Month: March 2017

Cedarville Pharmacy Students Fight Ohio’s Opioid Epidemic

Opioid drug use in the United States is skyrocketing, and Ohio has become ground zero for this devastating epidemic. There are an estimated 200,000 addicts to opioid drugs in Ohio alone. Cedarville University pharmacy students, through an initiative called Generation Rx, are taking the lead by reaching out and educating middle school and high school students.

Earn Your Degree in Three Years

Last month we announced 12 popular programs that now offer a three-year pathway to a bachelor’s degree. At a time in American higher education when affordability is a national talking point, I’m excited that Cedarville is offering innovative solutions that reduce costs while maintaining our commitment to academic excellence and a distinctly biblical worldview.

Patience in Suffering

Patience is tough. Just when we think we’ve mastered it, a slow car shows up in the lane in front of us, or we’re stuck in the longest check-out line at the store. You’ve been there. You know what I mean.

But patience is a sign of spiritual maturity that brings peace to our Christian life.

We continued our Steadfast series in chapel and focused on James 5:7–11. Six times in those five verses James mentions patience. Watch as we study together — with a little help from a special furry guest — and discover three opportunities James offers where we should exhibit patience.

 

Celebrating a 97% Placement Rate

97% placement rateOnce again, our Cedarville graduates are enjoying phenomenal early career and graduate school success. According to our most recent First Destination survey, 97 percent of the class of 2016 was either employed or pursuing graduate studies within six months of commencement. Our graduates’ success — which is always well above national averages — affirms the caliber of our students, the quality of a Cedarville education, and the excellence of our Career Services team.

From China to Cedarville and Back Again

At Cedarville University, we encourage all of our students to serve domestically or internationally during their 1,000 days on campus. This is a core element of a Cedarville education. For senior pharmacy student Hannah Schalles, her missions trip to Beijing, China, had a uniquely personal element. Her story of redemption is a moving reminder of how God connects Cedarville students to the heart of His purposes.

Koch Two-Time National Champ, Seven Other NCAA All-Americans

For the first time in Cedarville athletics history, three of our Yellow Jackets athletes and a relay team automatically qualified for the NCAA Division II Indoor Track & Field Championships, held this year in Birmingham, Alabama. Carsyn Koch, who qualified for the Olympic trials last year, repeated as NCAA champion in the 800-meter finals on March 11, crossing the finish line in 2:05.65. Cedarville’s women’s Distance Medley Relay team, comprised of Olivia Esbenshade, Lyndsey Smith, Olivia Kundo, and Koch, finished third to earn All-America honors. Their time of 11:19.55 not only wiped out their own school record by more than 10 seconds, it’s the third-fastest distance medley relay performance in NCAA Division II indoor history. On the men’s side, Daniel Michalski earned his second All-America honor finishing seventh in the nation with a mile time of 4:09.45. He was joined by Tim De Jong, Wyatt Hartman, and Ethan Gatchell on the men’s Distance Medley Relay team. Their finish in 9:53.72 was the second fastest time in Cedarville’s history and also earned the team All-America honors for their eighth-place finish. We are extremely proud of these student-athletes who glorify Christ in their commitment to excellence in their sport, support for their teammates, and servanthood toward competitors.

Blockbuster — The Store That Wouldn’t Change

I first shared this article with Cedarville University faculty and staff in the March 2017 CU Around Campus eNewsletter. As a University committed to the timeless truth of Scripture, we must also be nimble and visionary — adept at change — so that we remain vibrant and relevant, always seeking new opportunities to equip students for Gospel impact and professional success.

Founders Hall

Many people have used Blockbuster as an illustration of a store that didn’t recognize the times and make appropriate changes. The organization refused to acknowledge Netflix or Redbox as a threat to its existence. After all, Blockbuster was the best known name in the business.

That’s only part of the story. Blockbuster actually did try to change. They launched Blockbuster Online and did away with annoying late fees that every customer hated. However, the company faltered when launching a new initiative online, and ending a very profitable late fee system created short-term profitability issues. Consequently, an internal struggle began that resulted in the departure of CEO John Antioco and the reversal of both new strategies, which sealed the long-term fate of Blockbuster. [1]

Change is hard. People don’t like it. We don’t like it. I don’t like it. I like my routines, and I function best when keeping them.

Yet, I want to challenge us all to be open to change — not in our doctrine or our distinctives. We can’t change our message (the Gospel), but we can change our methods. Not every idea will be good. Some ideas will need further development. Implementing even the best ideas will be hard because change is hard.

Every year I see reports of colleges and universities going out of business, with Saint Joseph’s in Indiana being the latest. I hear of many more struggling to make ends meet, with hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars in budget gaps. The Chronicle of Higher Education just released an article on 177 private colleges that fail the educations department’s financial responsibility test. [2] Tuition discounting continues to skyrocket at institutions that have, out of necessity, abandoned a long-term look toward the future in order to fight for survival each and every year. When we talk with potential students, they compare our financial aid to that of struggling schools and wonder why we don’t offer more. Many college students accrue large amounts of debt, leading others to question whether the benefits outweigh the costs. Books are being written with titles like The End of College and Fail U. Add the competition from Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) options and other forms of free online delivery of information, and you can see that we face many challenges.

As such, we cannot afford to preserve things the way we have always done them; we must look to find efficiency and ways to cut costs, without losing effectiveness across the University. We must decide that change now may be necessary and appropriate in order to keep our institution positioned where it needs to be moving forward into the future. For instance, we may decide that adding new programs, whether graduate or not, is a good idea. We may decide that ending a few struggling programs strengthens the institution overall. We will consider all options — flexible format graduate programs, certifications, continuing education, associate degrees, adult education, LLCs, College Now partnerships with homeschool networks or Christian schools, maximizing three-year degrees, and more — then we’ll do what makes sense.

Success requires that we change together. We must learn from Blockbuster in two ways. First, we must constantly look for ways to improve our University and solidify its strong position against future challenges. Second, as we discover things we can do better, additional revenue streams, new programs, new delivery methods, or new ways of operating, we cannot allow internal conflict to create an environment that deters exploring ways to improve. If we encourage keeping everything the way it has always been, then we repeat the mistakes of Blockbuster.

To be clear, Cedarville University has never been stronger financially. We forecast finishing yet another year in the black. Our program review system is robust. Our numbers for fall 2017 enrollment are stronger than in recent years and are on track to meet or exceed expectations. Our discount rate is lower than most. By God’s grace, we are positioned well. Yet, so was Blockbuster at one point in time. With many predicting that the education bubble will eventually burst, let us not rest with things as they have been. Let us position ourselves to thrive tomorrow by looking for ways to be better today.

Most importantly, let us be found good and faithful stewards as we stand for the Word of God and the Testimony of Jesus Christ.

 

[1] John Antioco, “How I Did it: Blockbuster’s Former CEO on Sparring with an Activist Shareholder,” Harvard Business Review, April 2011.

[2] Chis Quintana and Joshua Hatch, “177 Private Colleges Fail Education Dept.’s Financial-Responsibility Test.” March 8, 2017.

Wealth Is a Good Tool to Steward, But a Horrible God to Worship

SteadfastWe may possess wealth, but we do not own it. It is a gift from God, and it’s all His anyway. We are called to steward what God has given us, but wealth makes a horrible god – it will never satisfy. As we continue in our Steadfast series, I invite you to join our Cedarville family as we study James 5:1-6. James gives four indictments against the ungodly rich, and we’ll discover how we can use God-given wealth to bring glory to Him.

The Sinfulness of Planning Without God

For many people in the world today, life is all about them. All about their choices. All about living life for themselves, their way. But when we live our lives as though we are a part of God’s great plan, we begin to focus on things that really matter, things that count for eternity. As we continued our Steadfast series, we examined James 4:13-17 to learn what James has to say about making our plans without God.

© 2017 Thomas White

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