By JACKY TAMEZ
The University recently ranked fourth on The Best School’s “15 Best Bible Schools” list.
TheBestSchools.org is an independent organization that ranks schools on specific categories such as online programs, criminal justice degrees and business administration. The website administrators are knowledgable about the academic world, as they have experience in teaching, researching and publishing on a university level.
The website uses a three master criteria in the way it ranks the schools. First is academic excellence, which judges the quality and productivity of the faculty. Second is the return on investment that considers factors such as employability. The last is incidental benefit, which views matters not in regards to education prospects, but in a way that significantly impacts one’s life.
In regards to the “15 Best Bible Schools” list, researchers ranked the schools based on “their commitment to sound Christian education, their vital campus life, outstanding faculty, academic excellence and above all, their impressive Bible curriculum.”
The University’s ranking is based on its education in regards to President Robert B. Sloan Jr.’s Ten Pillars vision. The website states, “this driving initiative meets biblical preparedness with worldview and apologetics training, all within a great books classical curriculum.”
Dr. Jeffrey Green, dean of the School of Christian Thought, said the faculty is determined to carry out the vision of the Ten Pillars and hopes that the ranking will help spread the University’s story across the nation.
“Faculty is committed to academics and Orthodox Christianity,” Green said. “Both seem to be incompatible but faculty shows that it is not.”
The Ten Pillars vision was approved in February of 2008 by the Board of Trustees and includes establishing a residential society of learning, bringing Athens and Jerusalem together and cultivating a strong global focus.
“We have an outstanding faculty not only in the theology area, but across the curriculum,” Sloan said. “Christian people invariably utilize Scripture no matter what they are doing, so you get both the formal teaching of Scripture and then an informal teaching through the entire way that the professors teach.”
The website also mentioned that the University is organized in a liberal arts format with a department of theology rather than an all-encompassing Bible college format. Under this format, undergraduate and graduate students can work toward a bachelor’s in biblical languages or Christianity, or a master’s in biblical languages or theological studies.
The website stated other positive aspects of the University, such as the recently added department of apologetics that began last fall and the hiring of Christian scholars such as provost John Mark Reynolds.
Dr. Joseph Blair, chair of the department of theology, said he was very grateful that the University received the recognition.
“It is a testimony of the quality of professors that the University has,” Blair said. “Not only in regards to the schools of theology, but also all around campus.”