Tabor adds online opportunities and graduate studies location

One of the biggest stories at Tabor College in 2019 was the opening of a new location for the School for Graduate studies, and additional online opportunities. Those two programs are now occupying the former Hillsboro Mennonite Brethren Foundation building at 315 S. Lincoln.

And Tabor College president Jules Glanzer reviewed the school’s efforts in the area of graduate studies.

“In 1994, Tabor established a site to reach adults who wanted to complete their degrees in the Wichita area,” he said.

As a result of that, the college launched master’s programs to include:

MBA, which is a master’s degree in business administration, covering a variety of opportunities in marketing, finance, human resources, operations, entrepreneurship and more.

MEI, which is a degree in ministry entrepreneurship and innovation, offering students personalized guidance and strategic leadership skills.

MSN or master’s degree in nursing education is a program designed to help students fill critical workforce needs, and

MED, or master’s degree in education, which helps students to address the diverse needs of learners in a classroom or work environment.

With more and more use of online education in the last decade, Glanzer said the face of education is ever-changing, particularly in a world with rapid technology advancement.

“Although we touched about 3,000 people who have been a part of our various programs, it changed so all students were online in the program, and it didn’t matter where it was located,” Glanzer said. “Our professors were from across the nation, too.”

Frank Johnson, Tabor’s executive vice president of academics and compliance, expressed pleasure with the Hillsboro location.

“I’m especially excited that graduate studies has come home,” he said. “In my opinion, to have the entire college right here in this community is an advantage. We serve not only Kansas, but students from all over the world. We are poised for significant growth in our online graduate programs.”

He also said there are “a number of programs in the hopper,” to include new ministry programs.

Johnson said that, historically, Tabor’s largest program has been nursing, led by director Tammy Stefek.

“More than 60 percent of our (online) graduates have been nurses, whether they be RN-to-BSN students or MSN students,” he added. “We want to expand our portfolio of programs in the coming days, and we look forward to partnering with area businesses and Chamber members to see how we can work together.”

Lauren Ensey, Hillsboro Chamber president, participated in the ribbon cutting, drawing about 80 people from the campus and community.

“I know you are delighted to be back in Hillsboro,” Ensey said about the move. “We are just as delighted for that, too.”

More building projects

Another important step happening on the campus was the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Shari Flaming Welcome Center, which will be located on D Street.

Designed by WDM Architecture, the two-story, 8,400 square-foot facility will be located between the campus library and student center, according to information provided.

And, the building should be ready to use by summer 2020.

“For some time now, we have longed for a new welcome center to make our prospective students and campus guests feel welcomed,” Glanzer said. “And, we desired to create a campus entrance that would provide a positive first impression for our guests and help us create a strong culture of hospitality.”

Funding for the building was provided as a gift by Chuck and Shari Flaming.

“This welcome center is a gift of love, representing a husband’s love for his wife rather than Man’s love, and a couple’s love for the mission and vision of Tabor,” Glanzer said.

Interest in the project surfaced about four years ago, when Chuck Flaming visited the campus and said: “Jules, your welcome center doesn’t look good. You need a new one.”

Glanzer encouraged Flaming to give the project some thought. A few months later, Flaming responded: “My wife was known for hospitality, and was a gracious hostess. People felt welcomed by her. I’d like to give you a welcome center in her honor.”

Glanzer said developing a culture of hospitality is a campus priority.

“The reason for that is so we can impact more students and better fulfill our mission to prepare people for a life of learning and service for Christ and his kingdom.”

Adapting to meet the needs of students

As new technologies and methods become available, the way colleges teach, and are taught must by necessity change. And, for Tabor, while the core principles and basics of education remain, the method by which these are accomplished must adapt to meet the needs of students and the workforce.

Consequently, to ensure the future of Tabor, Glanzer said that in the 2019-20 fiscal year they are adjusting to the right-size while investing in programs and ventures to boost opportunities.

For the past two years, he said, expenses exceeded revenue which meant the college was using reserves and borrowing to take care of operations.

In order to prevent expenses from exceeding revenue for a third consecutive year, the Tabor board of directors approved a series of actions to reduce budget expenses. This included a 2 percent expense reduction from current levels.

Other revenue reducing measures were freezing salaries, relocating Tabor’s online programs from Wichita to the Hillsboro campus and reducing payroll by more than $500,000, Glanzer explained.

Even though a lot of difficult decisions were made, Glanzer said that as 2019 comes to a close, the overall financial position of Tabor College is “solid and strong.”