Anderson University Ethos Statement
To be in a state of integrity with our past and our present and to insure that important values are continued into the future, we have chosen to write this statement. We have an obligation to state to the various constituents we serve, i.e., prospective students and their parents, alumni, donors, the Church of God, and prospective faculty and staff, the ideals that bind us together as an academic community. The purpose of this statement, therefore, is to state what is important to us with the goals of (1) offering to those who are considering employment at Anderson University an understanding of what is expected of them and (2) offering to those who have become a part of this institution a means of carrying into the future the values that have shaped us as a unique institution in the present.
It should be noted that this ethos statement is not intended to take the place of faculty or staff handbooks, both of which may contain more descriptive and prescriptive language about policies.
RELATIONSHIP WITH THE CHURCH OF GOD
When the forerunner of Anderson University was brought into being by the Church of God Reformation Movement in 1917, it was on the assumption that it would be good for the church to sponsor formal education in order to serve the church and the world. The educational vision of the Anderson campus expanded quickly, from a narrow curricular focus in 1917, limited to furthering the particular knowledge and skills needed for enhancing the Christian ministries of a select group of individuals to a full liberal arts program. The church affirmed this vision in 1934 when the General Assembly re-ratified John Morrison’s presidency. While a liberal arts education has been a part of our heritage ever since, we have always supported the professional and pre-professional needs of those who have attended.
Today, we are in both a legal and a covenantal relationship with the church. Legally, the General Assembly of the church must ratify a president once the board has identified the person, and the president must be re-ratified every five years. Likewise, members of the Board of Trustees must be ratified by the General Assembly. More informally, we have freely entered into a signed covenantal relationship in which we and the church pledge mutual support.
Not only have we been founded by and continue to be related to the Church of God, we have also been sustained by the church in several ways. Church of God pastors and laity have been educated here and continue to encourage students to study here. Congregations have supported us directly and through Church of God Ministries and church matching scholarships. Individuals in the church have given sacrificially. All of these expressions of support have come because people have believed in our mission and have believed that we have been conscientious in our efforts to live the mission.
SELF AND COMMUNITY
From our founding to our present, we have had profound respect for community commitments and values, and we have had respect for the traditions of the Church of God regarding personal freedoms. People who have chosen to work and study here have freely forgone personal preferences out of respect for the holiness values that are integral to the Church of God.
Although the Church of God has avoided writing and using creedal statements, the commonly accepted foundational tenets of Christianity have always been embraced. [See “We Believe,” a confessional statement written by the faculty of the Anderson University School of Theology in 2003, for an example of a statement of beliefs that would be widely accepted by many in the Church of God.] Thus, while the university does not have a creed, and while we do not ask faculty and staff to sign creedal statements, we expect that all staff and require that all faculty members, managers, administrators, and professional staff be Christian in word and deed.
Faculty members have long been given and have exercised great latitude in how they conduct the educational program. Professors are encouraged to ask open-ended and difficult questions about life and faith. They choose books for courses and for the library that are important regardless of whether all agree with each word or idea expressed. They may show a variety of films as long as the showing of the film is important to the educational process. It is the university’s belief that only in this kind of free and open atmosphere can students engage in a discovery process that allows them to grow in faith and understanding as they prepare for life in an increasingly complex and largely secular culture. Faculty members also understand that with academic freedom comes great responsibility to exercise this freedom with discipline and in the context of the particular mission of Anderson University.
The University intends to be the kind of institution in which these core values flourish:
INTEGRITY – adhering to a code of moral values, shared virtues, and traditions; conforming to biblical standards of personal behavior; and keeping faith with university policies and standards.
Faculty and staff should respect the university’s tenets and values, honoring the traditions of the church regarding personal freedom, even in areas where we might disagree. We choose to limit ourselves, in part, because we pursue a common and great mission with young people who look to us for support and guidance as they learn to discipline their own personal behavior, adhering to the strict legal and community standards to which they have committed themselves as Anderson University students.
We honor and respect the long-standing traditions of our founding church. As a part of its Wesleyan and Holiness roots, the Church of God encourages its congregants to avoid the use of tobacco and alcohol and the misuse of controlled substances. Today, of course, the harmful effects of tobacco are well-known. Likewise, the misuse of alcohol and other intoxicants is a major social and legal concern. Therefore, we maintain a firm policy prohibiting student drinking of alcoholic beverages and ask faculty and staff to honor this policy whenever their lives intersect with the university. These intersections include, but are not limited to, attending conferences as a representative of the university or participating in events such as Tri-S trips, department parties, and other venues where students, faculty, and/or staff encounter each other in social, dining, service, and academic settings.
The sanctity of marriage and the importance of home and family are university values. It is the standard of the university that all employees confine sexual intimacy to the marriage relationship. Faculty and staff should also remember that students are vulnerable to powerful relational issues that can develop between student and staff or faculty. Appropriate boundaries are an essential safeguard in relationships among the members of the university community.
EXCELLENCE — consistent, high-quality performance, innovation and creativity in the performance of job assignment.
Our commitment to excellence is measured in terms of our mission to educate leaders for lives of faith and service in the church and society. It is also measured in student success.
In order for us to achieve our aspiration of being a teaching-learning community of the highest order, faculty will take seriously the issues of teaching effectiveness, professional and scholarly development, institutional service, and community service in the discharging of their responsibilities.
Staff employees will be conscientious in the performance of their duties and responsibilities, continually seeking to improve their skills and knowledge and remaining open to changes that can improve effectiveness and advance the university.
Administrators will strive to remain aware of the changing landscape of higher education, strive to make the community aware of these changes, and commit to engaging faculty and staff in addressing these changes through innovation and creativity.
SERVANT LEADERSHIP — serving others, showing sensitivity to others with conflicting needs while resolving problems/issues, and demonstrating a sacrificial attitude toward meeting others' needs.
Faculty and staff will evidence a sincere desire to live out the attributes of Christian humility and servant leadership.
We will seek biblical models in resolving disputes on campus, and we will be intentional about the processes of redemption, reconciliation, and reformation in relationships and operations.
RESPONSIBILITY — a commitment to personal and social accountability as evidenced by good stewardship of personal and university resources.
We understand the importance of professors and staff living out their faith in the classroom, office, on the job, and in private lives, including involvement with a local church. Thus, faculty and staff are strongly encouraged to be actively involved in a community of believers. How we live is the evidence of the congruity of our faith, our decision to accept an invitation to be on the faculty or staff of the university, and our professions. Compartmentalization will be seen by students and the community as disingenuous.
Faculty and staff should be broadly supportive of the Christian faith and the customs generally held by the Church of God (Anderson) community. While we recognize that there are many issues on which reasonable individuals differ, and we strive to be inclusive and respectful of these differences, it should be understood that the values and beliefs of the Christian tradition and of the Church of God will take precedence over personal choices.
We encourage all individuals to engage in lifestyles and activities that contribute to wellness.
GENEROSITY — an attitude of hospitality and readiness to give of one’s gifts and talents with a spirit of openness and gratitude.
Anderson University, as a Christian institution, has a biblical, ethical, and moral commitment to welcome and minister to all people within its campus community without regard to culture, age, gender, socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, or disability.
We will demonstrate a spirit of generosity and forbearance when dealing with people and offices. Our communication with each other and with students should be respectful and professional at all times and should evince a spirit of patience regardless of how frustrated we might feel at the moment.
We encourage all people to conduct themselves with a generous spirit toward the personhood of others and to give generously of their gifts and talents.
Anderson University has a long and distinguished history of educating individuals for Christ-like leadership in the church and in the world. It has done this through dedication to the cause of higher education in a context that has been and continues to be informed and guided by the traditions and values of its founding church. Living out these values will be critical to a successful future.
Approved by the Board of Trustees on April 28, 2009.
Revised by the Board of Trustees on May 6, 2011.