1.7 The Spring Arbor University Community Covenant Biblical Principles

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1 1.7 The Spring Arbor University Community Covenant As an academic community, Spring Arbor University is shaped by its commitment to Christian values found in the teachings of Jesus Christ, its historical foundation, and the Concept philosophy which undergirds the curriculum, student life and approach to service. The university community is unique because of the way these elements have developed. As an educational institution, SAU seeks to be thoroughly Christian. The SAU Community Covenant affirms the university s Christian commitment while recognizing the diversity of its extended student body. As part of its commitment to Christian integrity, the university affirms the same foundational standards for students, staff, faculty, and trustees. This Covenant, therefore, includes all these groups and serves as the basis for the more specific behavioral expectations required of campus students. Persons who become members of the SAU Community as trustees, faculty, staff, or students covenant to accept and model the Spring Arbor Concept as elaborated in this Community Covenant. The Community Covenant includes biblical principles and Christian lifestyle affirmations that are central to our Christian identity and should be affirmed by all who affiliate with Spring Arbor University. It also includes specific community disciplines that help to create the kind of Christian learning environment desired by the university and envisioned by the Spring Arbor Concept Biblical Principles The Bible provides basic principles for Christian character and behavior. These include the following: 1. Principle of LORDSHIP: Jesus Christ is Lord over all dimensions of life, thought, and culture. Jesus calls us to a life of faith and love including obedience to the moral teaching of the Bible and to responsible discipleship in all of life (Luke 9:23; Philippians 2:1-13; Colossians 1:10-23; Hebrews 12:1-3, 13:12-16; I Peter 1:13-16). 2. Principle of LOVE: Love for God and love for others are the primary motivations for Christian relationships and behavior. Scripture reminds us that love is the fulfillment of the law (Romans 13:10; Leviticus 19:18; Deuteronomy 6:4-6; Matthew 5:43-48; Luke 10:27; John 13:34-35, 14:15; Romans 13:9). 3. Principle of COMMUNITY: Community is central to the life of the university and its understanding of Christian education. Christian love includes mutual accountability and forgiveness within the community, as well as sensitivity toward others needs and weaknesses. It includes participation in the worship and activities of the church, which is a

2 necessary context for Christian living (Matthew 18:20; Acts 2:42-47; Romans 12:9-21; Ephesians 4:25, 5:15-21; Colossians 3:12-17; Hebrews 10:24-25). 4. Principle of CHARACTER: God, through the Holy Spirit, places in every believer the inner resources to grow in Christian character and to minister to others through supportive relationships. This community encourages an environment in which members can grow in compassion, integrity, and the integration of faith and learning (Matthew 15:10-20; Romans 8:5-17, 12:1-2; Galatians 5:22-25; Ephesians 4:1-16; Philippians 4:4-9; I Peter 2:21) Christian Lifestyle Affirmations A lifestyle consistent with the above principles is expected of all members of the University community. Jesus calls, and by grace assists us, to practice Christian virtues and to avoid attitudes and actions that the Bible condemns as sinful. Members of the University community agree to exhibit such Christian virtues as humility, honesty, a forgiving spirit, self-discipline, faith, hope, and love. While we recognize that through individual freedom we will have nuances of differences in the demonstration of these virtues, the university trustees, faculty, and staff seek to be role models of Christian living to the students. Attitudes that the Bible condemns as morally wrong include greed, jealousy, pride, lust, bitterness, uncontrolled anger, and prejudice based on race or ethnicity, sex, or socioeconomic status. While these attitudes are not always obvious, they are as subject to God s judgment as are more visible sins. The Bible also condemns such behavior as drunkenness, stealing, profanity, unfair discrimination, dishonesty, occult practices, and sexual sins such as premarital sex, marital unfaithfulness, homosexual and transgender behavior. Therefore, those persons affiliating with the University as faculty will be expected to adhere to behaviors in their professional and personal conduct that reflect the teachings of Jesus Christ. Responsible freedom requires respect for the sanctity of human life and faithful stewardship of mind, body, time, gifts and abilities, finances, and the natural environment. It also requires thoughtful Christian discernment in matters of entertainment and associations Community Disciplines In addition to the moral standards prescribed in the Bible, the University has adopted certain disciplines that are intended to foster a campus atmosphere consistent with the University s Christian heritage. These disciplines embody such foundational Christian principles as selfcontrol, avoidance of harmful practices, and sensitivity to the heritage and practices of other Christians and people of other belief systems. The University community expects all its members to abstain from gambling, profanity, the illegal use of drugs, and the use of tobacco and alcoholic beverages. These community disciplines apply to trustees, faculty, staff, and all Spring Arbor campus students. They also apply to professional studies students, graduate students, and adjunct faculty whenever they are involved in university functions or using University facilities.

3 The University seeks through this Covenant to cultivate an environment in which Christian character may flourish. The Covenant is intended to promote a lifestyle based on Christian principles and devotion to Christ. It affirms that living for Christ results from conscious choices rather than mere acceptance of prevailing practices. The University s larger hope is that the SAU community may in some measure model and point towards the kind of gracious, just, and peaceable society pictured in the biblical vision of the Kingdom of God General Expectations for All Faculty Ranks Effective Teaching a. Evidences mastery of course content knowledge or development of mastery through a planned process. b. Communicates course objectives and expectations adequately to students. c. Stays current in the discipline so that students have the advantage of the most recent materials, methods, and views. d. Presents information to students in an interesting, understandable manner. e. Uses varied motivational strategies to promote student achievement. f. Employs examination techniques and items that are congruent with course objectives, classroom emphasis, and levels of desired cognitive learning. g. Evaluates students work promptly and fairly, giving appropriate feedback. h. Strives to achieve above-average student ratings. i. Participates in a systematic process of course review (including student evaluation, syllabus revision, and course material update.) j. Regularly meets classes. k. Creates a classroom environment conducive to learning. l. Provides assistance to students who may need additional assistance to be successful in a course. m. Does not discriminate in the classroom because of gender, race, ethnicity, academic ability, physical disability or faith perspective Professional Growth a. Is involved in activities (including workshops, seminars, consultations, reading, and research) which demonstrate an ongoing effort to stay current in one s discipline. b. Is active in professional organizations or activities directly related to one s discipline (holds memberships, reads journals, assists in organizational planning, seminars, consults with professional colleagues, etc.). c. Contributes to scholarship through publishing, presenting, directing, competing, collaborating, performing, exhibiting, etc., in the areas of one s teaching assignments or related areas.

4 d. Participates in annual evaluations to obtain feedback for growth and development. e. Develops, with the department chair and dean, a professional growth plan Professional Service a. Is involved with students outside of class time by keeping posted office hours (5 hours per week minimum for full-time faculty) and through advising, sponsoring, and conducting student-related activities. b. Supports and encourages fellow faculty members in attaining excellence in teaching. c. Contributes to the campus community by developing programs/curricula, by carrying out committee responsibilities, and by representing the University in the wider community. d. Is involved in the wider community through service to civic organizations. e. Is involved as part of the University community in commencement, committees, faculty meetings, annual dinners, Focus sessions, and other University activities. f. Participates in and takes responsibility for departmental functions Christian Leadership a. Articulates a total commitment to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior in all of life and learning. b. Models a Christian example to students through caring, concern, and high standards of personal and ethical behavior. c. Participates in the life of a local body of Christian believers through service in such activities as Sunday School, youth work, boards and committees, music, etc. d. Practices the spiritual disciplines of regular Bible reading, private and public worship, and contributes time, talent, and finances to the Kingdom of God. e. Integrates faith and learning in the classroom and in such forums as chapel and the Community of Learners lecture series. f. Seeks to further the Kingdom of Christ on earth as a critical participant in the contemporary world through being a citizen of the local community, the state, nation, and the world. g. Integrates a Christian worldview into all courses and other academic activities Personal Qualities a. Pursues academic excellence within one s discipline and cultivates an appreciation for other areas of liberal and applied arts. b. Thinks critically, divergently, and productively; sorts out relevant knowledge and makes wise judgments. c. Is a continuing student, able to confront ambiguity and arrive at satisfactory conclusions.

5 d. Understands the Christian heritage, seeks to discern the crux of contemporary social and moral issues. e. Possesses the skills for effective communication. f. Understands personal motivations, aspirations, capabilities, and goals in light of a personal faith and commitment to Jesus Christ as the source of all knowledge. g. Values the sanctity of human life; views physical fitness as a part of maintaining optimal health and wellness. h. Is loyal to the institution and supports its endeavors consistent with biblical teachings. i. Uses appropriate means of discussion or dissent to advocate for change. j. Is collegial in addressing colleagues and students; does not discriminate against students or colleagues because of gender, race, academic ability, or faith background. k. Cherishes community among all people and expresses compassion and concern by a willingness to participate in the total life of the University community. l. Balances family and University responsibilities.

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