The future of a hypothetical college is cast into two scenarios, one leading to success, the other to failure.

Future scenarios” allow an organization to examine the different futures that could result from the interaction of possible future conditions and actions. These two contrasting scenarios about a fictitious Christian college are based on likely environmental factors and “reasonable” actions a Christian college might take. They are simply examples. “Futuring” is primarily about flexibility and readiness; it does not depend on predicting the future.

Mariner College: 1982–90

Mariner College is a fictitious Christian college of liberal arts and sciences that combines the rigorous integration of faith and learning with a rich program of sports and other cocurricular activities in the context of warm and supportive Christian friendships. The beautiful tree-covered campus offers the 1,000 students and 60 faculty members an ideal setting in which to learn and grow together. Total student charges for tuition, room, board, and normal expenses for 1982–83 are $6,000, and the average ACT (American College Test) score is 20, slightly above the national average.

Scenario One: The College That Fails

The opening fall enrollment in 1982 declines 2 percent, ending a 12-year string of increases. The unexpected loss of student revenues is absorbed by deferring several maintenance projects, which include carpeting and redecorating a large dorm and reducing faculty travel allowances.

To make up the loss, and as protection against the chance of further enrollment slippages, President I. M. Fine obtains trustee approval of a 12 percent increase in student charges for 1983–84. He also decides to phase out the popular but expensive music major, ...

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