By Mark A. Taylor
Several trends are notable in our annual “campus tour” this year.
Our colleges have become externally focused. The reports are rich with accounts of mission trips and community service projects. Many of these schools are thrusting their students into the world for a taste of the service they will render after they graduate.
Our colleges continue to strive toward excellence. Two are changing their names to reflect a redefined mission. Others describe new degree programs, several building projects, cooperative programs with other universities, and in one case, a total campus move. Although many of these colleges can celebrate a rich history, most of them are looking toward the future with concerted efforts to attract more students with better programs to equip for more effective service.
And if you enjoy numbers, here are several, compiled from these paragraphs as well as the summary on pages 16 and 17.
196—The total budgets, in millions of dollars, from the 29 schools reporting.
2,351—The total number of degrees anticipated to be awarded by these schools this year.
18—The lowest percentage of any school’s student body reporting ties to Restoration Movement congregations (Atlanta Christian College).
100—The highest percentage of Restoration Movement students (Christian Kingdom College).
1,108—The largest number of male students reported by any one school (Summit Theological Seminary).
682—The largest number of female students reported by any school (Milligan College).
7—The number of schools reporting more female than male students (almost a quarter of the schools reporting).
19—The number of foreign homelands represented among students in these schools. (Not all schools mentioned this figure. The total is probably much higher.)
It’s clear that Christian churches and churches of Christ have made a huge investment in Christian higher education. It’s encouraging that these schools continue to thrive, even in our difficult economy. It’s important for every Christian church, every Christian leader, indeed, every Christian family, to look twice at these schools to find answers to questions like these:
Why do they exist? What do they offer? How should we support these schools financially? Which of our congregation’s students should we encourage to enroll in them?