physical and spiritual formation of our students, faculty, and staff into people who reflect the love of God for all, embracing the world in all its complexity with a hopeful and enquiring spirit. EMU’s rootedness in the Anabaptist Mennonite faith tradition – emphasizing the ethical practice of Christian faith and the search for peace and justice in this world – provides a rich base from which such a third way can develop and progress.

EMU’s Strategic Plan 2017-2022 encompasses its centennial year, 2017-2018. The goals we enumerate here are intended to establish a strong foundation for EMU’s second century, launching us into greater national and global influence. They move us toward being the kind of distinctive Christian university we aspire to be.

Four Overarching Goals


Donald B. Kraybill ’67 chronicles the transformation of Eastern Mennonite School from a place of protection and isolation for the church’s young people, to today’s university mission to prepare students to serve and lead in a global context.

We celebrate our education that transforms lives. During 2017-18 we celebrate EMU’s Centennial year, highlighting our rich history and distinctive identity which will launch us into a second century of educating students to serve and lead in a global context.


  • Review mission-related documents, revising and re-affirming to ensure that they effectively communicate the university’s identity and vision for the future.
  • Mark the Centennial Year (2017-18) with a wide variety of events that invite students faculty, staff, alumni and friends to share in celebrating the university’s transformative impact and vision for the future.
  • Increase EMU’s profile in the local and regional community through initiatives that celebrate the university’s distinctives and unique contributions to the area.


Psychology major Jasmine Wilson interned at Little Friends for Peace in 2016-17 as a participant in EMU’s Washington Community Scholars Center.

We will increasingly engage students, faculty, staff and alumni with our community of learning in its local and global context. This includes enhancing opportunities for personal and spiritual formation for all into persons who embrace and reflect EMU’s core values of Christian discipleship, community, service, and peace.


  • Review and revise common elements of the undergraduate and graduate curricula to more effectively communicate Anabaptist Mennonite beliefs, values and practices; strengthen integration of cross-cultural learning, and enhance developmental continuity across curricula.
  • Strengthen faith formation opportunities for students, faculty and staff through enhanced intra- and interdisciplinary programming that draws especially on resources from our Bible and Religion department and Eastern Mennonite Seminary.
  • Enhance campus spaces, university programming and faculty professional development to support learning and community engagement.
  • Expand EMU’s engagement beyond its historic Mennonite connections to increase the university’s profile in local and regional communities, as well as with other faith traditions.


Engineering students teamed up to create a poster about the Engineers for a Sustainable World stationary bike project.

As we launch our second century, we will position EMU among leaders in Christian higher education. We will strengthen the long-term sustainability of EMU’s mission and fiscal health by increasing enrollment across all programs, enhancing our national profile and academic reputation, and improving financial strength.


  • Develop and implement a comprehensive strategic enrollment plan to achieve undergraduate enrollment of 1,200, graduate enrollment of 445 FTE, seminary enrollment of 80 FTE, and adult undergraduate enrollment of 320 FTE.
  • Raise the university’s academic profile and sustain a thriving faculty through investments that support teaching and scholarship.
  • Enhance the university’s fiscal health by increasing operating margin, capital investments, and long-term reserves, while reducing deferred maintenance.
  • Broaden the university’s resource base through expanded engagement with alumni and friends via involvement in university activities, volunteer engagement and giving.


The Latino Student Alliance created a beautiful alfombra – made of colored rice, saw dust and coffee grounds – on the Campus Center greeting hall floor during Lent 2017.

We will attract, develop and sustain a thriving team of faculty, staff and administrators whose diversity mirrors our student body, community, and the broader church. We will establish policies and practices to support commitment to EMU’s mission and meaningful engagement in teaching, scholarship, vocation, and service to our university.


  • Build faculty, staff and administrator capacity for supporting the academic, spiritual, physical and social development of our students in ways that recognize the increasing diversity present on campus.
  • Intensify efforts to recruit and retain employees from underrepresented racial or ethnic minority groups.
  • Engage students, faculty, staff and constituents in a review of EMU institutional culture, curriculum, policies and practices related to supporting and enhancing diversity and inclusion.

Download the strategic plan

Approved: EMU Board of Trustees
June 24, 2017