by CDU President Marianne Evans Mount, PhD
As I reflect on our beautiful mission to communicate the mind and heart of the Church in a digital world, the start of a new year is a special moment to thank God for the amazing journey of 2017 and share with you some of our plans for 2018 that give us great hope for the future.
CDU is thrilled to welcome more students. While many public and private colleges missed enrollment targets in 2017, CDU grew enrollments by 11.5%. Despite rising expenses, our Board has resisted raising tuition. Very affordable tuition rates are important to our graduates because 9 out of 10 serve the Church. Continuing adult education and webinar attendance have also grown, but our prison ministry, a gift to the incarcerated Church, has increased enrollments by 46%! I am inspired by a growing number of donors who support CDU’s education of our incarcerated brothers and sisters. The Order of Malta recently awarded a $25,000 grant to CDU to load our course content on a new tablet approved for use in prisons.
Some of our recent enhancements include Federal Financial Aid, new courses and faculty, and a growing theological library. Our staff now includes our dynamic theological librarian, Sister Rebecca, and Professor Kathy Vestermark who, in addition to teaching in the BA program, is director of student life and retention to help support students who fall behind in classes.
Our strategic vision reflects a commitment to regional and programmatic accreditation, in addition to maintaining our current accreditation with the Distance Education Accrediting Commission. Fulfilling CDU’s Strategic Plan will enhance the value of a CDU credential for our graduates and demonstrate the effectiveness of our educational model through enhanced accreditation and the “joy from the truth” that comes from the encounter with the living word of God through our fidelity to the Church.
A new and inviting website (cdu.edu) was a perfect start to the new year! The new website is optimized for mobile devices and offers fresh and streamlined content with easy navigation. We welcome the world through this beautiful gateway into the intellectual richness and warmth of the CDU community.
You will hear a great deal in 2018 about the launch of a Comprehensive Fundraising Campaign to ensure that “joy from the truth” reaches the ends of the Earth through CDU, whose educational model fulfills Christ’s command to “Teach all nations,” especially the underserved. This beautiful path forward inspires all of us as the new year begins.