October 2002 marks the fourth annual Christian Higher Education Month. The Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU) first designated the month in 1999 to celebrate the impact Christian campuses are having on their students and on society. "My life has been deeply impacted by my choice to attend a Christian liberal arts university," said Gloria Gaither, alumnae of Anderson University and nationally recognized lyricist, author, speaker and recording artist. This year’s Christian Higher Education Month focuses on how alumni from CCCU institutions found their purposes and have made extraordinary contributions to society.
"In the last few years, government leaders have been pushing for more ‘outcomes-based assessment’ of higher education," said CCCU President Dr. Robert C. Andringa. "One of the best methods is to have a good assessment of alumni after several years away from the campus. Based on our national comparative survey of CCCU alumni, we have much to feel good about. Our campuses prepare students for life, not just for work."
An overwhelming 90 percent of CCCU alumni surveyed reported that their college experience was very or extremely effective in helping them develop a sense of purpose in life.
"I had to work harder, be more accountable, make larger commitments," added Gaither. "I also—I believe—got a better academic education. I had full professors from the first day of my freshman year, most with earned Ph.D.s. The classes were smaller so there was little chance of ‘hiding’ or getting ‘lost through the cracks.’ These people cared about me. My peers during those years were focused on finding an intentional mission in life. I was taught ‘be’ and ‘do’ had to be equally mixed with ‘learn’ and ‘think.’"
Many CCCU alumni continue with graduate work at schools such as Rutgers, Yale, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Purdue, Drew and Cornell. Their education and strong commitment to values help them make significant contributions as leaders in government, medicine, media, law, art, music, engineering and more.
"We are grateful to have a prominent place among the outstanding faith-based colleges and universities of this country. Anderson University graduates tell us we are doing a good job of preparing them as they compete professionally or academically," said Dr. James L. Edwards, president of Anderson University. "I often ask our graduates in various graduate schools around the country, ‘How are you doing? Did we prepare you well for your next challenge?’ And I often hear, ‘I've been well prepared.’ Of course, the lives of service across the years tell the success story of the Christian college mission."
Member institutions of the CCCU have seen a surge in enrollment in recent years – an increase that far exceeds that of other private and public institutions. From 1990-1997, enrollment of full-time undergraduate students in CCCU schools rose 32 percent, compared to an increase of just four percent among the same population in public and private American colleges, according to the U.S. Department of Education.
"We established Christian Higher Education Month to raise awareness of and increase recognition for the vital role that Christian higher education plays in the process of transforming culture," said CCCU President Dr. Robert Andringa. "It's time to highlight the contribution our member campuses are making in the world around us."
The CCCU is an association of 101 member institutions with comprehensive curricula rooted in the arts and sciences. The Council exists to advance the cause of Christ-centered higher education and to help our institutions transform lives by faithfully relating scholarship and service to biblical truth. CCCU member campuses offer more than 300 undergraduate majors and more than 80 graduate degrees. Based in Washington, D.C., the Council also serves 53 affiliate campuses in 18 countries.
Anderson University is a member of the CCCU and is a private, liberal arts, institution of approximately 2,400 undergraduate and graduate students. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, the university offers more than 60 undergraduate majors and graduate programs of study in theology, religion and education.