Q: We know that the University helps students grow both academically and spiritually, but in what ways does Belhaven inform thinking, strengthen faith, empower callings, and motivate service?
We help each student identify their calling and encourage them to prepare for it through classroom instruction, mentorship, and out-of-class experiences. Each of our classes has Christian worldview assignments that are incorporated into the academic material. These assignments help students think about the material from a Christian perspective and also allows one to compare and contrast it to a secular perspective.
The Christian Worldview curriculum from which we teach helps students to develop a basis and style of decision making that is consistent with Christian values. Thus, we encourage students to live a life full of hope, meaning and purpose. We are called to serve, as commanded in Matthew 20:28. We drive this point home pretty frequently so our students are well aware of our mission to serve. One way we demonstrate this is by practicing what we preach. In essence, we cannot expect more from our students if we live contrary to what we are teaching.
Q: How are students being academically challenged at Belhaven?
We push our students to think analytically and critically, not just to regurgitate facts but to also consider life’s most important questions about who God is and who they are in light of being the pinnacle of God’s creation and what difference that makes in their individual course of study.
First, Belhaven students are encouraged to understand their own presuppositions with regard to truth, belief, and justification. Second, as all truth is God’s truth, Belhaven faculty communicate to students the importance of art, business, mathematics, history, science, and language in context of thinking God’s thoughts after Him. Third, when students grasp this, they have learned to pursue truth without fear of what they discover; observing, measuring, and applying the laws of logic and coherency to that which is discovered.
We challenge our students to cultivate curiosity on one hand and discipline on the other—to become seekers after truth and excellence in all aspects of life and study.
Q: In your own department, how are you preparing students for their careers and life after college?
We coordinate with local schools, government agencies, ministries, and other businesses to offer our students work experience through internships and on-site observations. Our classical education studies and philosophy of worldviews graduates pursue careers in public policy, linguistics, medicine, social advocacy, business, journalism, seminary, education, theater, and the arts.
In the study of literature and in verbal expression, we emphasize the importance of “taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,” a practice vital, both in the workplace and in daily life.
Q: In what ways is Belhaven staying engaged with the global community?
Our relationship with Dr. Billy Kim, Chairman of Far East Broadcasting-Korea, gives us opportunities to interact with international broadcasters, educators, political and business leaders in and beyond South Korea.
Students from a variety of disciplines are participating in faculty-led international experiences like the social work department in Haiti and the sports administration department in London. In addition, individual students and faculty are partnering with their local churches to participate in service opportunities around the world.
Q: How are we connecting students to the global community?
Belhaven students have been involved in the summer intensive Bahrom International Program through our relationship with Seoul Women’s University. [Also] Belhaven’s “Conversation Partners” engages our American students with international students where they have opportunities to learn about other countries and cultures.
Belhaven is connecting students to the global community through classroom assignments that entail interviewing expatriates overseas, cultivating relationships with our own international students and visiting religious centers of neighboring faiths in the local Jackson area. We are also sending several students a year to all corners of the globe on study abroad assignments ranging from two weeks to a year; recently, students have studied in India, South Korea, Peru, China, Suriname, Costa Rica, and New Zealand.
Q: In what ways is Belhaven and your department dynamically creative?
The Dance Department aims to create an environment of focused investigation, discovery and innovation through courses in improvisation, composition, choreography, dance technique, and many others.
Through projects, competitions, software and technology, social media and hands-on assignments, we have a developed a culture of mathematical thought that continues outside the classroom ... after the lecture.
Belhaven not only offers a wide variety of majors, but it is also made up of a very diverse student body and staff. From dance to activities to academics, Belhaven expresses creativity in all that they do.
Q: Why is creativity important in a learning environment and how does it help students toward a career and calling?
Today’s graduates enter fields that value collaboration, innovation and fresh solutions to meet existing challenges. When students are encouraged to think creatively, they are prepared to make a significant impact in the world.
Being flexible and creative in our teaching methods allows for students to approach mathematics from different angles, making the material their own and something they're comfortable with instead of just rote memory work.
Our world is constantly changing. If we are not learning to adapt and creatively implement new ideas in places of learning, our students will not thrive. If students are challenged and creativity is added to learning environments, they are more likely to succeed and grow through the learning process and in the future.
Q: What are some ways you show compassion, encouragement, understanding or respect toward students?
I believe each student is a gift from God and every interaction is a chance for me to add value to that student. I don’t just ask how they are doing; I try to listen to their answers and relate. I think our campus is such a special campus in terms of the ability to be able to have community. Students are not numbers at Belhaven, but individual adults, living within a family. My athletes are always amazed when professors come to our games and recognize their students in class for something they may have done on the volleyball court.
I once heard someone say that there are “here I am” people, and there are “there you are” people. I strive to be a “there you are” person for every student I encounter.
Q: What are some ways you show support to our students?
I try to pay attention to the things that matter to them. Attend a ballgame, go to a play, ask to see the paper they did well on, eat lunch with them in the dining commons, stop and talk for a minute when I see them on campus …
Q: Why do you think it is significant that Belhaven is nationally recognized?
National recognition is important to Belhaven because it ensures we able to attract quality students and faculty from throughout the nation. We have Business faculty from nationally known institutions such as the Duke University, Kent State University, the University of Alabama, University of Connecticut, University of Mississippi, University of Nebraska, and Wheaton College. Our students are from the Northeast to California, and many alumni live and work outside Mississippi.
First, it draws students from a broader landscape, adding to the campus’ diversity and cultural richness. Meeting the qualifications to be recognized also means that Belhaven provides its students with a high standard of acceptable levels in education.
Q: From your perspective, what makes us a technically advanced university?
We built a new building which has the highest quality standards for air and water quality as well as energy efficiency. We have four levels of water purification in all of our laboratories, and our air circulation turns over very fast to insure that our students are working in the safest possible laboratory conditions. We also have built in safety and environmental controls in all of our labs which also meet the highest ADA standards.
Q: Why is technology so important in higher education?
Technology is critical to training students to thrive in a modern and ever changing workplace.
Q: What do we do to make college affordable for all students?
While the financial administration at Belhaven is very frugal to keep costs low, the Office of Financial Aid strives to provide wise counsel to our students regarding types of aid available as well as how to maximize individual eligibility to achieve their educational dreams.
We work diligently with students and families to make Belhaven affordable for all through scholarships, state aid, and federal grants and loans.
Q: Why is a degree from Belhaven worth it?
The Office of Financial Aid seeks to serve the student as a whole with financial counseling and planning ; thus preparing them to face fiscal responsibilities with Christian values and integrity in the “real world”. The degree from Belhaven indicates a high level of academic achievement; subject knowledge; skill development combined with personal budgetary planning and financial awareness.
For most, college is the last stop before they enter the “real world.” Belhaven prepares students academically and spiritually to handle the challenges of adult life.