Thursday, May 03, 2007

More about Vision

It is really stimulating and interesting to be so integrally part of the development of a vision statement for the College.

We've published potential version of the vision statement and received some feedback from students and staff. Now we feel that it is important to publish a second possible version as there is some debate. I would love to receive your feedback.

Below is a copy of the two possible versions:

Option 1
Helderberg College will be the institution of choice,

setting the standards of Seventh-day Adventist higher education in Southern Africa,

equipping its students:

to fulfill their calling, to dream great dreams, serving noble causes, and

living fulfilled productive lives.

Option 2

Helderberg College will be the institution of choice, setting the standards of SDA higher education in Southern Africa.
We seek to produce highly skilled, reflective professionals, qualified for effective and compassionate service in church and society.

Here is some of the debate that we've had about the versions:

I received the following e-mail in support of Option 1:

I am going to elucidate a little on the thoughts that I presented before - what
more could an institution want than for its students in Christian context
to fulfill their calling - to be equipped to fulfill their calling as well
trained pastors and ministers, for teachers to be fulfill their calling by
being well equipped to teach with passion and vision, for business men to
be ethical and far sighted in doing their business, for secretaries to be
faithful, supportive of the work done for the institution etc. In other
words - by equipping them to fulfill their calling - we would be fulfilling
our vision as a Christian Adventist institution. Is it not our vision
amidst all the stuff we teach to open up windows for students, to see what
they can become - to dream great dreams. How many great causes have
started because someone helped them to dream - helping students to feel
free to dream - to open those windows of opportunity, to see beyond the
classroom of tests and examinations to what they may be! Is it not part of
our vision to help our students to serve noble causes, not just to waste
their time on pifling things but to dedicate their lives to the great
Christain causes - whatever their calling. Finally our vision is to equip
them to live fulfilled productive lives. That their lives will reflect the
great values that we espouse and that this will lead to living fulfilled
productive lives. It seems to me in a vision statement these ideas do have
merit and should be considered, but if it we find that it does not resonate
with any one else then they need to be discarded and forgotten.

I paraphrase the argument for Option 2 below:

Option 1 is very general. It could be appended to the vision of a Pathfinder club or a women's group, or to almost any community organisation, and it would still sound good and be relevant. It does not really establish a distinctive niche for us to develop a specific identity as a Christian higher education institution.

It would be useful for our vision statement to allude more specifically to the particular product that we would like to produce at the College. What will they do? What values will they have? What impact will they have on society? (Are they entrepreneurs or good corporate citizens? Are they consumers or activists? Can they take empowering initiatives to bring about positive social change? Are they prepared to stand for principles even if they are not popular? etc.

The only question is if option 2 fits best within a vision statement, or is it already encapsulated in the Mission of the College.

I would love to hear the opinions of others who have an interest in the future of Helderberg College. (Please comment).

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