Worship

Worship

One of the nagging dilemmas I face as a university president is faculty attendance in chapel.

We require the students to attend 24 chapels per semester. They often ask me why many professors do not attend.

And their logic is pretty good. “If we are a Christian community, and we believe that worship is formative, and we believe that the need for worship does not end when you get a degree, why don’t professors attend chapel?”

I remind them that many do.

Ok; some do.

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They Call Him “Hoz”

They Call Him “Hoz”

I think I just saw the finest example of classroom instruction that I have ever seen.

The room had no chairs but about 25 standing students. No desk, but a piano. No heavy technology, but a simple white marker board.

Mark Hosny, affectionately known as “The Hoz,” was teaching a group of music students. They were working on the practice of conducting a choir or musical rehearsal.

From the opening second, they were moving, exercising, breathing like musicians do, singing, responding to targeted questions, remembering what they had worked on before, stepping into the limelight and demonstrating a practice with the choir. They were performing at a remarkable level.

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The Big Idea I’ll Be Working On In 2015:  Reduce College Student Debt

The Big Idea I’ll Be Working On In 2015: Reduce College Student Debt

I suppose universities can make New Year’s resolutions. So here’s mine for Trevecca Nazarene University in 2015.

I resolve to find a way to reduce the debt of graduating students at Trevecca while simultaneously reducing the growing cost of unfunded aid to students.

Our students graduate with an average debt of about $21,000. This means some have more, some have less, and some have none. I could write about how this $21,000 is similar to the cost of a good used car, which will decrease in value the minute they drive it off the lot—while their investment in a college degree will repay itself about 47.6 times across the next 40 years.  I’d invest in a proven return like this every day. But my resolve is to drive this average debt number into the teens and find a way to keep it there or lower.

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Is College Worth It?

Is College Worth It?

Is college worth it?

This seems to be the big question these days. You know my prejudices before reading the rest of this post. And if I wrote only from the perspective of worldly wisdom, my answer would go like this:

The pay gap between college graduates and everyone else has reached a record high. “According to the new data, which is based on an analysis of Labor Department statistics by the Economic Policy Institute in Washington, Americans with four-year college degrees made 98 percent more an hour on average in 2013 than people without a degree…. The decision not to attend college for fear that it’s a bad deal is among the most economically irrational decisions anybody could make in 2014.” (David Leonhardt, The Upshot, May 27, 2014) The value of a college education has never been higher. Trevecca students graduate with an average debt less than the price of a mid-sized used car and will go on to earn half-a-million to a million more during their lifetime than their non-degreed peers.

But this answer, while true, bows to the wrong God. Money has been elevated to a position once held by God, the ultimate justifier. President Obama and the US Department of Education are rolling out new requirements that the incomes of college graduates must be tracked for proof that they make money. The one common religion that encompasses the entire world is the pursuit of wealth. Now the only sanctioned reason for going to college is to make more money.

While I am committed to an education that enables a graduate to do great work, I believe the reason for a Christian university is much more radical. We are training cultural and economic missionaries who invade every field of human work with an alternate view of reality. Our graduates believe that the kingdom of God comes as we do the will of the Father on earth as it is done in heaven.

What if there was a college that graduated people marked by the character of God, whose work ethic was driven by their moral values, and whose concern for the neighbor made the world more just and gracious?

What if there was a college that taught its graduates how to make a life?

I went to one. I work at one. It’s called Trevecca. And it’s worth every penny.