Archived Voice Articles
Taking the right approach strategically
By Judy Hagey
Viewing the art show in the Campus Center Gallery was just one of many ways parents could experience the variety of activities available on campus during Parents' Weekend. Nearly a thousand parents visited.
In the days leading up to Thanksgiving I found myself worrying about our younger son’s travel plans. Would he make it through the heaviest-traveled airport on the heaviest travel day of the year and arrive on time? Would the storm threatening Chicago cause hours-long traffic delays and interfere with the start of our celebration? I prepared myself mentally for a long wait at the airport. Thankfully, all of those “what ifs” were just that—what ifs. His flight arrived exactly on time, and we enjoyed a wonderful weekend with all of our family at home for the first time in several months.
Unfortunately, the return trip, to which I hadn’t given any thought, was one long delay after another. It began with a 4:00 AM wakeup call, followed by a nine-hour weather-related delay in arguably one of the least desirable airports in the U.S. and an early morning return to his home away from home nearly twenty-four hours after his day began. Seems I had focused my energies on the wrong time and place.
How often doesn’t it happen that we focus on the wrong thing? The urgent and immediate take priority over the important and things of lasting value.
The Jubilee multi-media show, Vision at Work and Play, was performed for the first time on Parents' Weekend. The show includes video segments profiling alumni as well as singing and dramatic vignettes that highlight Dordt College's history.
Many college students focus on choosing the right major, one that will lead them to a good job and successful career, only to find later that their passion and gifts lie elsewhere. As a parent I’ve often focused on getting through a difficult phase of growth and development—the terrible twos or the generational conflict of the teen years—and sometimes overlooked enjoyable and rewarding aspects of childrearing.
Institutions, too, can focus their energies in the wrong place. In the highly competitive arena of higher education it would be easy to do whatever seems expedient to attract students or improve the bottom line. But in the long run, focusing only on the short term could well have consequences that would be detrimental to the health and vitality of the organization.
Last spring the board of trustees adopted a new strategic plan. It sets out in broad strokes what Dordt College ought to be in the years ahead. The alumni association also has an overarching goal—“to support and encourage Dordt College in its role as a Christian educational leader.” That happens in hundreds of small ways—when you display your Dordt diploma in your home or office, when you take the time to share your Dordt experience with a prospective student—perhaps even your own child; when you attend a Dordt event in your area.
Within the college’s strategic plan there are key areas where alumni are critical to achieving Dordt’s mission: 1) enhancing Dordt’s role as a leader in education; 2) cultivating new and existing relationships with key constituents; and 3) sustaining the resources needed to continue our mission.
In the coming months, with the assistance of the alumni council, I plan to develop some three- to five-year goals that will complement our institutional goals. Though our focus may be on meeting short-term goals, we hope never to take our eyes off the long-term goal of helping Dordt College accomplish its kingdom goals.