The mission of Oakwood University is to transform students through biblically-based education for service to God and humanity. The basis of our Seventh-day Adventist education is restoration to the image of God through a holistic, God-first curriculum under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Adventist schools should seek to make students whole through a curriculum that is foundational Biblical, on-campus spiritual activities and worship opportunities, Christ-centered social activities, and through service and service-learning projects. The mission of Oakwood University is to transform students through biblically-based education for service to God and humanity.
The 2015-2016 LifeCore© study has shown that the students at Oakwood reflect the mission and vision of the University. We were first introduced to the concept of integrating faith and learning, and then the University moved to Biblical foundations for the disciplines we study after LifeCore© 2011 and 2013. Students shared that their most enjoyable courses were characterized by “professors who help me understand the relationship between biblical teachings and the subject being taught” by “professors praying in the classroom” and professors demonstrating care in the classroom.
In 2015 Oakwood students said that their “religious faith is important” (77%) to them and that how they behave is just as important as what they believe (68%). Other students made statements such as “I believe keeping the Ten Commandments can be a spiritual experience,” “attendance at Oakwood University has improved my spiritual life,” and that their lives are committed to God. Oakwood students show a high level of commitment to Christ and to the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
One question on the LifeCore© survey asked students to indicate their level of commitment to the different beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist church. Students are particularly committed to:
Living by Biblical principles of sexual morality (85.09%)
Observing the Seventh-day Sabbath (90.17%)
Participating in public worship (79.20%)
Praying daily (89.31%)
Supporting world evangelism through personal participation or financial contribution (74.65%)
Telling others of the Seventh-day Adventist message as found in Scripture (80.17%), and Upholding Seventh day Adventist standards of dress (79.19%).
It is a strong belief of the students that Seventh-day Adventists should exemplify Christ, indicated by their responses to the question, “What does it mean to be a Seventh-day Adventist?”
93% – Living a life of love/service to God.”
91% – Living a life of obedience to God’s Word
89% – Living a life of Christian love/service to others.
Students also shared beliefs on how Adventist should dress and their social responsibility to the community. Most believe that they should refrain from adultery, immodesty, sexual promiscuity, and ornamental jewelry, while a few view wearing jewelry and drinking caffeinated drinks as acceptable Seventh-day Adventist behaviors.
Are these students Christians? Their answer is a resounding “yes” and more than 94% say they desire to be ready for Christ’s return and they want their family and friends to be ready. Half are satisfied with their personal devotional life, and the other half are dissatisfied. Whether satisfied or dissatisfied, the majority of Oakwood students want to strengthen their prayer life (79%), Bible study (78%), and making Godly choices (69%).
We applaud our University’s move towards focusing on Biblical foundations because such an approach will expose students in an intentional way to viewing the subjects we study and life in general from the perspective of the Bible. Additionally, the God first point of view will prepare students to critique other points of view that may appear in textbooks and other instructional media.
By: Mrs. Jhanel A. Tam-Chornes, BS and the LifeCore© Student Research Team