ABOUT DORDT COLLEGE
As an institution of higher education committed to the Reformed Christian perspective, the mission of Dordt College is to equip students, alumni, and the broader community to work effectively toward Christ-centered renewal in all aspects of contemporary life.
Our next president, with God’s help, will have the opportunity to advance the mission of Dordt College. It will be essential for the President to embrace and clearly articulate the Reformed Christian perspective and to commit wholeheartedly to the task of equipping the Dordt College community to work effectively toward Christ-centered renewal.
Central to the mission are:
Reformed Christian perspective. The vision and programs of Dordt College are firmly and intentionally grounded in a comprehensive kingdom perspective. By this we mean that Scripture and creation reveal a sovereign God, that all things are under his control and find their goal and purpose in his glory, and that the creation is his kingdom. Even though human disobedience has greatly disrupted our world, we are confident that God, with his Word of grace, reclaims his world through the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ. Through faith in Christ, we are restored to covenantal fellowship with God.
Equipping students, alumni, and the broader community to work effectively toward Christ-centered renewal. We believe that God created us in his image to “cultivate” creation by caring for its well-being and developing its potential. Because Christ rescued the creation from the curse of sin and reigns as king over it, we, his imagebearers and redeemed children, have work to do. We seek to transform culture and bring shalom to a broken world. Our task at Dordt College is to equip students to become insightful, obedient, and active servants in God’s world, working for the expression of his kingdom everywhere.
Dordt College is infused with the energy and excitement of an institution that is still young and the confidence of an institution that is already well-established. Through God’s blessing and the hard work of his servants dedicated to Christian higher education, Dordt has grown from the small beginnings of 5 faculty members, 35 students, and one building, to a vibrant institution of 80 faculty and over 1,400 students living and learning on a modern, well-equipped 115-acre campus.
Dordt College began in 1953 as Midwest Christian Junior College. The impetus for a new college was primarily the need for qualified teachers for Christian day schools in the area. When doors opened in 1955, the 35 students and five faculty members held classes in a new four-classroom building set on a former mink farm and surrounded by fields of crops.
Around the time the institution became a four-year college, its name was changed to Dordt College in honor of the historic Reformed synod held in Dordtrecht, the Netherlands, in 1618-1619, a synod which emphasized the sovereignty of God through his electing grace.
Over the past six decades, Dordt’s remarkable growth in size, offerings, and reputation has led us to exclaim in humble amazement, “What hath God wrought!” Dordt’s first four-year B.A. degrees were awarded to a graduating class of 58 in 1965. The college grew rapidly in the ’60s and ’70s, with enrollment climbing above 1,200. During this time the faculty grew as well; many faculty members, intending to teach here only a few years, became thoroughly committed to the college mission and remained for their entire careers. The initial faculty of five has grown to 80.
Although the initial academic emphasis was on teacher education, Dordt has greatly expanded its offerings to include programs in such diverse areas as agriculture, engineering, social work, criminal justice, biotechnology, international business, and theatre management. Dordt College is not only preparing students to serve in a wide variety of careers and occupations, but also to understand those fields as under God’s sovereignty and important in his Kingdom.
Dordt’s three presidents have provided leadership and commitment to a distinct vision for Christian higher education. Rev. B.J. Haan, who served from Dordt’s founding until 1982, worked tirelessly to lay the foundation that is today more clearly articulated in “The Educational Task of Dordt College." Dr. J.B. Hulst, a founder and early dean of students, was as ardently committed to that vision as his predecessor and supervised the development of a strategic plan for the future of the college, titled “Renewing the Vision.” Dr. Carl E. Zylstra, the first non-founder president, presented as his inaugural theme in 1996 “Living the Vision,” urging faculty and students to make the continuing educational vision concrete in their teaching, learning, and living.
Our fourth president will be privileged to serve a flourishing and stable Christian college, leading it forward on the basis of a strong foundation and clear vision as we continue to serve our students, our supporting constituency, and the broader Christian community.
Dordt College seeks to provide a holistic learning community in which classroom and other educational activities work hand-in-hand with every other aspect of a student's experience.
A kingdom perspective is integral to the curriculum. Dordt's curriculum, which is founded upon and guided by The Educational Task of Dordt College, is designed to help students develop Christian insight within a four-point framework:
- Religious orientation—knowing what we and others believe; acknowledging that the whole world belongs to God.
- Creational structure—understanding that God made the world as an interconnected whole, obedient and subject to his laws.
- Cultural development—knowing how our world developed and that everything we do affects the world for good or for evil.
- Contemporary response—translating what we learn into thoughts and actions that will help us live and work in the world as Christ's disciples.
Dordt's core curriculum provides a foundation of history, philosophy, theology, and communication skills. Other core courses in language and the arts, the natural sciences, and the social sciences provide a broad context for more specialized studies. Majors, accredited pre-professional programs, and a master's program provide in-depth insight into the nature and demands of a variety of vocations and professions. A capstone course helps students apply the four themes of the Educational Framework to contemporary issues as they move from the academic setting into a larger world.
Dordt College is also attentive to the ways in which classroom learning is enhanced by structured educational experiences outside the classroom. The curriculum includes a cross-cultural component that requires students to explore another culture, either through course work, study abroad, or volunteer service. In addition, Dordt College has encouraged faculty to develop service-learning opportunities, which combine reading and research with planning and executing a related service project, followed by active reflection on the activities and outcomes of that project.
Dordt College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. In addition, the social work, engineering, education and nursing programs are accredited by their respective professional organizations.
About 85 percent of Dordt College students live on campus. The Dordt College experience includes much more than the time students spend in the classroom or in other curricular activities. The non-curricular aspects of college life play a vital role in implementing the educational task of Dordt College. Because of that integral role, we use the term "co-curricular" to describe the wide range of activities we provide that develop and enhance what is taught in the curriculum. The college works to foster an attitude of service and loving obedience by planning social and devotional activities as well as community-building and service projects. Such activities are not considered mere additions to the academic task, but a critical part of developing serviceable Christian insight.
Dordt College occupies a modern, well-equipped 115-acre campus in Sioux Center, an attractive, forward-looking community in Northwest Iowa that is approximately an hour drive from two airports served by major airlines. We are an 85 percent residential school, enrolling over 1,350 students from more than 30 states, seven Canadian provinces, and 15 other countries.