Thanksgiving Blessings

Virginia Garrison

Director of Retention Services

Thanksgiving Blessings

When you count your blessings at this Thanksgiving time of the year, can you include your college degree as one of them? Is that something that is missing in your life? Is it holding you back from the successful career you would like to have? Is it something you started but never finished?


At Belhaven University, we offer many programs for adults who want to add a degree to their resumé. Not only is an education at Belhaven an academic accomplishment, but it is also a journey of Christian spiritual growth for many students. Our instructors are all Christians, and our curriculum is taught from a Biblical perspective. So a degree from BU is a double blessing!


What are you waiting for? Don’t wait any longer. Get started now! Then next Thanksgiving you can add an “in-progress” blessing to you list!



What Are Your Gifts?

Adult Studies Blog: September 2014


Virginia Garrison, Director of Retention Services


We all have gifts… things we are good at doing… or that we have the potential to do well but haven’t fully developed. What are your gifts? Do they need development?

Do you like to work with people? Are you good at organizing? Maybe you have the gift of administration.

Are you compassionate? Do you like to help and encourage others? Maybe you have the gift of mercy and service.

Are you a “take charge” type of person? Are you good at communicating? Maybe you have the gift of leadership.

Are you good at explaining things to others and enjoy seeing them learn? Maybe you have the gift of teaching.

Do you involve yourself in ministry? Would you like to use that gift to its fullest?

There are too many possibilities to list in this short message. Whatever your gifts may be, wouldn’t you like to develop them further? Wouldn’t you like to use them to the best of your ability? Completing your degree could help you do that! Belhaven University offers many options, including business management, social services, health administration, leadership, Christian ministry, Biblical studies, teacher education, etc.

Why not give yourself the “gift” of education and reach your full potential? In doing so, you will also be helping others who will benefit from receiving what you have to give!

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.

1 Peter 4:10

Belhaven University Verse of the Year 2014-2015


Do you think you’re too old to start something new?

Do you think college is only for the young?

If so…you are wrong!

One of our proudest graduates last year on the Chattanooga campus was 75 years old and an honor student! In our adult programs at Belhaven, our students range in age from 21 to 75! The average age of our adult students is in the 30s.

A friend once said to me, “I’m too old to go back to school for two years. Why, I would be 44 year old when I finish!”

My response to her was, “And how old will you be if you don’t???”

No matter your age, there will be other students like you in our classes.

What are you waiting for? You’re never to old to learn!



Season for Change?

September is a month of transition…the hot days of summer begin to cool down…the colors of nature begin to change to a new and vibrant palette…fall is in the air…and the season of autumn officially arrives on September 22.

Transition…change…transformation…can be a wonderful thing! Is it time for a transition in your life? Do you want to make a positive change for yourself and for those around you? What if you were to be transformed into a person with more confidence, more knowledge, more understanding? Would that change your life?

I’ve been working in adult education for over 20 years, with Covenant College and now Belhaven University. I have seen hundreds of transformations during those years…people who literally changed their lives by adding Christian education and earning a degree to their life experience. Here are a few examples of amazing transformations I have witnessed:

  • The young man who was the first in his family to earn a college degree and was then able to fulfill his dream of a professional position helping children of divorce
  • Single moms who were able to get better jobs to support themselves and their children
  • Employees who had been passed over for promotions because they didn’t have a degree and who received promotions and raises after finishing their degrees…some even before finishing
  • The dad whose children were in high school, and he wanted to finish his college degree before they did, and he succeeded
  • The woman who had a dream and started her own business when she finished her degree
  • Parents who wanted to be role models for their children and show them the value of education
  • The 75-year-old woman who wanted to complete what she started many years ago and graduated last May…you’re never too old!
  • Veterans and current military students, some getting higher ranks with their degrees
  • People dissatisfied with their jobs, wanting to change careers, and doing so with a degree
  • Dads and moms wanting better lives for their families
  • The student who was extremely afraid of public speaking when she began classes but gained confidence and became a public relations spokesperson for a large corporation after graduation
  • Students who had tremendous growth in their faith, some totally amazing!
  • And the list could go on and on…

Are you like any of them, or do you have your own special situation? Do you want change in your life? Would you like to be transformed? Belhaven University is an institution where you can discover your place, your purpose.

To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.    (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

Is this your season for change?

Thinking About “The Question”

As someone who has been involved with adult education for 13 years, I’ve been faced with this question many times, “What will this degree do for me?” The person who asks this question wants to know what skills he will acquire that will lead to a better paying and perhaps even more fulfilling job. This is an honest question, and if you’re a prospective student, Belhaven’s admission representatives are eager to provide the information you’re looking for. However, let me challenge you a bit. What if the answer to your question could be enhanced by asking a different question – a question that’s driven more by a transformational view of education than a purely vocational view? Here’s what I mean.

Arthur F. Holmes, in his book The Idea of a Christian College, implies that to ask “What will this degree do for me?” is to ask the wrong question. Rather, a prospective student should ask “What will this degree do to me?” To frame the question this way means that the prospective student understands the difference between transformational education and education that merely produces vocational skills. Transformational education provides a broad yet integrated view of the world that changes a person to the extent that her influence on her family, employer, church, and community is pervasive and far reaching. Degree programs that focus primarily on the equation that more skills equal a better paying job are short-sighted in that they fail to realize that skills have a short shelf life and fade quickly into obsolescence.

Consistent with Holmes’ view that the liberal arts are the best type of career preparation, Belhaven University’s adult and graduate studies programs provide an expanded offering of general education courses combined with professional curricula that transform students to think broadly and critically in an ever changing and complex world. At Belhaven, occupational know-how (as Holmes put it) is undergirded by courses that develop cognitive and communication skills, imagination, and values – all of which, according to Holmes, are the products of a strong liberal arts (and thus transformational) education.

I suppose that prospective adult students will continue to ask “the question,” and that’s okay. If you desire to return to college, any admissions team worth its salt will work to answer all of your questions. I know we will. There are measurable benefits for those who earn a college degree – no doubt! But you will sell yourself short if, as you explore your options, you fail to consider which college or university’s programs are best designed to transform its students. Only as students are personally transformed by their education will the value of their degree outlast any short-term gains produced by a new skill set.

New Month, Same Goals.

February 2011 is already here! Can you believe it? I think we probably say that every year, but it is still amazing how fast the days, weeks, and months pass by. If you’re like many people, you started off the New Year with some goals in mind. Perhaps you even wrote them down somewhere to remind you. Question is, are you still working on those goals? Or have you already given up, or changed course to some different goals? Hopefully you are staying on track and staying focused on the same goals you set on January 1. The key is to remain disciplined, and to realize that small steps taken each day will translate into big results down the road.

Before you know it, March will be here, then April, May, etc. When those months arrive, will you be looking back, wishing you had stayed focused on achieving your daily goals? Or will you be celebrating the victories you have experienced thus far, while eagerly anticipating those to come?

Make this year different and better than the past…stay focused on the goals you have set for yourself, and do not allow anyone or anything to deter you from achieving them.

Chattanooga Campus Offers New Programs

Belhaven’s adult and graduate studies campus in Chattanooga (Quest) recently received approval to offer two new academic programs. In addition to its flagship Bachelor of Science in Organizational Management offering, working adults in southeast Tennessee and north Georgia can pursue the Bachelor of Health Administration and the Master of Business Administration degrees. As the Chattanooga area continues to defy the recession with the addition of Volkswagen of America and the possible addition of two facilities, Belhaven’s Chattanooga campus is positioning itself to meet the educational needs of an expanding population of professionals. The Chattanooga campus also serves students and Dalton and Rome, Georgia.

What Are Your Goals For 2011?

Although it’s still 2010 and we haven’t gotten through the Christmas season yet, I think now is a great time to reflect on this past year and start thinking about what you would like to accomplish in 2011. With a new year comes the opportunity to start fresh–it’s a good feeling. But for many of us, the feeling of newness and anticipation for the upcoming year lasts for about a month and then we are back into our old routine again. Human nature I suppose.

Why not make 2011 different? Set a few goals that are attainable and realistic, but also ones that will give you fulfillment and satisfaction after reaching them.  Or, just set one goal and focus solely on that until you achieve it. I have the bad habit of setting a number of goals and not completing many, if any, of them in a year’s time. But this year I would rather focus on one important thing and complete it, than create a list of goals that I forget about come February.

So, do you have some goals for 2011? Take time this month to ponder that question, and ask yourself what would be meaningful to your life if you accomplished it in 2011. And think about how good you would feel come December 2011 having reached those goals. Chances are, you would be motivated to achieve even more in 2012. Stop wondering about what-ifs and waiting for something to happen…just go for it and make it happen yourself.