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The Strategic Plan of SSU is a way for our learning community to chart the pilgrimage route ahead of us for the next three years.

St. Stephen’s University is entering a new era as a graduate school of theology, peace and reconciliation, refocusing on our graduate certificates and master’s degree programs. As with any transition, a period of reflection and planning is needed to devise the means that are suited to the ends we wish to achieve. This process needs to be completed with

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sensitivity, creativity, and the coordination of the many moving parts that make up the whole. With gratitude to our past, we remain anchored to our core values of justice, beauty, and compassion through academic, personal, and spiritual formation.

  

SSU’s Office of the President produced the strategic plan that you are about to read in consultation with the Strategic Plan Working Group that was assembled from members of the Board of Governors and external invitees in the fall of 2023 after our undergraduate programs were suspended. We have called this strategic plan ‘Anchored with Wings’ to reflect our desire to honour our rich past that brought us to the present and opportunities for taking flight into a meaningful and vibrant future.

  

This strategic plan contains five priorities that are divided into a total of twenty-two goals, all of which are waypoints on the reimagined and recharted pilgrimage route ahead of us. We invite friends and partners to consider how you can support SSU as we embark on this path.

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Preamble
BRIDGING PEOPLE
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                 n behalf of our faculty, staff, and student body, it

                 is my privilege to extend warm greetings to

                 supportive friends of St. Stephen’s University. As the incoming Principal, I feel honoured to introduce this new stage in SSU’s pilgrimage. Our motto, “Anchored with Wings,” expresses how each program explores the ancient depths and soaring heights of our community’s signature values — justice, beauty, and compassion.

 

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At SSU, we are bridging people and breaking down barriers to cultivate hope and trust with a beautiful gospel of inclusivity committed to the restoration of all things.

  • In our School of Theology & Culture, we gather cohorts that bridge our polarized culture, transcending the us-them hostilities of spectrum ideology and theological divisiveness with lives of self-giving love.

  • In the Jim Forest Institute, we gather and equip aspiring activists and everyday peacemakers of diverse faith(s) who long to build bridges of peace and justice amid local and global conflicts.

  • In the Centre for Reconciliation Studies, we desire to walk together with Indigenous partners over bridges of mutual understanding and dialogue into a future hope of our connectedness to creation and to one another.

   

Across all programs, we are an academic and contemplative community where the “unwelcomed” can belong, experience healing, and become bridging agents of reconciliation in the world.

THE SSU SCHOOL OF THEOLOGY & CULTURE

JIM FOREST INSTITUTE FOR RELIGION, PEACE & JUSTICE

CENTRE FOR RECONCILIATION STUDIES

SSU is a graduate studies learning community comprised of three schools that each bring this mandate to life in unique ways.

Bradley Jersak, PhD

PRINCIPAL of ST. STEPHEN'S UNIVERSITY
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Bridging People
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SSU's Faith Identity

SSU is chartered by the Province of New Brunswick as a private Christian university, which we have interpreted through our shared vision of "engaging and reconciling communities through a relational, contemplative, and transformative university education."

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SSU's Mission

The Mission of St. Stephen's University is to prepare people, through academic, personal, and spiritual development, for a life of justice, beauty, and compassion, enabling a humble, creative engagement with their world.

Faith Identity & Mission

The Priorities and Goals of SSU's Strategic Plan 2027

Click on the tabs of the Priorities and Goals below to read the full descriptions.

  • BIB 5726: John's Apocalypse – Team Taught – 3 credit hours
    Regardless of what religious persuasion a person identifies with, the idea of looking into a crystal ball to see the future or "end times" has sparked the curiosity of just about every person on the planet. (Have you heard of the "Left Behind" Series?) Not surprisingly, Apocalypse (or the book of Revelation) has fascinated students of the Bible for centuries. Yet, because of the unique way it was written (riddled with symbolism and metaphor wrapped in visions and dreams) it has also stimulated more controversy and debate than probably any other book in the Bible. There is no shortage of opinions about the meaning of this book. But what if Revelation was meant to be read as a companion to John's Gospel, similar to Luke-Acts? We are excited to take a deep dive and explore this question, along with a plethora of other questions that this provocative book offers. Instructors: V. Rev. Dr John Behr Dr. Bradley Jersak Wm. Paul Young Dr. Cherith Nordling Fee Kenneth Tanner John MacMurray Guest Panalists: Brian Zahnd Julie Canlis Dr. Chris E.W. Green Visit https://www.opentableconference.com/revelation-class for more info.
  • BIB 5728: Hebrews – Team Taught – 3 credit hours
    The book of Hebrews is structured very much like a letter but it reads like a sermon. It contains some of the most sophisticated writing in the NT, yet for all the glory of its’ prose it remains an enigma to many and is ignored by most. Like a textual bridge linking the Old and the New, this brilliant piece of ancient literature connects all of scripture as the revelation of Jesus Christ. We invite you to walk with our panel as we discuss how and why the writer of Hebrews believes that Jesus is superior to all that we have ever known or ever will know. This promises to be another thought provoking and delightfully encouraging adventure in discovering how good God really is. Like our previous discussions of the Gospel of John and the Apocalypse, this event will be a unique experience offering a panel of six highly qualified biblical scholars and theologians contributing insights and perspective in our discussions of Hebrews. Instructors: V. Rev. Dr John Behr Dr. Bradley Jersak Dr. Chris E.W. Green Dr. Cherith Nordling Fee Kenneth Tanner John MacMurray Guest Panalists: Brian Zahnd Julie Canlis Wm. Paul Young Visit https://www.opentableconference.com/hebrews-class for more info.
  • BIB 5729: John's Paschal Gospel – Team Taught – 3 credit hours
    For two thousand years the Gospel of John has been one of the most essential texts in shaping the theological landscape of the Jesus Way. The profound impact of John continues for his ancient narrative has captured the imagination and love of every one of our panelists and continues to ground and shape their lives. Instructors: V. Rev. Dr John Behr Dr. Bradley Jersak Wm. Paul Young Dr. Cherith Nordling Fee Kenneth Tanner John MacMurray Visit https://www.opentableconference.com/john-class for more info.

PRIORITY 1

ENSURE FINANCIAL VIABILITY AND SUSTAINABILITY

Serving our students and wider community of friends and supporters is why SSU exists, but this is not possible unless the University is financially stable and has the breathing room to offer our unique programs, execute our much-needed mission and purpose in an increasingly polarized world, and ensure that the needs of our faculty and staff are taken care of in terms of compensation, resources, and support without the stress and burden of financial uncertainty. SSU therefore has a plan to increase revenue even as we increase expenditures that will position us well to carry out our mission, purpose, and vision in a sustainable manner by avoiding the pitfalls of “infinite growth” models that have proven to be unpredictable and at times disastrous for other institutions of higher learning similar to SSU.

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GOALS OF PRIORITY 1:

Priorities & Goals

You invest in people so

we can invest in people.

When you invest in SSU’s future, our priority is to ensure that our community of staff and faculty are taken care of so that they can in turn invest themselves fully in modelling our core values of justice, beauty, and compassion throughout the wider SSU community, including students, alumni, partners, and friends.


Whereas other institutions of higher education have large overhead in the form of facilities maintenance and operations expenses, a larger portion of your financial support goes directly to the people who make up SSU. This is because we have intentionally designed our hybrid-distance, short residential, and travel-study program delivery models in a way that keeps tuition costs down for our students and operations and facilities expenses to a minimum compared to other private, non-profit universities that do not receive government funding or denominational support.
 

We hope you will join us in investing in SSU’s community.

 

Budgets

Projected Budgets for SSU's Strategic Plan 2027

Click on the tabs below to view the projected budgets that will support the priorities and goals of SSU Strategic Plan 2027.

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Support SSU's Strategic Plan

Whether you want to give a designated or undesignated donation to support the priorities and goals of SSU's strategic plan or partner with us, we welcome you into the SSU community and want to hear from you.

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Download the full Strategic Plan

View and share a PDF of SSU's full strategic plan by clicking the download button below. We encourage you to share this booklet with folks you know who might want to support SSU and partners with us.

Support the Plan
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