FROM THE COLLEGES: Williams to rename as a university; OBU women's soccer competes in Asia & England; ...
Williams Baptist College to be renamed as a university
WALNUT RIDGE, Ark. (BP) -- There is a new "U" coming to Arkansas. Williams Baptist College has announced that it will be known as Williams Baptist University starting next fall.
"This is a monumental day in the history of this institution, reflecting a major step forward," WBC President Tom Jones said. "Williams has provided an outstanding Christian higher education for the past 76 years, and being known as Williams Baptist University will help us to advance our programs even further."
Jones made the announcement Sept. 20 before students, faculty and staff in Manley Chapel on Williams' Walnut Ridge campus. Standing alongside him were elected officials, denominational leaders and trustees of the Christian liberal arts college.
"The name Williams Baptist University captures the academic excellence and diversity that have long been a part of Williams," Jones said.
Williams, with 500-plus students, has three academic divisions encompassing more than 25 bachelor's degree majors; its first graduate degree, the master of arts in teaching, was launched last spring. All of those attributes fit the generally held definition of a university, Jones said.
In addition, being known as a university, he said, will help Williams move beyond some stubborn misconceptions it has faced.
"Although we became a four-year institution in 1984, there is a lingering perception of Williams as a junior college. And while we are very proud of our truly outstanding Christian ministries program, many fail to perceive that 94 percent of our students are majoring in other areas and preparing for careers in medicine, business, education and other fields," Jones said.
The change to Williams Baptist University has been actively considered for more than two years, Jones said. The move was formally approved on Sept. 15 by WBC's trustees.
Trustee chairman J.R. Cox of Walnut Ridge said the board is excited "to see Williams making such progress and honored to be a part of this momentous occasion. We believe the name Williams Baptist University truly captures the great work done by this institution."
Jones noted there are no regulatory or accreditation criteria for a college to meet in order to change its name to university.
Regarding the transition's timetable, Jones said, "For the remainder of this school year, we will be known as Williams Baptist College. Over the next several months, you will see a gradual transition to WBU with the change complete on July 1, 2018. In August, we will celebrate the final conversion during a special ceremony at our fall convocation."
Williams, founded in 1941 as Southern Baptist college, is owned and operated by the Arkansas Baptist State Convention. The name was changed to Williams Baptist College in honor of founder H.E. Williams on the college's 50th anniversary in 1991. The move to Williams Baptist University is only the second name change in the school's 76-year history.
OBU Lady Bison soccer competes in west Asia & Europe
SHAWNEE, Okla. (BP) -- While the Oklahoma Baptist University women's soccer team trekked to west Asia and England for two weeks in August in partnership with OBU's Global Outreach Center.
Each participant in a Global Outreach trip, or GO Trip, must raise the funds to go as well as attend a full semester of orientation and training.
The Lady Bison first had the opportunity to train with a women's national team in west Asia.
"The first day of training with the national team was very difficult," junior kinesiology major Sam Engles said. "The language barrier made it hard to communicate on the field but also off the field .... That night, we prayed as a team that God would break down those barriers and help us reach the hearts of the players."
That prayer was answered the next day. Though a shirt might not seem like a grandiose gesture, Engles recounted that simply giving a shirt to each member of the national team was enough to create a greater personal connection. It also opened up doors for a local church to meet the players and coaches.
"The Lord used that simple gift to bridge the gap between the two teams," Engles said. "That day at lunch, every single player and coach from the national team wore the shirts we gave them. They continued to wear them for the rest of the week.
"This created a way for the [local workers] to start having conversations with members and coaches of the team about the gift God gave us and how much He loves us. I learned that the people of [west Asia] just want to feel love. So the fact that we came to train with them meant so much. Even though we couldn't speak their language, we were able to show the love of Christ through our actions."
After a week in west Asia, the Lady Bison made the long flight to England. The language barrier evaporated, yet despite a greater understanding of what was being said, that didn't necessarily mean the different cultures always clicked.
"I learned that the English are very friendly and use their sense of humor to start and build relationships," Engles said. "Even though I didn't understand 75 percent of the jokes they made, we were able to still connect and build relationships."
While in England, the Lady Bison partnered with St. Andrew's Church in Cambridge for the first couple of days. The team took the opportunity to connect with local kids, playing futsal -- a small-sided version of soccer that's played on a court roughly the same size as a basketball court. The team also won a couple of matches against teams from Newcastle and Harrogate before heading back across the pond to prepare for the fall semester.
CBU students provide health care in E. Africa, China, Philippines
RIVERSIDE, Calif. (BP) -- Joshua Gladney, an exercise science senior at California Baptist University, had a key insight during his Global Health Engagement trip to East Africa over the summer: Prayer and health care go hand-in-hand.
"I learned how powerful prayer is in a clinical setting," Gladney said. "God clearly intervened in the healing process with so many patients while we were there, so I learned that prayer and health care should definitely not be separate."
CBU's College of Health Science sent three teams this summer to serve in various health care roles in communities located in China, East Africa and the Philippines.
The trips were part of CBU's Global Health Engagement (GHE) program, which provides students an opportunity to provide health care services while gaining course credits and living out the Great Commission.
GHE benefits students by giving them experience related to their profession of interest and the opportunity to share Christ cross-culturally, said Erik Salley, assistant professor of kinesiology and coordinator of the GHE program.
"The students develop cultural competence and sensitivity with respect to global health engagement," Salley said. "They also learn about spiritual formation and its relationship to service in the health professions."
Salley served with a team of seven students and two faculty members who spent three weeks in East Africa assisting with physical therapy at a Baptist hospital in addition to teaching health seminars in a nearby village. The team also held Bible studies at the hospital and the village where they administered care.
"The students saw the integration of faith and profession, got hands-on experience practicing their skills and witnessed what life in a different country looks like," said Amy Miller, assistant professor of kinesiology who also participated in the East Africa trip.
The GHE China team of five students and one faculty member assisted children with special needs and hosted seminars to offer instruction to parents, teachers and childcare workers on caring for children with special needs.
The experience gave students opportunities for hands-on evaluation and treatment, teaming up with individuals outside their field of study and learning how to communicate through interpreters, said Margaret Appenzeller, visiting professor of communication sciences and disorders. It was also about encouraging the parents of special-needs children, she added.
The third GHE team seared at three locations in the Philippines: the Philippine Heart Center, a remote health clinic and a rehabilitation clinic.
The GHE teams were among more than 300 volunteers who served on 36 teams in 23 countries as part of CBU's 2017 International Service Projects mobilization program.
LC faculty's book study integrates faith & learning
PINEVILLE, La. (BP) -- Louisiana College faculty members are studying and discussing for the third year running a book that underscores the importance of integrating faith and learning.
Evangelical author Mark Noll's book "Jesus Christ and the Life of the Mind" follows the previous two years' books: "Conceiving the Christian College" by Duane Litfin and "Renewing Minds" by David Dockery.
Once a month, faculty gather in small interdisciplinary groups to discuss Noll's book with a view to gather information and inspiration regarding the integration of the Christian faith into the liberal arts courses they teach.
"We are first grateful for our president, Dr. Rick Brewer, who initiated the study groups when he arrived in 2015," said Phil Caples, LC's vice president for the integration of faith and learning. "The books and subsequent discussions have enriched our pedagogy and informed our content as we teach from a Christian worldview."
Brewer noted, "In addition to enhancing our approach to faith integration, these books and study groups have engendered an even stronger sense of community and camaraderie among our faculty."
Brewer voiced appreciation to the college's faculty "who regard Christian higher education as a calling and not merely a career. Their commitment to our vision of 'Preparing Graduates & Transforming Lives' continues to make the vision a reality."
Compiled by Baptist Press senior editor Art Toalston from reporting by Williams Baptist College; Oklahoma Baptist University's sport information office; California Baptist University's marketing and communications office; and Norm Miller of Louisiana College.