ARCU maintains a relationship with the Global Summit Network of Presidents of Reformed Colleges and Universities around the world. The Executive Director of ARCU currently serves as Coordinator for the Global Summit Network (GSN).
The GSN meets every three years. Previous meetings have been held in Paris (France), Oxford (England), and Ede (The Netherlands).
Upcoming meetings are scheduled for Toronto (Canada) on 23 – 25 June 2016 and Budapest (Hungary) in June 2019.
Current members of the GSN steering committee are Roy Atwood (United States), Jacob Schaap (Netherlands), and John Senyonyi (Uganda).
Participation in the GSN is restricted to Presidents, Vice Chancellors and other chief executive leaders of institutions that are interested in applying a Reformed philosophy of education. Participants provide mutual encouragement and advice between the triennial Summits through a network maintained by the Coordinator. Participants also are eligible to participate in the Reformed Identity Consultancy process described below.
Additional information is available from the Executive Director of ARCU (Zylstra@reformedcolleges.org).
REFORMED IDENTITY CONSULTANCY - Guiding Principles
At the Global Summit in June of 2010 it became clear that perhaps the primary way that we can
be of assistance to our institutions, other than holding future summits, is to establish a Reformed
Identity Consultancy. Flowing from our conviction that, as Reformed Christian institutions, we
wish to intentionally reflect Christ’s renewing work claims all areas of our institutions, we have
an opportunity to assist each other to grow and develop in this calling as part of a commitment to
Christian excellence and professionalism in teaching, scholarship and service.
There is also not a single template that will fit all institutions. Instead, their varied character
means that a number of ways of utilizing such a consultancy are possible. What follows is an
attempt to lay down some general principles for such reviews, while also allowing for a variety of
ways of implementing them to allow for appropriate flexibility across institutions.
2. Overview, Approval and Prospective Consultants
Given the consensus to proceed with a pilot project, these guiding principles reflect the advice of
the Steering Committee and representatives of the institutions involved in the Global Summit.
These institutional heads will also be asked to indicate their willingness to serve as potential
consultants from which the institution using the consultancy can make its selection.
3. Purpose and Process
The following purpose and process are set forth as guidelines to assist an institution in mounting
a review process that is thorough, constructive and related to the overall strategic goals of the
institution and its Reformed identity. Each institution will tailor these guidelines to fit its specific
situation and goals.
The purpose of the review process is to assist the host institution to assess whatever areas it
designates and to examine how these can be further improved and developed in the light of its
Reformed Identity as that institution defines it. For example, a review could be designed to:
- evaluate an institution’s curriculum and academic programs
- assess its co-curricular program and spiritual formation
- review its student placements and the strength of its graduates
- evaluate its faculty hiring, faculty development and scholarship
- suggest ways to improve existing courses, policies or practices
- assist in planning for future opportunities and challenges
3.2 Process Overview
The review process will vary depending on the institution; however, it is helpful to keep in mind
the following five dimensions or stages: (1) the initiation of the review; (2) the completion of the
institutional dossier; (3) the preparation and visit of the consultancy group; (4) the submission of
and response to the review report; and (5) the implementation of the review report.
4. Review Process (the actual time table will vary for each institution)
4.1 Initiation of the Review
Normally, an institution will request a review up to one year, and preferably not less than six
months, before the date of the expected visit of the Consultancy Group. The request will go to the
ARCU Executive Director for information and record keeping, together with a suggested time
frame for the review and nominations for the Consultancy Group, including the chair. As soon as
possible thereafter a specific date for the visit should be set.
4.2 Completion of the Institutional Dossier
The institution will determine what will be included in its dossier, depending on the focus of the
review. All dossiers will include the documentation relevant to the institution’s Reformed
religious identity. Normally, the dossier will be sent to the Consultancy Group for their review
and preparation for a campus visit at least one month before the visit. The Group has the
opportunity to request additional background information in preparation for its campus visit.
Requests are made by the chair to the head of the institution or other designated person.
4.3 Visit and Report of the Committee (Visit typically in late October, February or May)
The Committee or reviewer(s) will spend up to two days on campus to observe the institution in
action and meet with interested parties. Expenses for lodging are paid by the host institution,
unless other arrangements are made, and reviewers are expected to volunteer their time and may
be asked to cover their travel costs for institutions that otherwise cannot afford a consultancy.
A campus visit will typically include the following: a preliminary meeting of the Group in
camera; discussions with the designated institutional representatives, who can provide needed
information and background; meetings with relevant administrators, faculty, students, Board
members and/or employers; a second meeting with the institutional representatives; a second
meeting of the Committee in camera to discuss preliminary assessments; and a final meeting
with the institutional representatives to provide preliminary feedback on the assessment.
Each member of the Group will provide written comments on the review to the chair, and he or
she will write a consolidated report with a list of recommendations on which there is a consensus
among the Committee members or between the reviewers. This is due four weeks after the visit.
4.4 Response to the Report
After the final report is received from the Group, the institution will have the opportunity to
respond to any parts of the report in order to request further information or clarification to ensure
an appropriate review and communication. This response should be completed with two weeks of
receipt of the report, and the Group’s response should be returned with an additional two weeks.
4.5 Implementation of the Report
The completed report is the property of the host institution, and the manner of circulation,
discussion and implementation of the report is at its discretion. As a courtesy, it may choose to
inform the Consultancy Group of any outcomes that have resulted from the review process.
5. Ad Hoc Consultancy Group
Once a list of potential reviewers has been prepared, this will be circulated to the Global Summit
institutions. Presidents of other Reformed institutions may be included in a Consultancy Group if
this is deemed suitable by a particular institution for its review.
The Group’s mandate is to provide constructive assessment and encouragement by: (1) reviewing
the institutional documentation in the light of the stated purpose and objectives of the review
process as outlined by the host institution; (2) conducting an on-site visit in order to make a
firsthand assessment of the institution and its functioning; (3) and producing and submiting a
written report on its findings, with recommendations for improvements where appropriate and
any suggestions for the institution’s further development.
A Consultancy Group will normally consist of two or perhaps three external members, along
with one resource person from the host institution who will not participate in the in camera
sessions. Typically, nominees are at arms-length (e.g. not current professional colleagues or close
associates) and are to be contacted only by the person designated by the institution.
The host institution contacts the nominees and confirms their availability and willingness to
participate in the review and the financial arrangements. The final list of reviewers is shared with
the ARCU Executive Director as a public record of who participates in reviews over time.
6. Checklist of Review Documents
The documents for an Identity Consultancy will vary depending on the institution but will usually
include such things as:
- the religious identity documents of the institution
- the current academic calendar/catalogue and strategic plan
- the relevant policies and budget for the area(s) being reviewed
- a list of relevant administrators, faculty, staff, students, Board members and/or employers
who will participate in the review
- the stated purpose and objectives of the review that the report should address
- any other relevant documents the institution would like to include in the dossier
7. Consultancy Group’s Campus Visit
The Consultancy Group members will usually be given the institution’s dossier, as well as the
guiding policies and procedures for the Reformed Identity Consultancy, one month before the
campus visit. If additional information is required before or during the campus visit, the Group
chair will request it from the designated institutional representative.
7.2 Campus Visit
The campus visit will be scheduled at an appropriate time in the fall, winter or spring semester,
with the date to be set at least two months in advance to plan transportation and other
arrangements. Specific details will be worked out between the Group chair, reviewers and the
institutional representative. (For other details on the visit, see 4.3 above.)
7.3 Review Report
The report will be prepared with input from each external member of the Group. If this process is
not completed at the time of the visit, within two weeks each person will send to the Group chair
their independent assessment of the institution. Within two to four weeks of the visit, the chair
will submit a consolidated report (of those comments, recommendations and suggestions on
which there is consensus among all involved in the review).
8. Policy on Confidentiality
The requirements of confidentiality shall be strictly maintained in carrying out a review and by
all those persons and bodies involved in the assessment, discussion and dissemination of a report.
The report is the property of the institution; reviewers are not at liberty to disclose its contents.
9. Institutional Participants
Twenty Reformed Christian institutions agreed to be part of the Global Summit in Oxford in
June 2010 and thereby could included in a ten-year cycle, if the pilot project is successful. This
would assume that normally there would be two reviews per year, if all institutions choose to
participate. Other institutions that were not at the 2010 Summit could be included in the future.