In the fall of 2019, the Murdock Trust invited Corban and a select number of schools to a colloquium focused on leading for change in higher education. “The main discussion was how we can move higher levels of sustainability, especially for relatively small private institutions,” says Provost Dr. Tom Cornman.
As a result of this meeting, Corban was encouraged by the Murdock Trust to submit a grant proposal outlining their plan for increasing sustainability and prompting change in higher education. The proposal was accepted by the Murdock trust and fully funded to the amount of $745,500.
Corban’s plan involves building a robust online platform to increase educational opportunities for seekers of college degrees of any age or stage in life. “There are 37 million Americans who started a college degree and never finished it, and many are looking for a way to complete their degree without disrupting their whole lives,” says Cornman. “We have a wonderful opportunity to bring our Christ-centered education to students who do not have the capacity to come to our campus either as a commuter or residential student, but who still want to learn and grow in a Christian environment.”
Cornman sees this initiative as yet another move by the University towards offering relevant, quality, cost-effective education to anyone looking to obtain a college degree. “Whether you started college 30 years ago and never finished or are in your early thirties and realizing you need a college degree, this gives them a platform to complete their degree in a fashion that fits their current life demands,” he says.
As a part of this grant, Corban will now begin the actively hiring for the fulltime position of Assistant Provost for Nontraditional Education. This additional leadership role will help to drive the effort and prepare Corban to launch a meaningful experience for new students in the Fall of 2021.
Through Murdock’s incredible involvement through the process and generous financial support, Corban is poised to not only continue its mission of educating Christians who will make a difference in the world for Jesus Christ, but to further it, reaching even more people than before. For Cornman, the grant award is affirmation of the importance of this mission and Corban’s ability to carry it out with the support of a committed community who shares this vision. “Murdock is the premier partner for private institutions in the Pacific Northwest,” he says, “and when they support a project like this, what they’re saying is we have confidence in the institution that they can achieve the goals that have been set out for the purpose of this grant and that we have a plan to do something that will make a strategic difference. We are incredibly blessed and grateful.”