BLUFFTON — Bluffton University’s president Dr. Jane Wood gave her State of the University speech Tuesday inside Yoder Recital Hall on the Bluffton campus.
Wood focused on current trends in higher education and employment which directly impact students.
She also touted a new report out this week from U.S. News & World Report listing the best colleges in the country.
Bluffton ranked No. 26 among 78 comparable institutions for the Best Regional Colleges in the Midwest, No. 19 for Best Value Schools and No. 26 for the Top Performers on Social Mobility among midwest colleges.
Wood also discussed a new initiative for students.
“We start with the freshmen year and we’re taking our entire freshman class, starting next year, to the Great Smoky Mountains to learn about each other. They can learn more about where they think their strengths and weaknesses are — what their vocation might be. We’re also going to ask them to reflect on their faith journey,” said Wood.
“Their sophomore year, we’re going to be doing learning in the community. They will be doing a great deal of service work, primarily in Lima, and learn about what makes good communities, how can they be of service to that,” Wood added.
“Their junior year they will be studying abroad. We ask them to think about what does it mean to be a citizen of the world and how is that important in their world,” she said.
“In their senior year, we ask them, ‘What then shall we do?’ We ask them to think about a problem, a global problem and how they come together as a team to solve it,” she said.
Wood also discussed the characteristics of the new generation coming to Bluffton University or Gen Z.
“They bring so much. They were born around September of 9/11. They have grown up with lots of streaming media. They have grown up with information they have at their fingertips so they have a lot of filters and so I think that can be helpful to them. What we want to do is to help them to discern which of this information is useful to them, how can they interpret it, how can they use the skill set that they have, indeed, to make the world a better place and to be strong believers,” she said.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.