Southern Adventist University implemented new requirements for general education religion courses this academic year. Students still take 12 hours of religion classes. However, the new requirements involve students taking classes that cover three general areas:
• growth and development of personal spirituality
• Seventh-day Adventist identity
• study and understanding of the Bible.
These three new requirements are closely correlated to one of Southern’s stated learning goals: “Students of Southern Adventist University will grow spiritually in a vibrant relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, while integrating into their lives Bible-based beliefs and values as understood by the Seventh-day Adventist Church.”
In a desire to be more intentional in fulfilling the learning goals, faculty in the School of Religion believe that every student should have the opportunity to take a class that expounds on how to grow and develop a relationship with Jesus—to know Him as their personal Lord and Savior. By developing this friendship with Jesus early in college, students can continue to grow their relationship with Jesus as they continue through their collegiate career.
Sensing that many students did not have a basic knowledge of Seventh-day Adventist identity and beliefs, professors felt that students should take at least one class that focused on providing this knowledge. Students would then have an awareness of what the Adventist church holds to be important—to have a basic foundation in Adventist identity and beliefs, especially so they can integrate them into their daily lives.
Students are also required to take at least one class where the Bible is the main textbook, so they can learn how to study Scripture and experience personal spiritual growth as a result.
With a good grounding in the Bible and an understanding of Adventist beliefs, students will be able to grow and strengthen their relationship with Jesus, even after they leave Southern.
“These requirements provide a nice balance as students move through their religion requirements," says Greg King, dean of the School of Religion. “This all makes for a very balanced program.”