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WASC Update: Faith Integration

by University Relations

Accreditation stands as the hallmark of a university’s academic standards. In preparation for accreditation renewal through the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) in 2012, APU gears up for the next step of the process—the Capacity and Preparatory Review (CPR), slated for March 9–11, 2011. Specialized teams focus efforts on the themes of intentional internationalization, faith integration, God-honoring diversity, and transformational scholarship, as key components of the university’s academic vision.

“Our goal is to advance our students’ understanding of these central concepts of the academic vision and how to incorporate them into their personal, academic, and professional lives,” said Vicky Bowden, DNSc, RN, professor of nursing and WASC accreditation liaison officer.

After much prayer, research, and approval from the Faculty Senate, APU defines faith integration as: “Informed reflection on the discovery of Christian faith within the academic disciplines, professional programs, and lived practice, resulting in the articulation of Christian perspectives on truth and life in order to advance the work of God in the world.” This definition aligns with APU’s vision and mission statements and provides a framework upon which to build a solid structure of faith integration across disciplines.

Faith integration develops the relationship between Christian faith and human knowledge as expressed in various academic disciplines (faith and learning) and through cocurricular programs. At APU, faith integration finds especially fertile ground in the Student Life division (faith and living). Through the Offices of the Campus Pastors and Chapel Programs, and the Center for Student Action, students learn to incorporate their faith into every aspect of their lives, from participation in chapel and spiritual mentoring relationships, to local community service and world missions opportunities.

“St. Augustine defined the purpose of education as teaching students ‘to love well,’” said Rev. Chris Adams, Ph.D., associate campus pastor for community care. “Students will not be interested in integrating a Christian worldview into any given discipline if they do not first have a commitment to the Christian life in a fundamentally personal sense that includes learning to love God with their minds and hearts.”

Originally published in the Spring '11 issue of APU Life. Download the full issue (PDF).