Answers to Questions about the Proposed Adventist University System of North America

As of right now, the measuring of educational outcomes is subjective both by the institution and the accreditation team. The standards which are drawn up by the thinkers have application issues. For example, how does one measure spiritual growth? What measuring device can predict or even assess spiritual growth. Institutions with that as part of their curriculum in general education are just guessing.

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As. A member of the site visit team to the Sony unit in Buffalo New York, The team met with the President as the final interview…He inivited us into his office and said “I will tell you every thing about this university except What our budget is, how many faculty we have, how many students we have, and what we teach. All these thing change daily. we all had a good laugh.They were accredited.

Opinions and experiences vary. But I insist that if the virtues are not taught and practiced in the home, schooling will have little impact. How I treated my mother and my siblings were the foundation of my life style. Jack a year older and I would playfully wrestle. I let him always win. but one day our cousins came to visit… Just before they left Jack said, Tom let’s us wrestle. I said, O.K. Now there was viewers. so I pick up Jack. Sat him down on the grass and sat on him. I never saw eyes so wide open.

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Interesting subject.


These decisions will only be made when the financial situation makes the decision for them.


If anyone can pull this off, it’s Gordon Bietz and Vinita Sauder. Add in the consultants, Richard Osborn, and others who are seasoned Adventist pros in higher education and the case will be made strongly. Drs. Bietz and Sauder are diplomatic, wordsmiths, and completely prepared professionals who have been working strategically to strengthen Adventist higher education for years. Dr. Luxton, also, is in this category.

It’s a tough balance to have a loose consortium that’s empowered to make strong decisions about the future of a university which has its own governing board. Also, some accrediting associations are stricter than others. La Sierra ran into this several years ago. Accreditation is important to maintain for all Adventist universities.


You’ve shared student body size for some SDA universities. I’d be curious to know the size of competing private universities in a market or two. And if size is a big advantage for lowering tuition costs, I’d like to know what tuition costs at BYU.

I can tell you in southern California there is no shortage of private colleges competing with LSU, and some charge much higher tuition. Parents continue to send their children to these institutions.

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While it is true that BYU in Provo, Utah is large, it is not based on a one campus system. For example, BYU Idaho and BYU Hawaii.

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Jeffrey Kent,

You ask:

Tuition costs at BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY IN Academic year 2017—2018. (Curent year )

TUITION $5,460
Room and board. $7,530

It is nationally ranked # 11 as a BEST VALUE UNIVERSITY

QUESTION : How many SDA colleges are ranked “best value “ ??


You rightly point out that the MORMON CHURCH runs three college campuses, all called BYU…

BYU PROVO UTAH. 34,000. Students on a 557 acre campus

BYU IDAHO 19,399 Students

BYU HAWAII 3,143 Students

Our Andrews University enrollment 3,366
Our Southern Adventist. enrollment. 3,000

I point is made—our very largest schools are the same size as the Mormon’s smallest college on a tiny Hawaiian Island !

Their largest campuses are enormous in enrollment and can offer a better education for less tuition based on an economy of scale !

I doubt that the TOTAL enrollment at all THIRTEEN US ADVENTIST COLLEGES matches the enrollment at the single BYU PROVO UTAH campus.

Anyone have figures on total,enrollment of SDA students in SDA COLELGES in NAD. .??


There are dozens of reasons why this proposal will fail. Higher education thrives on autonomy, not control. It’s in the DNA of institutions. Higher education is market driven. Students decide the future of institutions. Coordinate all you want, but it is impossible to get students pursuing a particular discipline to go across the country because their choice of major is “good, better, best” somewhere else. It’s been shown that only about 5 percent of students travel more than 500 miles from home to attend college.

The idea has “kinda” been tried before. In the previous century a board of higher education tried to “coordinate” and at times “dictate” which institutions could do what and where. It was largely ignored. Similarly, Loma Linda University, under Lyn Behrens, tried to initiate rival a pre-professional program beginning in the freshman year. It was properly perceived as a threat to several colleges/universities.

Speaking of Loma Linda University. It was once a two campus institution (Loma Linda and Riverside). An attempt was made to “consolidate” as an institution in a single location for purposes of economy. That original relationship was created (some would say forced) by Neil Wilson and existed for 23 years. It failed because of handiwork of the same individual in acrimonious fashion.

Campuses have cultures which emerge from their alumni constituencies, their faculty composition and the parental preferences of the students who enroll. These are seldom compatible. There are a few examples of institutions sharing resources (Concordia colleges for one). But, each has it’s own culture, despite a common church affiliation (that is probably looser than SDA hierarchy is likely to embrace).

Don’t think of this proposal as one intended to save SDA higher education or bring economy of scale. Think of it as an attempt to control errant thinking and actions on various campuses from the top. This is clerical thinking, idol hands that have little meaningful to do. It is not academic thinking that is driving the discussion. It is a solution in pursuit of someone else’s problem. Some one once said that the role of a dean is to see that the President doesn’t think for the university, and that the faculty don’t speak for the university. This “thinking” didn’t originate inside any of the higher education institutions that we know.

One final point. This is a proposal with international implications (Burman University is included), There is nothing contained in this idea that will survive or succeed in a cross-border context. It took nearly 50 years for Burman University to get the approval of a provincial government to be what it is today. Maybe that’s a good timeline for this proposal as well–if it survives at all.


If “higher eduction thrives on autonomy” why are you overlooking the UC system, Cal State system, California Community College system, etc.? Each has its own chancellor and/or president. Each has its own board. But they collaborate with relative success, and have been doing so for some time.

Your comment seems to me to be judgmental and harsh - and too strong in its generalization.

It is nearly a certainty that the combined enrollment of the 13 SDA institutions is less than the number of SDA, or so-inclined, enrolled at public and other private institutions. BYU has a particular purpose besides education. It’s where the saints find their mates and is a bargain, financially, to boot.

And this isn’t true for Adventists as well?

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When I woke up this morning and saw this article I was thrilled! I go to Walla Walla University and wrote an article for our newspaper on this very subject. I encourage you all to read it:

One question that am interested in hearing an answer from Pastor Beitz is whether or not scholarships would carry over from one SDA University to another. Currently, if I am enrolled at Walla Walla U and would like to transfer to Southern, I would lose all my scholarships that were granted to me as a freshman at WWU and would only earn “non-freshman” scholarships from Southern. “Non-freshman” scholarships are historically not as large and would therefore increase the cost of tuition if I were to transfer.

Perhaps you ought to stay at WWU. I did read your referenced piece. I’d like to be kind about your naivete. Higher education and the forces that regulated it are much too complex for such a simple “solution.” If you are concerned about diversity, perhaps you should enroll at La Sierra University. If you are concerned about quality, I see no problem with where you now are. "Competitive recruiting is only a problem if you feel personal autonomy and choice are problematic.

Institutions of higher education are by definition, complex organizations–pursuing multiple and sometimes apparently conflicting objectives. Bigger is not necessarily better–ask those at Pomona College, Oberlin, or Whitman. A single SDA higher education institution (or three branches) isn’t the answer to the PTS (problem to solve).

You assume I did. Each of the three levels has a very well defined roll–trying to contain those rolls is matter that often transfers upward at far as the legislature in Sacramento.

Anyone remember “Old SMC” – now Southern.
Southern Marrying College?
I am probably dating myself.

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I wasn’t raised SDA, but I did hear others joking about the SMC initials. I’m old too! :grinning: There aren’t very many places to find an SDA spouse, other than college, church or other church related activities.