In the wake of President Obama’s contraception mandate and the National Labor Relations Board’s recent ruling permitting some religious university faculty members to unionize, rumblings of a new university rating system from the Department of Education has brought together three leaders in faith-based higher education to discuss the common threats to the religious freedom of their universities and others like them, the Washington Post reports. The presidents of Baylor University, Catholic University of America and Yeshiva University met in Washington, D.C. Feb. 4, 2015 to discuss these issues and what they mean for the future of faith-based institutions.
An annual study from the Cooperative Institutional Research Program indicates this year that freshmen in college are increasingly less interested in cultivating religion in their lives. The survey, called ‘The American Freshman,’ polled more than 150,000 college freshman from 227 schools across the nation and found that 28 percent of students did not associate themselves with any religion, a 12 percent increase since 1971. Emory University’s dean of campus life Ajay Nair told USA today he partially attributes this to the politicization of religion and as a result, a growing aversion to identifying with a specific religion, rather than a lack of spirituality among college students altogether.
Catholic University of America announced in January 2015 its School of Business and Economics has received a $3 million donation towards funding four faculty members to teach ‘principled entrepreneurship.’ According to DCInno, the donation has drawn speculation as $1.75 million of the grant comes from the Charles Koch foundation, which has been known for supporting colleges and conservative political groups as well as influencing policy and teaching deregulation philosophy. The additional funds were donated by the Busch Family Foundation, which contributed $500,000, and three independent business leaders who each contributed $250,000.
The Louisville, Ky.-based Southern Baptist Theological Seminary recently launched its ‘Global Campus,’ which the school’s administration aims to utilize not just to provide online degrees, but to reach people around the world. SBTS President R. Albert Mohler, Jr. said in the Baptist Press opportunities have arisen to provide theological education across the globe, whether it’s Americans on the mission field or Christians in China requesting to continue learning from the seminary professors. Students can access SBTS’ M.Div. program through a variety of means, which include a hybrid classroom/online model, one week long J-term sessions and nine extension centers around the U.S.
Union College, a Seventh-Day Adventist institution in Lincoln, Neb., has received a $2 million endowment from Adventist Health System (AHS) to establish the first endowed academic chairmanship in the school’s Division of Business and Computer Science, the Lincoln Journal-Star reports. The Florida-based healthcare provider runs 45 hospitals across 10 states and has established a positive relationship with the college. Union’s business division chairman Barry Forbes said many alumni have had the opportunity to find employment there upon graduation, while AHS President Don Jernigan states the organization appreciates the college’s commitment to training strong leaders through a Christian-faith based education.