A tradition is much more than a long-standing habit. It has to be cherished, believed, and nurtured with a purpose. When Dr. Colleen Keith arrived at Pfeiffer University as president, she found a tradition that needed to shine again.
With all of the different strategic initiatives, new building projects, and innovative programs that President Keith has championed, one Pfeiffer tradition at the forefront of her mind was required to make everything work: Pfeiffer’s tradition of a personalized education that encourages strong core values, lifelong learning, and personal growth. By invigorating Pfeiffer’s commitment to a holistic education, which includes robust experiential learning opportunities, updated curricula, and student development, President Keith has prioritized making Pfeiffer University home to all students, faculty, staff, alumni and the community.
To create and preserve this atmosphere, President Keith first acted by example.
A visible president
One of Dr. Keith’s very first decisions after she was named president was to re-open the President’s House on the Misenheimer campus and live there. Students, faculty, and staff immediately felt the impact of having President Keith on campus. From walking the family dogs with her husband Barry, to eating dinner with students in the dining hall, and cheering on each of the falcon sport teams, her presence has made the Pfeiffer experience feel personal again.
With new momentum and energy on the Misenheimer campus (which has carried over to the Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham campuses), pioneering and updating student development initiatives have come to the forefront. President Keith’s decision to return the president to campus, which seems small, sets the stage for significant developments. The traditions and allure of Pfeiffer have once again become evident, from the daily interactions with students to the growth that they experience in the classroom. Through updated curricula, the Pfeiffer Journey program, and new student groups, Pfeiffer is staying true to—and further committing to—preparing servant leaders through personal development inside and outside of the classroom.
The Pfeiffer experience
Beginning in the Fall 2017 semester, Pfeiffer will expand its undergraduate experience by incorporating Pfeiffer Life, adding a co-curricular aspect to the Pfeiffer Journey program. Pfeiffer Life will bridge classroom study, along with life at Pfeiffer University and the world, by having multiple programming categories. Students will also be able to engage in micro-credentialing opportunities that demonstrate their capabilities in the different programs. Pfeiffer Life, incorporated with the Pfeiffer Journey, will be phased in to replace the university’s previous cultural credit program.
To further the undergraduate growth for students outside of the classroom, Pfeiffer is expanding living-learning communities by adding a criminal justice community. In addition, the largest honors college community in the history of the school started this Fall. Students can engage on campus via increased service opportunities provided by the Francis Center for Servant Leadership and Faith Formation. The Pfeiffer community has participated in local service opportunities and (so far) has provided over 400 pounds of produce for local food banks!
But Misenheimer is not the only Pfeiffer campus renewing and increasing student engagement. Graduate and adult students have many of the same opportunities as undergraduate students, in addition to student groups specifically for them. Pfeiffer’s Master of Health Administration (MHA) program recently installed an Upsilon Phi Delta (UPD) Honor Society chapter, offered through the Association of University Programs in Health Administration (AUPHA).
Pfeiffer’s Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham campuses continue to engage, not only students, but their local communities as well. Through Pfeiffer’s Partnership Program and collaborative projects with academic programs, Pfeiffer is able to make an impact in the community, both for employers and current students.
The student experience has always been at the core of what makes Pfeiffer unique and personal. Through personal relationships with faculty, a tightknit campus community, and engaging opportunities, Pfeiffer has provided a holistic educational experience. Now, with President Keith’s drive to renew and hold true to Pfeiffer’s traditions, the university will be able to grow and continue to produce graduates ready to serve and make an impact all over the world.