Researching the Future

For the past year, the senior leadership team, the faculty, the trustees and I have been living in that most unpredictable yet intriguing land — the future. We have been contemplating what Hendrix should focus on now to be successful into the future. Our eyes are set on 2022 and beyond.

It is our goal not to predict the future, but to shape it. We can help shape the future by doing all we can to ensure that Hendrix remains relevant in our changing world. We will stay relevant by adapting to new technologies, incorporating new ideas and acting on new knowledge, which is being created every day in astonishing amounts. We will also remain relevant by staying true to our roots as a United Methodist-related residential liberal arts college with a deep and abiding commitment to excellence. When students go away to college they expect an experience. We will offer them a Hendrix experience rooted in our authenticity and our distinctive culture.

With this as our goal, we will build on the success of Your Hendrix Odyssey: Engaging in Active Learning, the College’s emphasis on hands-on learning that permeates the campus. Claiming engaged learning as our niche has positioned Hendrix as a national leader in liberal arts and sciences education.

Launching Odyssey in 2004 was a bold move on the part of the campus. We stepped out with the Odyssey concept before we had raised all the money needed to fund it. But we didn’t step out blindly, with no hint of how the idea of Odyssey might be received. We conducted empirical research that told us Odyssey — if well executed — would raise our national profile and increase enrollment. Follow-up research has confirmed that our 40 percent growth in enrollment between 2004 and 2010 can be traced directly to the Odyssey program. Odyssey also has been the primary focus of much of the national attention Hendrix has received since 2004 and is one of the reasons U.S. News & World Report has listed Hendrix as the nation’s most innovative liberal arts college for the past three years. As we move forward with new initiatives now under discussion, we will once again rely on research to help guide us. We are inspired by the possibilities of what Odyssey 2.0 might look like, enhancing the ethos of Hendrix College.

The stories in this edition of Hendrix Magazine celebrate how our faculty, staff, students and alumni involved in various forms of research are expanding knowledge, advancing learning and doing meaningful and rewarding work that engages them and benefits humankind. I encourage you to explore the magazine to learn more about the impact of Hendrix-related research on the world.

I am excited about the vision we are developing for the future of Hendrix. Many of you have been involved in our planning through surveys, meetings, and private conversations. It’s fun and exciting to play “what if” and imagine tomorrow. It will be even more fun and more exciting to come together around our emerging vision and begin our own odyssey to transform that vision into reality. There will be much work to do between now and 2022 but, guided by research and grounded in our commitment to engaged liberal arts and sciences education, we will, together, see Hendrix reach new heights of success.

J. Timothy Cloyd, Ph.D.
President