Category: Uncategorized

Why It Works – Faculty

A student walks into the classroom after working all day, comes straight to class where she will be for the next four hours before getting home around 11:00, if she’s lucky.  Hopefully her children have had a smooth evening and are asleep, otherwise it will be a really late night.  Then back up to get everyone off to school and head back to work.  Week after week, month after month, usually for two, three or four straight years.  Why, because this her route to a better life for her and her family.  She doesn’t just want the degree, she needs the options it will bring for herself and her children.

Belhaven University provides the opportunity, the path toward that better life.  The focus on a Christian Worldview which permeates the curriculum gives her more than she bargained for and its value will multiply back to her over the years.

BU and the focus on a Christian Worldview will leave a mark, but it is the Faculty who make it work.  It is the Faculty who bring themselves to the intersection of these students striving to better themselves and the course content.  It is the Faculty whose passion, faith, compassion, and knowledge make it possible for the student to be willing to persevere.  It is the Faculty who perceive their role as mentors and guides whose comments and personal discussions inspire and encourage.  It is the Faculty who see more than a paycheck; who see mission and purpose in changing lives as a calling that pass along more than the curriculum contains.

You are why it works.  Thank you.

 

New Dean in Atlanta & Leadership

by Dr. Kotina Hall

As the new Dean of Faculty at Belhaven Atlanta, I have found it necessary to review critical leadership practices to not only provide a renewed sense of direction, but to excite critical directives that produce sound results to ignite extraordinary possibilities. I have found Kouzes and Posner’s (1995) Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership to be the catalyst to do just that.

Kouzes and Posner introduce Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership which have proven life changing:  Inspiring a Shared Vision, Challenging the Process, Encouraging the Heart, Enabling Others to Act, and Modeling the Way. Many have tried to choose the practice they deem most viable to the success of the organization.  Consequently, I believe one cannot survive without the other. Each practice is unique in that it serves as a connector to the other and further yields results of trust, integrity, moral aptitude, a “can do” attitude, and empowerment. However, none of which is more important than the other.  Rather, each compliments as a necessity to the other for effective leadership to occur.

Effective leadership is a buzz phrase that should not be taken lightly. While everyone has the ability to lead, not everyone approaches the responsibility with purposed commitment. That commitment is usually the difference between being a good leader and being a great leader. What is the differentiator between the two? The deciding factor is understanding that our positions often equip us with breaking lives or changing lives. It is my continued goal to exercise the latter both in and outside of the University.

“The empirical literature in leadership has shown that transformational leadership is where leaders and followers raise one another to higher levels of motivation and morality” (Burns, 1978, p. 20).  As leaders, we know it is not always an easy task to exercise each practice. Some days we just will not feel like it. It is during these times that it becomes necessary to do so anyway. Such days prove to be our discipleship test. In doing so, let us model the way of Paul and Silas, and pray anyway. Even in prison, they praised. It is necessary to understand that we are blessed to be a blessing to others.

The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership are cyclic in that they are transferable to academic, personal and professional lives. Therefore, we are afforded countless opportunities to master the practices in order to effortlessly and purposely execute them. I implore each of us to continue to focus on the totality of these practices in efforts to foster life changing growth as leaders and to gain a “level of commitment, engagement, and satisfaction of those that follow.” It will not always be easy, but our walk is not designed to be.

The NEW (and Improved) Blazenet

By now many of you have had to interact with the new Blazenet and I thought I would take a few minutes in this post and give a short tour of the more important, relatively speaking, aspects of Blazenet for Faculty.

First, Blazenet is no longer the repository for Faculty Modules of the curriculum used in either our on-site or online courses.  These modules can now be found in a Faculty Module Library in Canvas.  The student modules are also no longer available on Blazenet and can be found on the Canvas course-site.  This is a big improvement regarding keeping the modules lined up with each other and with the Canvas build-out for the course.  You should automatically enrolled in the Faculty Module Library if you are scheduled to teach a course but if for some reason you don’t have access or can’t find it, contact your Dean.

Second, recording attendance in Blazenet is both the same AND different. Before attendance can be posted the first time the course has to have the gradebook set-up.  There are help videos for this which I will mention later in this post.  Once the grade book is set up, posting attendance is relatively siattendancemple: from the home page, click on “Self-Service” drop down and choose the options which gets you to “Faculty Information.”  From there click on either Class Roster or Grading and select the appropriate course.  Click on the link for Grade book and it should take you to a screen with information like in the picture on the left.  Click on Attendance and the appropriate date to record attendance.  Note that dates only show up as they arrive on the calendar.

Third, you can email one or more students from the same place you mark attendance.  Instead of clicking on Attendance choose the “Send E-Mail to Students” link.  This is helpful for keeping all communication with a student in a tracked repository in case there are any questions that arise later, e.g. grading.

Fourth, this is also where you will come to post your final grades for the course so you can be paid.

Fifth, from the menu select Faculty Homepage and you will find helpful Quick Links and, more importantly, How-To videos under the FAQ section.  Simply click on the appropriate question to discover short tutorials which answer the question.

Sixth, from the menu select Faculty Resources/Adult and Graduate to be taken to a page with a variety of resources designed to assist you.  QuickLinks, FAQs, contact information for the respective Deans, and Forms & Documents which includes the most recent Adult Studies Faculty Handbook September 2016.

If there is more information you would like to see available on Blazenet, be sure to let me know at rupchurch@belhaven.edu.

Teachers Guide to Using Google Forms

The article below comes from Educational Technology and Mobile Learning.  They do an great job on providing information to educators about technology that will enhance the classroom experience, as well as ideas about how to use technology more effectively for teaching.

This particular article deals with Google forms.  You may remember this being touched on in one of our webinars: Google Docs in the Classroom.   Google forms is a powerful application for conducting polls, gathering information, etc.  I think if you take the time to read through this guide a lot of ideas about how you can use it will come to mind.

If you have any questions or would like some personal instruction on using google forms, or just want to brainstorm on a teaching idea, don’t hesitate to contact me: rupchurch@belhaven.edu

Teachers Guide to Using Google Forms

Google Forms is a powerful tool with huge educational potential for teachers and educators. Besides being free and easy to use, Forms works across different devices and is seamlessly integrated with other Drive services such as Docs and Spreadsheets. As a teacher, you can use Forms for a variety of purposes including: planning an event, making surveys and polls, creating quizzes, collecting feedback and other information from students and many more.  READ MORE

Although this is a separate article from Educational Technology, it bears on the above in that it shows you how to set up forms so that you can be notified when students submit responses to the form(s) you have created.

Read about this here

“We can, you can’t.”

So I’m talking with a new Instructor and he shares this with me:  He is in his first night of the class and it is 9:40 and he’s come to a stopping point so he asks the students if it is OK if class is dismissed early.  They reply with some amusement, “we can leave early but you can’t.”

I have to say the students’ response surprised me because it says that some faculty have employed the practice of dismissing students earlier than 10pm and then staying on to 10pm themselves doing one thing or another before leaving.  We have hundreds of excellent Instructors who ARE holding their classes to the full time.  I want to thank you for that and commend you for your diligence and integrity.

I’m hoping this is a rare occurrence, but I need to make sure there is no ambiguity on this point.  The truth is that we are attempting to establish a culture of ethical practices and excellency, neither of which are achieved by allowing students to leave early but staying ourselves until the full time.  This not only lessens the educational experience but it says to the student that “fudging” on the policies of their organization must be OK if it is OK for a Christian Instructor in a Christian Institution to do so.  YOU ARE A MODEL IN EVERY ASPECT OF YOUR CONTACT WITH STUDENTS, DO THE RIGHT THING!!!  Or, to put it in simple terms, no, you can’t let students go earlier than 10:00pm even if you stay the full time.

Dr. Ruddell, Dean in Houston wrote a great post on Taming the 10PM Titian which I encourage you to read.   I know also there are a variety of posts within this blog under the Category “Collaborative Teaching Ideas” which could be used quite effectively to fill that last hour if you are running low on ideas.  This also goes back to the Collaborative Learning Strategy which I’ve written on before.  You know things will slow down after 9:00pm, so plan some more energetic activities during that time.

 

Mel Brooks, Ben Stein and Principles of Facilitative Teaching

By Dr. Rick Upchurch,
Asst. Vice President for Adult Studies

In February, I presented a webinar on Andragogy.  At the time I wasn’t able to record it due to technical difficulties.  Last week I had the opportunity to re-record the webinar, which you can find at this LINK.

I’m not going to include the all the content from the presentation in this post.  What I will do is try to reinforce the fact that teaching adults is DIFFERENT than teaching 18-22 year olds, and requires different methodologies.  It also requires faculty who approach the endeavor from a different perspective.  Since the average age in our classes is 38 years of age, it is easy to see we are dealing with an audience which has had 20 years of life experiences beyond High School.

Andragogy was first coined as a unique term in 1833 by Alexander Kapp.  However, it was Malcom Knowles who made the term popular in the 1980s.  Knowles put forth six assumptions about adult learners which form the foundation of his learning theory for adults.  I’m not going to describe these assumptions, if you want to know more about them you can easily “google” them, or simply watch the webinar.  What I am going to do is share with you what those assumptions MEAN for teaching adults.

1st – you should know the students in your class wouldn’t be there if they weren’t serious about getting their degree.  They are investing a lot of money with the hope of improving their life.  For them the experience is more than the content, it also includes self-accomplishment and self-worth.  You carry the burden of bringing a return on their investment.

2nd – treat your students as you would like to be treated, or even better, as you would hope an Instructor would treat your mother.   Patronizing attitudes or demeaning language is unacceptable and creates a barrier to learning.   Along with this goes the importance of respecting the experience the students are bringing into the classroom.  Mining for that experience should be one of the key activities of the Instructor early in the course to best maximize that student’s learning and to bring important experiences into the classroom for everyone to learn.

3rd – Take the time, to make sure your students understand why what you are teaching is important and how it fits.  When you do, their engagement in the class and learning will increase.  Bring in stories, case studies, examples and illustrations of the relevancy of the information and how it fits.  Draw upon students’ experiences, good and bad, to demonstrate the importance of the information.

4th – Don’t lecture more than 15-20 minutes at a time without changing up and adding an active learning experience.  Students should be doing 70% of the talking.  This can be accomplished by having them teach key topics, asking PCQ (Process Comprehension Questions), which are open-ended questions requiring them to apply the information learned, working in small groups on projects or case studies, etc.  There are several great posts to the faculty blog which outline some of these activities.

5th – Give the students a chance to practice what you are teaching and to demonstrate competency.  That is why class presentations are included in most of the classes.  When students demonstrate competency reinforce that and guide their practice to continued improvement.  Allow as many opportunities as possible for students to take the lead in discussions, and working in the front of the class.

This is really only a starting point and, as you know from watching the orientation, a Collaborative Learning Strategy will go a long way toward facilitating student learning.  In addition there are many great resources which can be consulted to assist in bringing these principles into the classroom, not the least of which is the information contained in some of the posts to this blog site.

EQ in the Adult Learner Classroom

Dr. Paul Criss
Dean of Faculty – Memphis and DeSoto

We have all been there. We have had experiences where we felt that someone truly understood where we were coming from and we have also experienced the opposite. The ability to gauge our own and others’ emotional state is called Emotional Intelligence (EQ) and what we do with that understanding can invigorate the adult learner classroom. Most of what follows is a synopsis and application of Goleman, Boyatis, and McKee’s Primal Leadership: Unleashing the Power of Emotional Intelligence (Harvard Business Review, 2013) to adult higher education and was presented at the 2015 Christian Adult Higher Education Association Conference with co-presenter Don Jones, Ed.S.

Instructors have the ability to set the emotional thermostat in their classrooms. Faculty with empathy can allow for supportive emotional connections to emerge within their classes. In Primal Leadership, the authors state: “When leaders drive emotions positively…they bring about everyone’s best.” They call this resonance. When negative emotions are driven, they create dissonance. Negative emotions and moods within a classroom can disrupt work and distract from the task of learning. God designed our brains in such a way to support the “flight or fight” tendency and this may affect classroom performance. Everything our body experiences goes through the first part of the brain at the top of the stem called the amygdala, and you guessed it, the amygdala controls our emotional fight or flight response. If this is triggered, faculty and students alike may have their emotions hijacked. It is likely that we have all experienced a time when we were criticized by an adult learner for upholding a policy or demonstrating a particular instructional style and we had to say a quick prayer for God to give us patience or guard our tongue in how respond to such criticism. We were, with God’s help, resisting this emotional hijacking.

So, how do we adjust the emotional climate of our classroom? Interestingly, emotions, both healthy and unhealthy, are contagious. For example, we have all heard the customer service adage of “service with a smile,” but actually a smile can begin to change the climate. Laughter is addictive and good for everyone – “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones” (Proverbs 17:22 New Living Translation).

It is a very small leap from what the authors of Primal Leadership discovered about business to what can be applied in the adult learner classroom. For example, for every one percent we increase our service to our students, we could see a two percent increase in their performance (p. 15). This could be evidenced in how we share our expectations of students at the beginning of a course, explaining how we will grade, and how quickly we respond with feedback to our students. Students could respond by exceeding our expectations, targeting specific competencies, and adjusting their performance by our guidance. I know that these kinds of responses would be well received by all of us. The climate – how students feel about studying at a university – may account for twenty to thirty percent of their academic performance (p. 17) and fifty to seventy percent of how students may perceive the university’s climate can be traced to the actions of one person: their instructor (p. 18).

Our daughter, two-year-old Sophia, likes to go into large rooms, project a tone, and see if it echoes. Each room has a certain tone that echoes more than others – the resonating tone; each class has its own resonating tone, as well. In teaching vocal lessons, I learned early on the importance of resonance in amplifying both sweet and sour tones. Sound Engineers use sound equalization, ironically “EQ,” to produce the most amplification while at the same time diminishing feedback. What tones are we projecting that are being amplified to our students? How can we adjust our own and our classroom’s emotional frequency to create the best learning environment for adults?

First we need to understand how not to do it. We must avoid becoming dissonant instructors or dementors.  In the Harry Potter novels, J.K. Rowling describes dementors as those who “drain peace, hope, and happiness out of the air around them.” Now, I realize that no instructor would describe themselves in this way, but perhaps a student has perceived us this way. The authors of Primal Leadership describe dissonant leadership as those who “don’t hold true to professed values; lack empathy; this insincerity leads to cynicism and distrust” (p. 23). The best cure for this atmosphere is not only personal, but also corporate, repentance, confession, and forgiveness.

Sometimes this dissonance happens accidentally. For the trekkies out there, have you ever wondered why Kirk is the captain? Kirk brings emotional intelligence to bear on the highly logical Spock and the highly emotional McCoy, creating a balance that is needed. In academia there is a tendency to value IQ over EQ, therefore, emotional intelligence is stifled creating the disparity (“too many spocks and not enough kirkians”). We need to begin to model emotional intelligence ourselves and compel it from our students. Our primary focus, after all, is to be holistic in our educational endeavors – “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and love your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 11:42 New International Version.) Albert Einstein said, “We should take care not to make the intellect our god. It has, of course, powerful muscles, but no personality. It cannot lead, it can only serve.”

In Primal Leadership the authors suggest there are various styles of leadership that employ emotional intelligence (p. 55). Two are considered dissonant styles because they are often perceived negatively due to poor execution or overuse. The commanding style may sooth students’ fears in an emergency by providing clear direction and may be used sparingly in a crisis or to deal with problem students. The pacesetting style assists in meeting challenging goals, for example in capstone courses, and may be used judiciously to get high results from competent students.

The authors present four resonant styles that consistently produce positive feedback and are particular productive with the adult learner. The first, the visionary style, moves students toward the shared objectives of the course. This style conveys the importance of the course’s objectives and how achieving these competencies can make a difference in their professional life. The second, the coaching style, connects goals of the particular student with the objectives of the course. This style helps students improve performance and competency by building their personal capabilities. The third, the affiliative style, connects students to other students through community. This style can help heal rifts within a team and motivate students during stressful times within the course. Creating community within the classroom will be discussed in more detail in a future article. The final resonant style, the democratic style, value’s student input and fosters commitment through participation. This style is often utilized during roundtable discussions on topics within the course and not only builds consensus, but allows the expertise of each adult learner to come to the fore and produces exponential learning within the learning environment. As we understand and practice these various styles, we begin to understand the value of emotional intelligence to the adult learner classroom.

Authors Bradbury and Greaves, in Emotional Intelligence 2.0 (TalentSmart, 2009), recommend a matrix to increase personal emotional intelligence. It begins with self- awareness: how aware of our own emotions are we? Emotional self-awareness helps provide accurate self-management and authentic self-confidence. Second, self-management is how one manages his or her own emotions. It determines our transparency, adaptability, and levels of optimism. Third, social awareness is how well we interpret the emotions of others, in this case our students. It determines our organizational awareness, commitment to service, and levels of empathy. Finally, relational management is how well we handle interactions with our class. It assists in creating inspirational instruction, influence, development of our students, managing conflict, and fostering teamwork and collaboration. These authors also recommend the following for developing emotional intelligence within the parameters of this matrix:

Self Awareness

  • Focus on you – the only person you can change.
  • Get to know yourself under stress.
  • Know who and what pushes your buttons.
  • Stop and ask yourself why you do the things you do.

Self Management

  • Count to Ten.
  • Pray for patience or ask the Holy Spirit to guard your reactions.
  • Learn a valuable lesson from everyone you encounter.
  • Smile and laugh more.

Social Awareness

  • Practice the art of listening and observing.
  • Step into your students’ shoes.
  • Catch the mood of the classroom.
  • Greet students by name.

Relationship Management

  • Little things mean a lot; when you care show it.
  • Explain your decisions, don’t just make them.
  • Make your feedback direct and constructive.
  • Be accessible; have an open door policy to build trust.

Jesus was an emotionally intelligent leader. This is indicated several times as He gauged others’ emotional state – “Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all people” (John 2:24 New International Version) and He declared himself to be the one “who searches hearts and minds” (Revelation 2:23). Christ acknowledges the worst in humanity, but, in spite of this, He brings out the best by giving of Himself. If we simply observe the team He inspired, we can see how they changed the world. As instructors of adult learners, we are called to do the same.

YOU ARE MAKING A DIFFERENCE! 2013 GRADUATE COMMENTS 2

Here are some more comments from the graduates of 2013.  They reiterate what I know: that you are an amazing faculty and that your work touches and changes lives.

I am so blessed to be a Graduate of Belhaven. I had a great experience there both academically and socially. The knowledge I gained at Belhaven has allowed me to have a thriving career with the Mississippi Department of Revenue as a Special Agent. Dr. Howard Bartee is a professor that had a great impact on my life. He challenged me to be a better student and person. I have great memories and I am extremely glad to be a Blazer!!! Keep me lifted in prayer as I enter a new season of my life. I pray that God enlarges the territory of Belhaven University and his hand remains with us all.

Jackson Graduate

—-

Before I began school at Belhaven University in 2009, I prayed that God would lead me to the school that HE wanted me to go to! I wanted GOD to move me out the way. I came to Belhaven with an extremely low GPA so I was very nervous about my college education this time. I wanted to do my very best and learn all I could. The staff at Belhaven always encouraged me. If I had questions about Financial Aid, both Jackson and Memphis worked hard to get me the answers I needed. One of the instructors that had a tremendous impact on me was Dr. Ken Jones, my Psychology/Social Services teacher. He is very knowledgeable in this area. I believed I learned the most from doing his papers and through presentations because of the research we had to put in. He also made learning fun. I believe coming to Belhaven was all a part of God’s plan. I made life-long friends, grew spiritually, and went from a 1.0 GPA to graduating with a 3.92. I am grateful for my journey at Belhaven and thankful for Dr. Ken Jones, Don Jones, Erica Johnson, and Altonious Peterson. I got just what I needed… A valuable education with a Christian Worldview.

Memphis Graduate

My Belhaven experience was very challenging, positive, and rewarding. My instructors pushed me to achieve excellence in my studies and helped me to expand and enrich the Christian worldview I have had since my childhood. I remember Dr. Martin inspiring, encouraging, coercing, and cajoling us to get us through the program. I remember Dr. Jinkiri explaining complex principles of economics without ever cracking the textbook. I remember Dr. Redfern making us consider and discuss difficult ethical dilemmas and try to figure out the best solutions. I remember all of the instructors stressing the importance of being a good public servant, doing the right thing, and behaving in a Christ-like manner at all times. Thanks to all the faculty who made my time at Belhaven so memorable.

Jackson Graduate

When I was at Belhaven in 2013 I was in the first Masters Program at the Chattanooga Campus. Staffing was tight and Dr. Trussell taught most of the classes. The work load was very heavy and I was going through a very busy time at work as well. I can get frustrated at times with bureaucracy. Things like schedules and financial aid drove me nuts. The faculty in Chattanooga all made this part of the process painless for me and eased my worries several times. Susan Haughton in Chattanooga and Susan Smith in Jackson (Financial Aid) were outstanding and the patience they showed me made me realize not only how valuable of an asset they are but how much their work is their ministry.

Their actions gave me pause and caused me to reflect on how I interact with people. I hope I am able to live up to their standards and share the grace they shared with me.

Chattanooga Graduate

You Are Making a Difference! 2013 Graduate Comments 1

I recently asked the 2013 graduates to share their memory of their time at Belhaven University.  I think you will find the comments below to be encouraging.  I will post others as more come in.

The MPA program was so critical in not only my professional development but my spiritual development as well. I was attracted to the program because the classes were once a week and your cohort was relatively small. It was easy to get assignments done because everyone was so encouraging each other. We were all there to accomplish the same goal. The professors that impacted my life during the program was Dr. Ervin Martin, Dr. Nycole Campbell, Ms. Samantha Martin, & Ms. Regina Irvin. They were all so important throughout my tenure at Belhaven. I learned a lot of lessons from all of them & I implement those lessons in not only my professional life but my personal life as well.     MPA Alum ’13, Jackson

Belhaven actually changed my life, my way of thinking and my way of maneuvering through business and life.  ’13, Houston

I think the person that made the biggest impact on me was Dr. Thompson.  He made me challenge my own belief system.  He created real life situations in the business world.  He would also bring articles to class that involved critical thinking.  Dr. Thompson brought a religious critical thinking component to a business world view.  Many of the classes were composed of a business world view with a Christian component. I really appreciated Dr. Thompson making me challenge my own beliefs and get out of my comfort zone.  Not only did I have my own internal monologue to deal with, but I had to defend or reason my belief system vocally.  This forced me to do more research on a biblical level to back up my points when discussion arose. Knowing I can defend my religious views with research, it has allowed me to be more confidence when in the business world to find the resources necessary to back up my stances on situations.   ’13 Memphis

My under graduate experience at Belhaven was wonderful! It was very challenging but absolutely rewarding at the same time.  My instructors were always very willing to work with my busy schedule and yet tough enough to educate me to a higher standard.  The staff at the campus were amazing to say the least and always willing to help in any way they could.  I am now an Operations Manager for GE and my career is looking very bright.  I have used my education to get promoted in my civilian career and in my military career.  Thank-you and the support staff for the opportunity to be a part of the university during my under graduate studies. ’13 Chattanooga

Higher Standards

By Emma Morris, Dean, Atlanta Campus

Here at the Atlanta campus, I have recently been preaching the benefits of holding our professors and students to a higher standard. However, not everyone receives the message well. I have just read four Christian Worldview and Senior Synthesis papers that are almost unintelligible. That makes me wonder what we are teaching our students. I also wonder how they have passed all the courses prior to this Capstone class.

There are many reasons why should we care enough to hold our students to a higher standard in their work. Here are a few:

1.      God’s standard. First and foremost, the Lord demands our best. Colossians 3:23 says, “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you are working for the Lord rather than for people.” I think teachers forget that when they pamper students in hopes of a good evaluation, they are not helping the student learn. Yes, we should build constructive relationships with our students, but not keeping students accountable to do quality work dishonors the Lord and is unhealthy for everyone. Remember; we are here to teach, not to be loved. We, as teachers, are the only ones who can hold our students to a standard of academic rigor on the regular course material. I have been a recipient of some of that student unhappiness. Sure, it hurts, but those same students often come back later to say that being held accountable in class changed their lives and even helped them live up to other commitments.

*If you are worried about evaluations, know that your Dean reviews those evaluations and notes potential reasons for any surprisingly low scores.

2.  Communication. Effective writing and speaking are must-have skills in the business world and beyond. Poor communications can cost a company thousands, if not millions, of dollars because of misunderstood instructions or messages. Poor communications reflect poorly on the brand of the company. Who wants a poor communicator representing the company brand? Our students should leave with excellent communication skills so that they can build successful careers on that solid foundation.

3. The value of a Belhaven degree. Just like a company doesn’t want the brand represented by a poor communicator, Belhaven should not accept this, either. If a Belhaven graduate gets a job and the student cannot function at the expected level, our programs are cheapened. We don’t want employers to say (however quietly), that they will never hire another Belhaven graduate if this is the quality of their graduates. Everyone loses if the Belhaven brand suffers.

4.  Success. A student who has been held to higher standards will perform better on the job. One of our current MBA students recently earned a healthy, six-figure job. She started at Belhaven as an undergraduate making only $35,000. She worked hard for her B.A. and has learned the value of strong writing and presentation skills.

5. Independence. Just like we allow our children to fall as they are learning to walk, we must be able to let our students stumble in order to learn. Our programs are designed to help students gain better control of their destinies. They should be ready to spread their wings and fly solo once they have earned a Belhaven degree. If we are constantly handing out “A” grades, will our students ever push themselves to work harder and do better?

6.  Obligation. We are contracted legally to teach our students, not indulge them and make good friends. We just had one of our own graduates fail MSL601. Indulging this student in her undergraduate program only set her up to fail at the graduate level. Is the failure hers or ours? Neither party is fully guilty, but neither party is innocent, either.

7. Integrity. As we stand before God and man, we cannot be liars or deceivers. Leviticus 19:11b says, “Do not deceive or cheat one another.” and Proverbs is also full of admonitions not to lie or steal. Excessive grace is no longer grace; it is deception. Students should not be graduating with less than adequate skills, and permitting them to pass a class without being fully equipped is deceitful and unacceptable.

Remember that we are here to teach our students to the best of our abilities; we are not here to be loved. In fact, two of our toughest teachers are often—eventually—the students’ favorite teachers. You see, setting and keeping standards often yields love as the byproduct!

Although these are only a few reasons why we should be holding our students to higher standards, I am sure they are enough to prepare you to challenge your students to “be all they can be.”