Grace College Introduces Three-Year Accelerated Degree Option, Demonstrates Academic Innovation

As Grace College recognizes the need for a change in American higher education, it is working to “reimagine” the typical college experience and challenge the traditional assumptions about the way the nation does college.

In June, Grace announced an entire plan to meet the needs of what it sees as a changing generation and a changing educational environment. The president of Grace College, Dr. Ronald Manahan, said that the changes to take place are a response to people’s concerns and problems with higher education as a whole – problems such as high cost and outdated teaching methods.

The reimagined academic design, which Grace faculty and staff began working on last June, is centered around five essential pillars: academic innovation, accelerated degree options, affordability for families, applied learning emphasis, and adherence to the mission. As a result of the new design, students in each of Grace’s 50-plus areas of study will have the option to graduate in three years with a bachelor’s degree, four years with a bachelor’s and master’s degree, or four years with a bachelor’s degree.

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, who recently began calling for Indiana colleges to institute accelerated degree options, called the program “academically innovative” and noted Grace College as a leader in higher education.

Grace seeks to be on the forefront of academic innovation not only with the introduction of the three-year degree option, but with the entire classroom and learning experience. Manahan said the design will strengthen Grace’s competency-based curriculum with innovative environments, technologies and experiences.

“Students need to learn skills, know how to do research, and find answers to new problems and circumstances,” he said.

The reimagined curriculum has been designed with the goal of moving toward the future direction of education and appealing to the learning styles of a millennial generation.

According to Dr. Jim Swanson, Vice President of Student Affairs and Academic Services at Grace, Millennial students “are responsive to experiential pedagogy. They crave innovation in the classroom, connection with faculty and learning that echoes genuine reality.”

Grace College is an evangelical Christian community of higher education which applies biblical values in strengthening character, sharpening competence, and preparing for service. The academic, residential, athletic, and social aspects of the college are designed to encourage intellectual and spiritual growth in a supportive campus community. The 165-acre campus is located in the historic resort town of Winona Lake, near Warsaw, Ind. It has historically been among the top schools of its size and listed in U.S. News & World Report as one of America’s Best Colleges. The Princeton Review has regularly awarded it the title of a “Best Midwestern College.”

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