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Union College (Kentucky)

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The Union College Mission Statement

Union College is a learning community dedicated to creating personal, intellectual and social transformation through the pursuit of knowledge, wisdom, service and spiritual growth.

The Union College Vision
Union College identifies four components of a learning community necessary to effect personal, intellectual, and social, transformation – knowledge, wisdom, service, and spiritual growth. As a private, academically rigorous, liberal arts college of the United Methodist Church, we believe that spiritual growth is not only essential, it is also integrally related to the other components of the transformation process. Based on the Wesleyan vision that education is a union of “knowledge and vital piety,” the College provides students an academic program and co-curricular activities that nurture a strong and active faith and lead them to see how a historically grounded religion is viable in contemporary cultures both at home and around the world. The College sees a special connection between service and spiritual growth; redemption is a social as well as an inner, personal experience. While these Wesleyan emphases define the tradition in which the College stands, the College also recognizes that Christian and other religious traditions see the same or similar connections between intellectual development and spiritual growth. Union College thus seeks to cultivate a learning community in which students, faculty, and staff explore together the intellectual and social dimensions of Christian faith.

The College is selective, student centered, values driven and is successful because of its location. The College is located in Barbourville, Kentucky, near the center of the Southern Highlands of Appalachia and is readily accessible to a variety of the Region’s provinces with their great diversity of landscapes and historical experiences. The Region is visually appealing and has abundant opportunities for wilderness learning. The problems of the mountains, though sometimes grim and tragic historically, are also fascinating and relevant to many questions of modern life and provide the opportunity to investigate and understand universal applications through study and service.

The College challenges the mind, heart, and spirit by embodying and promoting the love of learning, integrity of character, the spiritual quest, and civic responsibility as embraced by the non-sectarian traditions of the United Methodist Church. The traits of character required for individuals to be successful at worthwhile endeavors are encouraged, nurtured, coached, and modeled at Union College. Union College Core Values are created from the traits of judgment, character, moderation, justice, faith, hope, love, and civic responsibility. Operating principles founded on the core values model and guide the College, its students, faculty, and staff in day-to-day activities, learning, and work.

Union College helps students make learning connections. Students are provided opportunities to master key competencies and given opportunities for practical applications through an academically rigorous liberal arts curriculum. The learning environment of Union College is supported by a well-qualified faculty that collaborate and cooperate across traditionally separate disciplinary lines. Diversity of perspectives and the application of knowledge are valued equally with disciplinary expertise and theoretical knowledge. The Core Curriculum reflects this vision and understanding of learning. Intellectual and ethical development, plus the ability to make meaningful choices and informed decisions are nurtured through a variety of on- and off-campus learning experiences. Integrated learning opportunities, technology, internships, service-learning, and interdisciplinary seminars are means used to shift the emphasis from just providing instruction to significantly improving student learning.

At Union College, technology is mission driven, outcomes oriented, and consistent with the core values of the College. The College library, academic computing, administrative computing, and network are a single operating unit which focuses on different modes of learning and creating a learning community. Union College actively uses technology to improve teaching and learning and provides convenient access to information resources. The College nurtures an informed and self-sufficient user community through training and instruction.

Union College is a clean, safe, aesthetically pleasing and environmentally responsible campus which promotes social and communal interaction and supports the educational process. The purpose, vision, needs assessment, and evaluation of existing facilities and campus spaces are addressed in the College’s facilities master plan. Based on an optimal enrollment of 800 full-time undergraduate students and a total of 1,000 full-time equivalent students, the College is a residential student-centered campus that fosters community and intimacy. Student, academic, and administrative spaces are modern, embrace technology, meet accessibility requirements and include as much flexibility, adaptability, and expandability as possible to accommodate the rapid rate of change in higher education. Campus landscaping and special campus areas help create a learning community. Immediate and future building sites have been identified and the architectural integrity of the campus will be maintained.

An active student life program takes advantage of the area’s unique natural resources; promotes social, physical, and intellectual development; encourages personal responsibility; and represents the needs and voices of students on the campus. Students are provided numerous opportunities to participate in campus and off-campus activities which focus on academic and religious issues, wilderness experiences, service learning, governance, as well as literary, music, and professional clubs and organizations. Leadership development is nurtured throughout the College, and students are encouraged to learn and to exercise leadership in their daily lives through such opportunities and forums: the Board of Trustees as student associate trustees, Union College Community Government, residence hall councils, in the classroom, and in the athletic program of the College on and off the fields and floors of competition. The athletic program supports the mission and core values of Union College by creating an atmosphere where participants are viewed and treated as students first and athletes second. Student behavior is guided by the College’s core values and operating principles, which promote personal responsibility and accountability.

Union College encourages the development of mutually-respectful and beneficial relationships with local, regional and broader communities through the sharing of cultural and recreational resources, educational opportunities, and economic development opportunities. Community relations efforts produce a strong and positive environment between the College and local and broader communities.

Union College is a financially sound college capable of funding the growth and development of programs, facilities, and scholarships. The College uses a financial planning model which defines the operational premises guiding the financial planning; identifies benchmarks to measure programmatic and financial strategies; and identifies financial ratios and normative data to measure the College’s financial health. The College has a comprehensive advancement strategy designed to obtain the needed external financial resources in the form of endowment, gifts, and grants required to meet or exceed the College’s needs.

The College’s employees are its greatest resource. Individuals are respected and recognized for their contributions, provided fair and consistent treatment, and offered opportunities for personal and professional development. The College attracts gifted and talented persons to the community, provides a climate of support and encouragement, recognizes accomplishments, provides incentives for continued improvement, and holds them accountable for their work and contributions. A formal plan for setting and maintaining salary equity, keyed to benchmark institutions, is in place and is functioning.

Union College has an open, responsive, collegial, and efficient organizational structure that provides the means to achieve the institution’s vision and fulfill its purpose. The committee structure and the composition of the Board of Trustees is responsive to the needs and vision of the College. An effective and efficient management organizational structure has clearly defined lines of responsibility and authority. The management organizational structure is responsive and communicates well. The standing committee structure and its composition facilitates the governance needs of the College.

Union College graduates are principled and productive citizens capable of creative thinking and problem solving. They are able to communicate effectively and are life-long learners who see being educated as a quality of mind, not simply an accumulation of facts and professional skills. They have developed habits of thought that value logic, open-mindedness, awareness of historic change and achievements, and sensitivity to cultural diversity. Union College graduates are prepared to assess new situations, to handle career changes, to deal with adversity, and to recognize and seize opportunities. They have been provided the opportunity for an education of high academic quality in a nurturing and challenging environment which both embodies and inculcates a tradition of intellectual, moral, spiritual, and civic virtue which effectively prepares them to be citizens of the world in the 21st century.

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