Imagery of Regent people and campus

President Campo in "National Conversations" About Education

| September 26, 2012

Photo courtesy of Grand Canyon University

The setting was historic, but the conversation was about the future—specifically the future of Christian higher education. On Friday, Sept. 21, Regent president, Dr. Carlos Campo, joined several leaders in the field as part of Indiana Wesleyan University's "National Conversations," a panel discussion held on the campus of the former Northfield Mount Herman prep school, founded in 1879 by evangelist D. L. Moody.

Panel moderator Michael Cromartie, vice-president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C., began the discussion by asking the panel to offer their views on the future of Christian higher education. "We're at an important crossroads," said President Campo, referencing the wisdom and knowledge mentioned in Proverbs 8. "I believe that America now sees the value Christian colleges and universities can add to society."

Dr. David Wright, founder of National Conversations and provost of Indiana Wesleyan University, agreed. "Yes, there is a pervasive call to service that Christian colleges value," he said.

When the discussion moved into the area of online education and whether a sense of community can be experienced by online students, President Campo noted that today's generation is very happy to receive information even through their cell phones. "This means, of course, that many more people now have access to higher education," he pointed out. Noting there is no question that a sense of community can be experienced by online students, President Campo continued by adding that, in an online class, everyone has to participate. "It's stunning," he said. "Just ask today's young people if they know their Facebook friends better than they do the people who live right down the street."

One of the final questions discussed was whether there is a consensus about Christian higher education. "I think a lot of people don't understand that a Christian education can prepare one for any career," explained Dr. Shirley Hoogstra, vice-president for student life at Calvin College.

Following that thought, President Campo remarked that sometimes the term "Christian higher education" can create a barrier. "It is important to welcome all students, including those who are not Christians, to our campuses," he said. "We should have open dialogues because engaging the culture is a huge piece of what we need to do."

This National Conversation followed the public announcement by Steve Green, president of Hobby Lobby, that the 217-acre Northfield Mount Herman prep school campus, situated in the rolling hills of Northfield, Mass., would be given to Grand Canyon University, a Christian liberal arts university based in Phoenix, Ariz. Hobby Lobby bought and began restoring the historic property in 2009.


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