The Indiana Wesleyan University Board of Trustees voted unanimously on October 4 to authorize the creation of the University’s first international campus through the acquisition of Wesley Institute in Sydney, Australia. The decision follows 18 months of joint exploration.
Wesley Institute, Australia’s first and leading Christian arts college, is an evangelical, not-for-profit Christian higher education provider. With 30 years of operation, WI is accredited to deliver on-campus and online programs, including postgraduate to master’s level degrees in teacher education, counseling, leadership and applied ethics, and music, and programs at bachelor level including dance, drama, music and graphic design. WI is an affiliate member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities.
IWU, one of the largest evangelical Christian universities in the USA, seeks to become a diverse and global Christian learning community. The University offers a master’s of education degree in China, operates a study-abroad center in Zambia, has hundreds of students participating annually in study-abroad programs, and through Wesley Seminary at IWU offers a master of divinity in Columbia. IWU is taking steps to acquire a large existing group of Christian international Spanish language programs offered in the Caribbean and Latin America.
“Through this emerging partnership, with God’s guidance and blessing, we hope to broaden Wesley Institute’s course offerings and elevate its status to that of a fully-recognized university – the first such evangelical Christian university in Australia,” said IWU President Dr. David Wright. “It is our shared vision that the university established in Australia will serve the Asia-Pacific region and will enable student and faculty exchanges between the region and North America.”
Dr. Greg Rough, chief executive, will remain in his leadership position at Wesley Institute. Dr. Duane Kilty, chief financial officer and vice president for Business Affairs, and Dr. Bridget Aitchison, dean for International Programs, will lead the initiative for IWU.
“Church leadership in New Zealand and Australia tells us that 70% of their young people lose their faith upon attending a government university. Additionally, the needs of working adults are not being served by universities in the accelerated, andragogical model for which IWU is known,” said Aitchison. “Through this acquisition, two missionally-aligned institutions will be able to provide a high-quality education that is grounded in a Biblical worldview to both types of students.”
Phillip Cave AM, chairman of the Wesley Institute Board, said, “We are very excited about the next phase of Wesley Institute’s development, elevating the institution to university status and growing our outreach across Asia-Pacific.”
The vote occurred during the first IWU Board of Trustees meeting under President Wright’s leadership. Wright was inaugurated as the University’s ninth president earlier that day. The acquisition is pending all necessary approvals by the Higher Learning Commission.
Slider photo: Corey Leopold