Thursday, October 8, 2009

High Expectations: Raising the Bar

My alma mater publishes a quarterly magazine for nearly everyone on its mailing list (prospective students, donors, alumni, parents, etc.) called the BJU Review. We always enjoy reading it and learning about various things going on at the university.

It is also well known that my alma mater is among the strictest schools in the land when it comes to the activities students are permitted/required to participate in. I have no problem with this, nor did I when I was a student. Even if I did not like every single rule, I voluntarily went there, understanding all this and agreeing to obey those rules.

I also knew then, and much more so now, that rules, obedience, and discipline are highly significant to the development of character. I am a better man today because of my experiences as a Bob Jones University student nearly two decades ago. I hope that my children likewise get to experience what my wife and I did as students there.

BJU catches a lot of flak for requiring arcane things like...

  • Keeping your dorm room clean
  • Attending your classes...on time
  • Forbidding the beverage use of alcohol
  • Going to bed instead of staying up all night doing the things you should have done during waking hours
  • Going to chapel...on time
  • Keeping your hands off members of the opposite sex
I have no regrets about the character that was developed in my life as a result of putting myself under these rules. In this quarter's BJU Review, there is a very well-written article entitled "Raising the Bar" that discusses the fact that, as it says at the top of the page, "BJU's high expectations are intentional and give our students a practical edge." I want to quote a few segments from the article below.
"Of course, as a Christian college, expectations for moral excellence are a given. Cheating, substance abuse, immorality and other unbiblical behaviors are never tolerated. They're simply not part of our campus culture, because these activities are condemned in Scripture no matter what the context.

"But our high expectations go beyond moral considerations. We maintain a high standard of professional dress. Residence hall students are expected to keep their rooms clean. Students are accountable for their attendance at classes, chapel, and cultural programs—and for getting there on time. And they're strongly encouraged to take on extra responsibilities by ministering to the community and to area churches.

"At times these expectations cause extra pressure on the student—and that's by design, since a reasonable amount of pressure can be a great catalyst for growth.

"A student having trouble getting projects finished while trying to balance work hours, Saturday morning Bible club and soccer practice can't take the easy way out by skipping class whenever he has a deadline. Instead he has to figure out a way to better manage the time he does have—a skill that will be invaluable down the road when he needs to balance bigger responsibilities such as a career, local church ministry and family."

"Instead of lowering the bar to make things easier, BJU keeps the bar high and then works with students so they can achieve more than they expected of themselves.

"When our graduates go on to the next step of their lives, we don't expect that they'll wear ties every weekday or clean their sinks every morning. These aspects of BJU student life are limited to the college years by design. But we hope that the good habits, high expectations and push for excellence learned during these years will follow them far beyond graduation."

"Student life at BJU is different than at most other colleges. And that makes sense, since we're aiming for a different goal. our high expectations are part of our mission to equip the whole person—and we think they make a lasting difference in the lives of our graduates."
They are right. I'm glad that bar is still set high at Bob Jones University, and I hope it stays there.

1 comment:

Brenda said...

AMEN!!!! We enjoyed that article as well!!!