I’ve been receiving lots of helpful insight and ideas regarding this decision whether or not to change our name from Belhaven College to Belhaven University.
The concept has also raised a number of questions, and I thought it would be helpful to answer a few of those that came in through the survey comments or emails:
Would renaming Belhaven a University change who we are? No, instead, it would reflect who we have already become. There would be no change in mission, style, or priorities with a name change because we already operate as a complex multi-level Christ-centered academic institution where our standard is Christ.
Would we become a larger residential campus if we changed to University? Our traditional age student program could grow by only about another 20% or until we run out of space (we grew about 5% this year.) We can only house about another 100 students on campus in double rooms, and I don’t see a new residence hall on the near horizon.
Would we become larger overall if we changed to University? I sure hope so! We would love to have more students in our adult programs on all four campuses, as well as in our graduate programs. The most significant enrollment increase will come in our new online master degrees which begin in January.
Here is one of the things I love most about what God has given us at Belhaven
Belhaven is unique among nearly every college in the country, in that we are blessed to be able to grow dramatically without it changing at all the spirit and nature of the residential campus. Because we have multiple campuses, we can have a small campus feel in each of our locations, while still being a large institution overall and enjoying those accompanying benefits and economy of scale.
Would becoming a University raise the tuition? The name won’t have anything to do with tuition. That is driven by market conditions, financial needs, and overall enrollment. This past year we had a tuition increase half the rate of a normal year because of the economy – while the majority of schools had increases higher than a normal year. This year’s fee rate increase will be more back to normal, about 5%, depending on the program and location.
Would class sizes change if we becaome a University? No, the name change won’t change the current class structure. Again, a name change would only reflect who we’ve already become. So, if you like the class sizes now, you’d like them with the change of name. If you want huge classes with 300 in a lecture hall, we can’t help you.
Would hiring standards for faculty and staff change and would they still be required to teach from a Christian worldview? Our mission, worldview focus, Christian commitment, and hiring standards would not change one ounce! We will never budge on our standards for hiring or anything else. “Our standard is Christ” will be our driving force even if we were called Belhaven Royal Conservatory (which was a suggestion someone sent me, and I kind of like the sound of it!)
I’m glad for the active dialog and the prayerful thought that has gone into this decision. The survey will be open through the weekend, and if you’ve not had a chance to fill it out, I’d encourage you to join the 700 people who have already responded.