In the next few posts I’d like to go over particular highlights of our Assurance Argument findings. This is an expansion of the summary we presented in Session 2 of the Faculty and Staff Sessions on Friday Aug. 12, 2016. At one point or another in our Argument, all of the divisions university-wide are discussed, because accreditation is not just for Academics; it is for all of us. Yes, as an institution, our primary business is education, but I think we all realize that Academics alone cannot accomplish this. It really does take all of us. So, if I fail to mention your area in this summary, please forgive me and know that you are in our Argument and you are very important and necessary.
The Mission Drives Cedarville. The first Criterion we must support is Mission. We are proving that everything we do is related to the Mission. Every division has a Mission Statement that flows out of and supports the University’s Mission. In addition to all faculty and staff operations guided by the Mission, criteria for student admission to the University are consistent with the Mission. The Mission further supports admitted students by their adherence to the Cedarville Covenant. It also drives budget planning and decisions. A prominent example of this is the recent capital campaign for the renovation of Jeremiah Chapel, known as the “heartbeat of Cedarville University.”
The University Objectives, or Portrait Statements, directly flow out of the Mission. Our goal is to produce graduates that Glorify God [Christ-centered learning community, Lifelong leadership and service], Think Broadly and Deeply [Education marked by excellence, Grounded in biblical truth], Communicate Effectively [Christ-centered learning community, Lifelong leadership and service, Education marked by excellence], Develop Academically and Professionally [Education marked by excellence], and Engage for Christ [Christ-centered learning community, Lifelong leadership and service, Grounded in biblical truth].
Christ-centered Learning Community. We support a Christ-centered learning community by the University Bylaws and its Statements of Standards of Conduct, by all faculty and staff’s adherence to the University Doctrinal Statement, Doctrinal White Papers, and Community Covenant, by the required Bible minor, by daily Chapel, by Student Life and Christian Ministries’ discipleship groups, Gospel and Global Outreach, by an intentional, Christ-centered intercollegiate athletic program, by strongly encouraging students to attend local churches, and by intentional advising of students by staff and faculty. With our faculty to student ratio of 13:1 faculty can engage in quality student mentoring.
The University assures that all faculty applicants understand the pervasiveness of the Mission through Human Resources’ document, Notes to Prospective Faculty. In fact, other links on the HR website lead to Church Membership Expectations, the Community Covenant, and the Doctrinal Statement. In this way, all prospective faculty and staff are well informed of the seriousness of our Mission emphasis before they even send in an application. Telephone and in-person interviews for all prospective faculty and staff include questions about doctrinal beliefs and Christian character and service.
Life-long Leadership and Service. We support lifelong leadership through ample supervised, guided student leadership opportunities through SLCM and programs/conferences such as the Discipleship Council and CU Lead. Just as an example of the number of students involved in leadership at CU, in distributing the Pocket Cards, I asked Dr. Wood how many he would need for student leaders that SLCM is involved in training, and he told me 225. I gave another 30 to Gen. Reno for SAAB (Student Academic Advisory Board). That is a strong support for this aspect of the Mission. Service opportunities for students also abound, from programs such as CU in the Community, the K-9s at the Ville program, tutoring of local K-12 students, through strong encouragement to be involved in weekly service through local churches, and all of the mission and outreach programs that are conducted through academic and co-curricular areas such as Pharmacy, Nursing, Social Work, Education, Music and Worship, and Athletics. Further public service examples involving faculty and staff include CUEMS (emergency medical services), NOBLE (law enforcement training), EMT training for neighboring communities, an “opening days of school” and group physical education program to aid local schools and the community, conferences sponsored by the Center for Political Studies, music concerts and theater performances, and expert commentary on current issues provided to the media by our faculty through our PR office.
Education Marked by Excellence. We support an education marked by excellence. This will be demonstrated in a later post that focuses on Criteria 3 and 4. From faculty qualifications and regular assessment practices of programs and student learning outcomes to graduation rates, licensure pass rates, graduate school acceptance rates, and career outcome data, Cedarville University proves itself to be Mission-driven. Not only so, the new Strategic Plan has “Academic Excellence” as its first Core Strategy.
Grounded in Biblical Truth. We support an education grounded in biblical truth by the integration of truth into all areas of the curriculum, by a required written Integration Paper of all full-time faculty as stated in the Faculty Handbook 3.6.3, through Dr. White’s chapel series and outside chapel speakers, Fall and Mission Conferences, and other outside conferences such as Religious Freedom Summit and Gospel at Work. Additionally, this is supported through efforts to promote diversity in all areas, as we acknowledge that Christ died for all human beings to make us all members of His one Body. We have featured the Director of Intercultural Leadership, International Student Services, multiple scholarships and recruiting efforts that promote diversity, partnerships with Central State University, through Global Outreach, Model United Nations, an annual World Fair, and a number of courses and academic initiatives developed by faculty that are working to increase multicultural educational experiences with diverse populations. A required Global Awareness component of the General Education curriculum assures that all Cedarville students will be exposed to multicultural experiences. Student cross-cultural organizations, such as the German, French, and Spanish clubs, MISO (Multicultural International Students Organization), International Justice Mission, P.E.A.C.E. Project, Mu Kappa, and Alpha Sigma Lambda (American Sign Language), provide voluntary and additional opportunities for student multicultural involvement.
As I continue this series of Highlights of our Argument, please keep some of these examples–and this is by no means an extensive list–in your good minds as we work together to articulate how the Mission drives everything we do.