H1N1 News Update….More to Follow

Later this week I will release the details of our campus plan to help us prepare for the H1N1 flu that is already hitting many schools and colleges. Thanks to many of you who shared insights to be considered as we’ve built this plan.

With a widespread pandemic possible, the experts agree that the best things you can do are simple:

1. Wash your hands and/or use sanitizer often

2. Cover your mouth when you cough.

3. Isolate those who catch this flu until at least 24 hours after the fever breaks.

They strongly recommend a flu shot when the vaccine is available. We have already ordered them for the college.

The local CBS news featured a seminar hosted by our biology department Friday night dealing with the virus. The seminar was: “H1N1 Influenza virus (swine flu): Present state, Prevention, Prognosis” presented by Dr. Paul Byers, Medical Director, Mississippi State Board of Health

The link to that video clip can be found here.


The Peace of God

I always feel the peace of God when I walk through the center of our campus.  What a marvelous place the Lord has given us to enjoy every day.  It is our “Haven” in spirit and in our physical surroundings.

This new photograph  by Bryant Butler, with help from Ricky White and Kevin Taylor who loaned him the maintenance lift they were using to repair our lights, catches a unique perspective of our campus.  And thanks to Scott Mayo for keeping the fountain looking good . . . like the new bluer water?

Aerial Shots-090828-24 - smaller

First Chapel of the Year

I had the joy of preaching for the first chapel of the year on Tuesday this week.  As I’ve done every year,  I used the text from our year’s theme verse: He led me to a place of safety; He rescued me because He delights in me. Psalm 18:19

A few of the ideas of emphasis from that message:

Don’t be overwhelmed, but be thankful that you’re preparing for life during the worst economic crisis in nearly 100 years.  The Lord has given your generation an opportunity to change the self-reliant pattern of Christians who came out of the boom economic years – and thought they would make it through life on their own, with a little prayer for God to bless it.  Instead, because of the economic battering from the events of the past year, you can use this as a springboard to develop a lifelong pattern of living totally dependent on God.

Too many Christians have never come to grips with the enormity of God’s power. And too many  Christians who DO understand the power of God, forget who God is when they come under attack.

1.  God is more powerful than our minds could ever comprehend – but we don’t live like He is.

2. We will always be attacked at the point of our greatest weakness – but we are convinced it will never happen.

3. God promises to lead us to a place of safety – but it won’t be because we earned it.

Whatever your weakest point is, you can take two absolutes from this scripture:

  • You will be attacked at that point – the question is not IF, but only WHEN
  • God is more powerful than your greatest weakness if you’ll put it into His hands.

Those things that keep us awake at night are not roadblocks to God’s reach into our lives, but the starting points of our trusting in His power, rather than our own.


Enrollment up 15% – Nearly 3,000 Students

I’ve just received the fall enrollment numbers and they look wonderful, with a total enrollment reaching nearly 3,000 students.

Few private colleges have gained in enrollment this year, and we are up 15% overall, and have increased nearly 5% among our traditional age students on the Jackson campus.

Our adult programs in Jackson, Memphis, Orlando, and Houston are up 15% to 19% on each of those campuses. And we have seen a dramatic jump in our graduate programs and our online program.

I know that God has hand picked every student He wants to be at Belhaven this year, and we thank the Lord for entrusting these students to us.

Here are the specific numbers by campus and program with a comparison to last year’s enrollment:

  Fall 08 Fall 09 Change % change
 Traditional FT 887 925 38 4.3%
 Traditional PT 87 96 9 10.3%
Traditional 974 1,021 47 4.8%
PACE   8 8  
MAT/MEd 186 200 14 7.5%
MPA 13 54 41 315.4%
ASPIRE & Grad Business 751 884 133 17.7%
HiScholars 32 28 -4 -12.5%
Online 73 129 56 76.7%
Total Jackson 2,029 2,324 295 14.5%
Memphis 244 281 37 15.2%
Houston 136 157 21 15.4%
Orlando 159 189 30 18.9%
TOTAL ENROLLMENT 2,568 2,951 383 14.9%

Need Your Car Serviced?

I ran into one of our alumni, Joseph Gordy (’05 Biblical Studies major and Business minor) who is the service manager of Car Care Clinic on I-55 Frontage Road, just north of Meadowbrook Drive.  He runs a complex organization and told me about the significant ministry he has of share Christ with so many employees and customers.

Joseph is not only a strong leader for the company but he knows cars inside and out, and you can trust him to make sure his team fixes your car right, and at a fair price. They do it all from oil changes to major repairs.

If you go in, ask for Joseph, and be sure to tell him of your Belhaven College connection.  He will take good care of you.

And here is where you can get a discount coupon too

H1N1 Precautions – What Do You Suggest?

We are developing  a plan to take proper precautions against the spread of H1N1.  As you know, schools and even colleges are especially vulnerable to the spread of this flu.  We want to be cautious, but not alarmist in protecting ourselves should some among us get this flu.

We were one of the first to order a batch of flu shots, and we’ll have those available for students, as well as employees and their families as soon as the vaccine is released.  It is strongly recommended that you get a flu shot this year.  But the experts are predicting the flu will hit before the vaccine is released.

What do you suggest we be sure to add into our plan?  You can leave your comments on the blog (to this, and any post)

Here is an article from this morning’s Inside Higher Education that will gives 10 specific recommendations.  It would be very helpful to have your insights as well to assure we have the best plan available.

H1N1 Scenarios

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services on Thursday released their most detailed guidance yet on how colleges should prevent H1N1 outbreaks and what options should be considered if they take place despite such efforts. Given that the severity and size of outbreaks could vary widely, the guidance is more of a menu of options than a rulebook — and the ideas cover everything from washing doorknobs to ending the requirements that students submit medical notes for absences to when to consider suspending operations.

Arne Duncan, secretary of education, stressed that the goal is to avoid colleges having to suspend operations. “The goal is to keep universities open as much as we can …. to keep students learning,” he said. Duncan said that the guidance was designed to be “balanced” and “measured,” reflecting “the best science.” But he also said that officials can’t be sure what they will face this fall.

Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of health and human services, noted that “college-age students are particularly vulnerable to this virus,” and that the close quarters in which students on many traditional campuses live and learn may make prevention and treatment challenging.

Both Duncan and Sebelius stressed that they were not saying any one college should adopt all of these recommendations, but that these reflect the kinds of actions colleges may want to take. Some are preventive, while others focus on what to do when an outbreak occurs.

  • Promote the “self isolation” of students who have H1N1 or symptoms, encouraging them to stay away from classes and other activities and to stay in their rooms or, if they have family members in the area, to travel there (not using public transportation).
  • Create “flu buddy” systems in which healthy students may get food, assignments and medicine for ill students.
  • Create systems so staff members can check on students in “self isolation.”
  • Modify absenteeism policies so both students, faculty members and others who are ill have no incentive to return to campus activities earlier than they should.
  • End rules that require doctor’s notes to excuse absences from class or work.
  • Expand or create distance learning programs for those who need to be isolated.
  • Encourage more cleanliness on campus both by adding cleaning schedules that may be performed by employees (bathrooms, doorknobs, shared keyboards, etc.), and by students in their rooms.
  • Increase “social distances” between students by moving desks further apart (6 feet most of the time), and considering suspending or changing large events such as sporting events or commencement ceremonies.
  • Plan vaccination programs when the vaccines are available and encourage students to get vaccinated. (With vaccines not expected in needed numbers until October, and with two vaccines required, officials said that it could be well into November before vaccine protection could be hoped for.)
  • Develop special programs for groups on campus with special needs, such as students who are younger than traditional college but who may be attending “early college” or enrichment programs.

Sebelius, citing her personal experience as the mother of two men now in their 20s, said that she realized that getting college students to follow advice on such matters may not be easy. Many college students do not see medical professionals regularly, and many may not even have had all the vaccinations (or recent versions) that they should have, even before the arrival of H1N1. But she said it was essential for colleges to try to reach students, and recommended the use of Facebook, Twitter and other social media to do so.

One of the more sensitive issues facing colleges is whether to suspend operations in the event of an outbreak. When H1N1 first broke out on campuses in the spring, the University of Delaware had one of the larger outbreaks and controlled it without ever suspending operations — while other campuses shut down for several days with only one or two suspected cases. The University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa is currently facing an outbreak with at least 21 students showing symptoms, and it has not shut down.

The guidance from the agencies appears to be striking a middle ground on suspending operations, urging colleges to “balance the risks of flu in their community with the disruption that suspending classes will cause in both education and the wider community.” The government appears to be suggesting that if outbreaks do not surpass the levels experienced in the spring, suspending operations may not be needed. The guidance notes that the government “may recommend preemptive class suspension if the flu starts to cause severe decrease in a significantly larger population” than was seen earlier in the year.

In cases where classes are called off “preemptively,” the guidance says that large gatherings such as sporting events, dances and commencement ceremonies should also be canceled or postponed.

The guidance also suggests that suspending operations can be quite complicated. Residential colleges are unlikely to see all students leave, and so would need to continue to provide services to students. Non-residential colleges would need to “consider whether they can allow faculty and staff to continue use of their facilities while classes are not being held. This may allow faculty to develop lessons and materials and engage in other essential activities.”

How long to stay shut? “The length of time classes should be suspended will vary depending on the goal of class suspension as well as the severity and extent of illness,” the guidance states. Colleges “that suspend classes should do so for at least five to seven calendar days. Before the end of this period, the [college], in collaboration with public health officials, should reassess the epidemiology of the disease and the benefits and consequences of continuing the suspension or resuming classes.”

Anita Barkin, director of student health services at Carnegie Mellon University and chair of the American College Health Association’s Coalition for Emerging Public Health Risks and Emergency Response Planning, said that the guidance was “very much on target,” adding that it “outlines the key issues and the rationale while recognizing that implementation will have to be based on local circumstances and resources.”

The Perspective of This Year’s New Students

Each fall the humanities department of Beloit College attempts to help academics understand the incoming first year students with its “Mindset List” which reflects what the class of freshmen will have experienced, or don’t know.

It is always interesting and sobering to read this list – and makes lots of us feel older than we wish we were.  Here is their introduction, and a portion of this year’s list:

If the entering college class of 2013 had been more alert back in 1991 when most of them were born, they would now be experiencing a severe case of déjà vu. The headlines that year railed about government interventions, bailouts, bad loans, unemployment and greater regulation of the finance industry. The Tonight Show changed hosts for the first time in decades, and the nation asked “was Iraq worth a war?”

  • They have never used a card catalog to find a book.
  • Dan Rostenkowski and Mike Tyson have always been felons.
  • The Green Giant has always been Shrek, not the big guy picking vegetables.
  • Salsa has always outsold ketchup.
  • Rap music has always been mainstream.
  • Chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream has always been a flavor choice.
  • The KGB has never officially existed.
  • Babies have always had a Social Security Number.
  • Bungee jumping has always been socially acceptable.
  • The European Union has always existed.
  • There has always been a Cartoon Network.
  • They have always been able to read books on an electronic screen.
  • Women have always outnumbered men in college.
  • There have always been flat screen televisions.
  • Britney Spears has always been heard on classic rock stations.
  • Someone has always been asking: “Was Iraq worth a war?”
  • Most communities have always had a mega-church.
  • There has always been a computer in the Oval Office.
  • Avon has always been “calling” in a catalog.
  • Official racial classifications in South Africa have always been outlawed.

Big Win for Korea

Y.E. Yang impressively won the PGA Championship on Sunday.  It wasn’t that Tiger Woods lost the tournament, but clearly the Korean player beat him with a remarkable eagle on #14, and an incredibly difficult approach shot on 18 to secure the win. (Mr. Yang’s second round started with 4 bogies on the first 5 holes, but clearly he was focused enough to get back on track.)

Golf is HUGE in Korea.  I had the opportunity to play there this summer with my host, Dr. Billy Kim, president of Far East Broadcasting.  The course was demanding in the magnificent mountains about two hours outside of Seoul, the players were strong, and even the caddies were intimidating

I have never seen anything like these caddies. They managed five golfers and take care of everything for you – even bring green tea ice cream as in the picture below.  The carts run on a guidance system so they can move them forward remotely, and have communication systems to the group in front to assure you don’t need to wait to play the next hole.  It was quite a production.

 Seoul, with it’s 10 million people, doesn’t have much room for golf, so they build driving ranges throughout the city – often over parking lots.  A couple pictures from my trip are below: