|Spring Arbor University|
|Motto||"Spring Arbor University is a community of learners, distinguished by our lifelong involvement in the study and application of the liberal arts, total commitment to Jesus Christ as the perspective for learning, and critical participation in the contemporary world."|
|President||Dr. Charles H. Webb|
|Location||Spring Arbor, Michigan, U.S.|
Spring Arbor University (often called "The Arbor" by its students) is located in Spring Arbor, Michigan, United States (8 miles southwest of Jackson, Michigan). SAU is an evangelical Protestant university affiliated with the Free Methodist Church, with professional and graduate studies for about 3,700 students. As of the 2007–08 school year, there were 1,913 undergraduates, 1,091 graduate and 697 off-campus degree completion students. The university employs approximately 100 full-time faculty. Spring Arbor University has extension sites in Battle Creek, Bay City, Flint, Gaylord, Grand Rapids, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Lansing, metro Detroit, Petoskey, Traverse City, and metro Toledo, Ohio (whose site is actually in nearby Lambertville, Mich., in Bedford Township.)
The university offers more than 40 program majors and is recognized for its liberal arts curriculum and Christian atmosphere. Most students are from various Protestant denominations, with more than 42 denominations represented on the campus. About 86% of students are from Michigan, 13% are from 22 other states, and 1% are international.
Spring Arbor University was founded in 1873 by leaders of the Free Methodist Church. Called to minister to the poor, the early Free Methodists advocated freedom for slaves and free pews for all worshipers. In 1860, the year Abraham Lincoln was elected president of the United States, B.T. Roberts organized the Free Methodist denomination in New York. Three years later Edward Payson Hart began evangelistic meetings in Michigan. Hart was the driving force behind the establishment of Spring Arbor Seminary—an academy for elementary and secondary grades. Located near the site of a former Pottawatomie Indian village, the academy was built upon "some old school property" that once belonged to Michigan Central College (now Hillsdale College). Devoted to the "promotion of earnest Christianity and sound, solid learning," Spring Arbor Seminary was open to all children, regardless of "religious convictions or beliefs."
Spring Arbor Seminary's enrollment grew to around 200 students in 1907, declined during World War I, but recovered after the Armistice. As one of its principals, H.A. Millican observed the academy remained committed to its original aim to "urge holiness of life and thorough Christian training, together with the highest type of mental culture." In 1923, as the school celebrated its 50th anniversary, the board of trustees voted to add a junior college to the academy. Some first- and second-year courses were offered over the next few terms, and in 1929 the school became Spring Arbor Seminary and Junior College. As the emphasis shifted toward higher education, primary and intermediate classes were discontinued in 1930. In 1960, when the school achieved accreditation by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (see Accreditation for contact information), the trustees changed the name of the institution to Spring Arbor College. Soon the high school program was dropped, as plans were developed to make Spring Arbor a four-year college. Under the leadership of President David McKenna, Spring Arbor College launched its four-year program in 1963, graduating its first senior class in 1965.
The college continued its expansion, adding locations and degrees over the subsequent years. In the early 1980s, Spring Arbor began offering the first of its degree completion programs for adult learners in nearby Jackson. The initial class of students to earn a degree in management of human resources graduated in 1983. New programs and new locations soon followed, as the college developed degrees in health-related fields and opened sites in Lansing and Flint. Over the past decade, Spring Arbor has become a leader in the design of degree completion programs and the University has a network of 20 affiliate colleges that have adopted or adapted the Spring Arbor curriculum.
At present, the university's School of Graduate and Professional Studies operates offers degree options including associate of arts and associate of science in business, and bachelor's in management and organizational development, family life education, business, Christian ministry leadership, social work, and nursing. Teacher certification at the elementary level is now offered in a 2+2 format at North Central Michigan College in Petoskey, Great Lakes Christian College in Lansing and Jackson Community College. Currently, more than 1,000 students are enrolled in these off-campus programs.
Graduate education began at Spring Arbor in 1994, with the inauguration of the Master of Arts in Management degree, which is now the Master of Business Administration. Soon afterward, the University began to offer its Master of Arts in Education. Spring Arbor is one of the few schools among Christian universities with accreditation from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. In 1999, the Master of Arts in Organizational Management was introduced. The Master of Arts in Counseling began in the fall of 2001.
MAC, MAE and MAOM degrees are offered through some of the University's regional centers. At present, more than 1,000 students are enrolled in Spring Arbor's graduate degree programs, with an additional 100 students attending graduate courses for professional development. The Master of Arts in Family Studies began fall 2002 and the University's first entirely-online graduate program, the Master of Arts in Communication, began the following year. In 2006, the University introduced its second entirely-online graduate program, the Master of Arts in Spiritual Formation and Leadership. In 2009, the Master of Science in Nursing began, a third primarily online program.
On April 30, 2001, Spring Arbor College became Spring Arbor University.
Spring Arbor University requires that all students attend a chapel service on Mondays and Wednesdays at 10:10 am. There are at least 800-1000 students and faculty members in attendance every week, often with guest speakers.
SAU chaplain Ron Kopickoselects speakers from as far as California and as close as the University's own community such as professors, staff members and past students.
Aside from Chapel, there are a variety of campus groups and events designed to grow the spiritual life of students including Spiritual Life Retreat, small groups, and the CORE program. The CORE program is developed specifically into the curriculum to produce lifelong growth personally and spiritually.
SAU has hosted concerts for Christian music artists Sanctus Real, Family Force 5, Falling Up, Shane and Shane, Starfield, Bethany Dillon, The Glorious Unseen, The AG Silver Band and The David Crowder Band.
Every year Spring Arbor University hosts an annual event called Focus Series. During this day classes are canceled and various workshops and seminars are held on campus. Previous speakers have included emergent church spokesperson and author, Brian McLaren, David Kinnaman The Author of "Un-Christian" and President of the Barna Research Group and Kevin DeYoung, co-author of the book "Why We're Not Emergent by Two Guys who Should Be".
Spring Arbor University has two local radio stations 106.9 HOME.fm and 89.3 The Message. Publications include The Pulse, a bi-monthly student run news magazine, and the Echo, a video year book. An annual student film festival, Lumenocular, is held every April.
During January 2008, a small group of students formed an underground FM radio station broadcasting on 100.5MHZ under the name, WTIT. The station mostly aired a variety of alternative rock, jazz, blues, and even boasted a rap show called, "What it is, with your host, RC." But perhaps the most popular was "Michael Hart's Heart to Heart." The show was hosted by SAU student, Michael Hart, and comically covered the topics of love, romance, and beauty. The show was so popular, that the students who created the station put all of Michael Hart's episodes online at http://webspinneronline.com/michaelhart/. The station only lasted about two weeks before University officials asked the students to stop broadcasting.
The university is a member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities and plays an active role in both local and world communities. The university is also accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The Spring Arbor University Concept is, "Spring Arbor University is a community of learners distinguished by our lifelong involvement in the study and application of the liberal arts, total commitment to Jesus Christ as the perspective for learning, and critical participation in the contemporary world."
In a recent chapel service interim president Dr. Gerald Bates announced to the students that SAU staff had been holding meetings to decide the future of Spring Arbor University. He announced that by 2020 the university hopes to have accomplished a new science center, expanded student center, and several more student housing units. It was hinted at that several other academic buildings were planned to be built by 2020 but specific details were not given. Finally, Dr. Bates hopes that the endowment of SAU will reach $20 million by 2020 and that student enrollment will surpass 5,000.
Spring Arbor University received a major contribution from CP Federal Credit Union to develop a trading center in the new Poling Center Building for Global Learning and Leadership. The trading center was completed in 2008 with a grand opening on April 30, 2008.
The trading center simulates a real-world, financial institution's trading room. Students gain real-life experiences in trading technology and a sense of confidence that they can grow and thrive in the financial trading arena. The training also prepares students for the Series 7 Certification, Bloomberg equities and Bloomberg fixed income products.
Features of the high-tech trading room include: Dual monitor computers for each student; wrap-around electronic ticker tape; data board; continuous financial news feeds; touch-screen teacher bunker; large LCD screen for teaching; Bloomberg financial terminal; and bank of international clocks
This teaching lab is used for courses in banking, investing or futures markets, and personal and corporate finance. Students analyze realtime and historical financial data or use the financial software to build and test investment portfolios. In addition to serving as a teaching tool, the trading center is also available for financial seminars and faculty research.
On November 9, 2007, Spring Arbor University announced a $1.1 million contribution that will fully endow a chair for the department of religion. With primary funding from retired Battle Creek real estate mogul B. Jack Andrews, this gift will endow a chair for spiritual formation—the first fully-funded endowed chair in the University’s history. In 2008, Robert Moore-Jumonville was named the first chair.
Though he is not an alum, Jack Andrews’ as one of 10 children, chose to help establish a chair that would conserve the beliefs of his parents. His father, E.A Andrews was a longtime pastor in the Free Methodist Church. Andrews served at the Spring Arbor Free Methodist Church from 1924-1926.
The Spring Arbor University Board of Trustees overwhelmingly voted to appoint Dr. Gerald E. Bates president of Spring Arbor University for the 2007-08 academic year, effective as of June 1. Bates succeeded Dr. Gayle D. Beebe, who has left to become president of Westmont College in Santa Barbara, Calif.
Bates currently serves the University as vice chair of the Board of Trustees and chair of the board’s strategic planning oversight committee. During this assignment, he worked with faculty, staff and administration to sharpen the University’s position within higher education, with a focus on strategic planning.
“President Bates is an ideal person to lead and represent Spring Arbor University in the coming year as we search for a new president,” says Les Dietzman, chairman of the SAU Board of Trustees. “He has worked closely with Dr. Beebe, particularly in the area of strategic planning. We believe he will be able to lead our talented executive team as they continue the momentum that has distinguished SAU over the past several years. Dr.Bates has been a leader on the board and demonstrated his strength and wisdom. We are very fortunate to have someone who is this qualified, who knows and loves the University and who is available to act as a bridge during this period.”
The board will grant Bates a leave of absence from his board duties during his one-year term as president.
A search for the next president of Spring Arbor University will begin immediately. Bates will serve until the new president takes office. E. Harold Munn will lead the search for Spring Arbor University’s next president as chair of the presidential search committee. Bates will not be a candidate for the permanent position.
Following a nationwide search, the Spring Arbor University Board of Trustees announced the election of Dr. Charles H. Webb as the University’s 29th president on Saturday, Feb. 16. President Webb began serving on June 1, 2008.
Spring Arbor University installed Charles H. Webb as its 29th president on Friday, Oct. 24, at 10:30 a.m. in the Spring Arbor Free Methodist Church.
Alumnus David McKenna, SAU’s 21st president and author of the Concept, spoke on “Affirming Our Heritage,” and Webb delivered his address, “Advancing Our Mission” during the formal ceremony.
During the three-day celebration, several events incorporating the inaugural theme—Globalization through the eyes of faith—were planned to mark the beginning of Webb’s tenure at Spring Arbor University.
An alumnus of Spring Arbor University, Dr. Webb previously served as vice president for university development at Michigan State University, where he was the university officer responsible for the fundraising program and generating private sector support. He led MSU’s $1.2 billion campaign, where he exceeded the fundraising goal with a total of $1.38 billion. Webb also served 10 years as president of the Michigan State University Foundation, with assets exceeding $350 million. For nearly 13 years, he served as executive director for the MSU Alumni Association, which had more than 100 regional clubs and 27 constituent associations.
Webb was assistant vice chancellor for alumni relations and development for State University of New York, which has 64 campuses. Prior to that, he was assistant dean of students, assistant chaplain and director of planned giving at SAU after spending a year at Asbury Theological Seminary.
An adjunct faculty member at MSU, Webb has guest lectured for Vanderbilt University and faculty lectured for a CASE United Kingdom Institute. Dr. Webb is an ordained elder in the Free Methodist Church.
Spring Arbor University will welcome church delegates and friends for the 2007 General Conference of the Free Methodist Church of North America, which comes to campus July 7-13, 2007.
"This is the first time in the history of the Free Methodist church that the general conference is being held on our campus," said Gayle D. Beebe, then Spring Arbor University president. "This is an important event for the church and a significant opportunity for the University. I am pleased that the Free Methodist church from across the United States and from our mission fields around the world will be able to enjoy the Spring Arbor University experience."