The Adventist Technical Institute: A Different, Yet Not So Different, Kind of Adventist Academy

A proposal to establish a grades 9-13 Adventist Technical Institute follows. But first, a justification and rationale.

Since its inception from long-ago Battle Creek days, the Adventist educational system has been motivated by a balanced, holistic educational philosophy. For growth in wholeness and balance in social maturity, males and females are educated, not in separate schools, but co-educationally, together, on the same campus and with the same curricular opportunities. For wholeness and balance in intellectual growth and maturity, the academic curricular experience is to be conjoined with experiences in practical curriculum. The theoretical and abstract balanced and harmonized with the pragmatic and concrete and vice versa. Idealism joined with real-world functional. Such a varied and trained education would produce balanced, healthy, and productive individual parishioners and a strong and versatile denominational membership enabling the church to more ably fulfill its mission.

Despite the efforts of courageous, dedicated, and risk-taking teachers, principals, and school boards, success in pursuit of this holistic goal has been intermittent, patchy, and discontinuous with some, but rarely complete, success. Especially has this irregular experience been the circumstance in regards to the implementation of Industrial Technology Education curriculums (Industrial Arts) — the most commonly recognized and utilized curricular pathway to the “practical” component of this holistic educational philosophy.

Today, with the exception of Loma Linda Academy’s TIE program1 and perhaps one or two other scattered technical programs with which this author may not be familiar, a very few Adventist schools are valiantly trying to offer perhaps an auto mechanics class, or other “shop type” class, in hopes of keeping this holistic education concept alive on their campus. This basic technical curriculum component of the “practical” part of the holistic educational experience has all but disappeared in Adventist academies, colleges, and universities, and the loss of these technical curriculums is often lamented by church members and educators in anecdotal conversations and discussions about problems in Adventist Education.

At one point in our educational history we rationalized that student employment at Campus Maintenance, the School Laundry, School Dairy, the Campus Store and Bakery, or a school furniture manufacturing plant, would meet these holistic philosophical objectives. These were worthy and sincere efforts considering the times and circumstances schools faced during those days but the reality is that the milking of cows alone does not train one in the essentials of agriculture nor does the mere baking of bread impart an understanding of a balanced and nutritional diet.

My own on-campus employment reflected this non-trained experience. During my two years of campus employment at two separate denominationally-related cabinet and wood furniture manufacturing plants, never once did I reference a technical plan required for the construction of the products I was making, let alone receive instruction in the reading of such plans. Nor was training and instruction provided in the standard and established industrial techniques of boring common holes or how to safely saw a board by hand or under power, etc. Neither was I educated in the various types of wood finishes (varnishes, lacquers, polyurethanes), their appropriate best usages, nor the various appropriate techniques for their proper application. Each of these bodies of understanding are recognized by wood products manufacturers as being the fundamental basics and essential knowledge and skills required in the manipulation of any wood-based materials into needed and useful manmade products. Although the student’s exposure to these campus industries’ employment opportunities may have instilled the ever mentioned and hoped for “development of a good work ethic,” rarely did the on-campus work experience provide formal instruction and practice in the art and science of the particular craft or industry involved.

There are a variety of complications that have made it difficult for these valiant educators to develop justifiable and continuous technology/technical curriculums at our schools. The most significant hurdle for these schools is a lack of a consistently sufficient number of technically prone students enrolled at their school for a school to justify the commitment of necessary material and personnel resources required to offer quality and sustainable technical programs. These technically oriented students do exist at these schools, just not in the quantities needed at their schools to justify the commitment of resources to offer the programs. “Should the school go to the expense to set up a program in mechanics this year,” a principal will ask, “if we are not sure we will have enough interested students to offer the program next year, or the next?”

Additionally, this family of technical curriculums is so vast and varied in scope and content that a typical Adventist academy cannot offer exposure and training in all of these separate fundamental technical curriculums. How can the average academy provide substantial curriculum for such a diverse field of study (construction, manufacturing, mechanics, horticulture, electronics, graphics, etc.) with many of these technologies requiring their own unique and very diverse body of knowledge and skills. And if a complete spectrum of technical curriculum cannot be offered, committed principals and school boards ask, “Which one curriculum shall we offer? If we can justify the investment in electronics curriculum this year, what about the nine students interested in construction, the ten in horticulture, the three in graphics and printing technology? Why are these other technically-inclined students left out because we could only afford to provide the one curriculum in electronics?”

The real problem we face then, is not that there are not enough students interested in strong technically-based curriculums. There are interested students. The 400 students that went through Loma Linda Academy’s TIE program proved that. Students interested in these technical educational experiences and technical career preparations exist — and they exist at all Adventist academies and colleges. There are just not enough of them, at their school, to warrant the dedication of appropriate educational resources to combine these technically-based programs with their strong academic curriculum. If these students, now spread thinly across the NAD educational landscape, could be given the opportunity to collect at one appropriate educational site, the assemblage of the necessary resources, both material and personnel, could be justified and, at long last, we could finally combine strong, predictably continuous technically-based curriculums with a strong academic program that these kids desire and Adventist teachers, principals, and school boards have struggled individually many years to provide.

And why an Academy? Why not wait until after high school? Skill, instinct, intimate familiarity with these technical crafts is as essential as is the skill, instincts, and intimate familiarity with the craft of violin playing. Much of the deeper understandings of my particular technical crafts, and which I was able to pass on to my students, began in “shop” classrooms as early as my 8th grade year. One does not wait until one is graduated from high school until one is exposed to the skills and art of his technical craft and expect to find complete fulfillment in the practice of his craft, any more than one should wait until the age of 18 years to be exposed to the violin and expect to find complete fulfillment in the skills and art of that craft.

Therefore, it would seem the solution is simple: establish at least one academy in North America where students, interested and committed to this kind of conjoined academic/technically-based education, can be permitted to gather themselves together in sufficient numbers to justify the commitment of appropriate resources and qualified teaching staff to participate in this valuable educational experience. These students exist now! But they are scattered. Let them come together so this unique holistic educational experience can be theirs. So that their God-given talents, technical instincts, and unique technical savvy can be trained and educated for the benefit of their families, community, and church.

To this end the following proposal is made:

Adventist Technology Institute Proposal

Whereas ~ Adventist students desiring in-depth curricular experiences in technology/technical-based curriculum exist in Adventist schools, but lack sufficient numbers at their schools to justify the commitment of appropriate educational resources at those schools,

Whereas ~ Experiences in technical curriculum are recognized as an excellent preparation for students pursuing a variety of professional careers including, but not limited to, Medicine, Law, Dentistry, Business, Architecture, Engineering, Education, Theology, etc.,

Whereas ~ Formal training in direct technology-based careers, such as electronics, manufacturing, construction, and others, enhance a graduate’s ability to command higher earnings, compete more successfully in a highly competitive workplace, and experience enriched potential for positions of leadership and management in those careers,

Whereas ~ Well-trained and talented graduates pursuing careers in specific technical arenas would possess greater opportunities for influence and witnessing within his/her local community, be enabled to provide greater financial contributions to their church, and, most importantly, because of that heightened economic income, enjoy their family’s more definitive and consistent participation in the denominational educational system,

It is therefore ~ Appropriate to propose the establishment of at least one technology/technical-based high school in the North American Division where interested students can gather from across North America to receive an enriched education in an integrated Academic/Technology curriculum.

Distinguishing Characteristics of an Adventist Technology Institute

MISSION

1. Utilizing a strong technical experience, the proposed Adventist Technology Institute will graduate students with potential for success and eminence in any career path of their choice, technologically-oriented or otherwise. Although collecting and offering to students from across North America a strong technological experience, the proposed institution is not a classic vocational school. Graduates from this school will employ a strong academic/technical education in preparation to pursue:

Typical Professional Careers:

Medicine, Dentistry, Law, Ministry, Business, Education, Church Missions, others.

Professional Technical Careers:

Architecture, Engineering, others.

Direct School-to-Work Careers:

Electronics, Construction, Graphics/Printing, Automotive/Aviation Mechanics, Commercial Art, Nursery, Landscape, others.

CURRICULUM

2. All students will participate in both a technology curriculum, listed below, as well as a college prep curriculum.

Electronics Technology

Horticultural Technology

Construction Technology

Graphics/Printing Technology

Manufacturing Technology

Transportation Technology

Design Technology

Materials Science Technology

3. First year students will sample several of the technology curriculums offered, selecting one curriculum at the end of the freshman year in which to concentrate for the remaining three years.

4. The academic and technology curriculums are “joined at the hip" for all students. All students participate in both the academic and the technology curriculums.

5. Students applying for admission will be tested for their potential for success at this school utilizing common career guidance evaluation instruments.

SCHOOL SIZE

6. Accepted freshmen will be placed evenly among the eight technologies, 20 students per technology, yielding a potential freshman class of 160 students. (8 technologies x 20 students = 160 freshmen students) (3.2 new freshmen per state each year)

7. The technology curriculum, as well as the academic curriculum, is successive and builds upon knowledge from previous years. Although new students could be accepted as late as the beginning of the sophomore year, because of the successive nature of the three year technology concentration no new students will enter the school after the beginning of the sophomore year.

8. Consequently a student attrition rate of 20% is predicted over the life of four years, yielding an estimated operating school enrollment of 512 students.

9. Although the school could be structured to operate with a smaller student body, a student body of five hundred is believed to provide greater opportunity for sound financial efficiency, depth of curricular instruction, enriched social experiences, and opportunity for greater extra-curricular offerings.

10. Recognizing that most local conference and unions cannot alone supply sufficient numbers of interested students and necessary resources for a school of this nature, this school is designed to serve students collected from a wide geographic area including at least half, if not all, of North America.

11. Graduating students would pursue further education in colleges and universities, seek direct employment within the work force, or elect to continue at the school for a fifth year and receive an associate’s degree. Conceivably, parts of the institute would be accredited as a college.

SCHOOL LOCATION

12. An appropriate campus site is considered critical to the success of the school. Locating at an existing educational site is considered preferable to establishing the school at a previously undeveloped site and an appropriate site should contain the features outlined below.

a. Sufficient campus spaciousness so as to eventually accommodate 450 to 550 students.

b. Reasonable proximity to high-tech industrial centers to provide:

i. ready access to required industrial materials for course work and lab materials

ii. quality field trip experiences

iii. networking with local industry for advisement and other assistance

c. Quasi agricultural center.

d. Suitable proximity to significant emergency medical services.

e. Reasonable and varied recreational opportunities.

f. Suitably located for the profitable establishment of major on-campus industries.

g. Sufficient acreage so as to accommodate certain technology and horticultural curriculums.

h. Sufficient access to appropriate sources of water, electricity, natural gas, and other essential operational resources.

i. Located within 45-60 minutes of easily-accessed air and other major transportation facilities.

j. Centrally-located to the primary constituency to which it serves.

FINANCIAL

13. Initial projections indicate an annual operating cost approximating $22,000 per student, if boarding.

Operating expenses could be funded from 1) tuition; 2) optional conference or union subsidy, 3) student employment and gifts. Capital expenses would be in addition to these resources.

14. The unique educational service this school offers to interested students indicates that technically-oriented Adventist parents, organizations, and businesses may identify with unique educational objectives of the school and be inspired to assist in capital and other fiscal efforts.

Academic Curriculum

Meets most all University of California entrance requirements.

9th Grade

Algebra I or Geometry or Algebra II

English

Physical Science

Religion

World History

P.E./Health

Technology Survey

10th Grade

Geometry or Algebra II or Pre-Calculus

English

Religion

Biology

Foreign Language

Fine Art

P.E.

Technology

11th Grade

Algebra II/ Trig or Pre-Calculus

English

Chemistry or Honors Chemistry

U.S. History

Foreign Language

Religion

Technology

12th Grade

English

Algebra II/Trig or Calculus or Pre-Calculus

Religion

Physics or Honors Physics

U.S. Government/Economics

Technology

Timeline

For an Experimental Trial Phase of the Tech Institute

1. Establish authorization from NAD Educators and leadership to initiate a trial of the proposed Tech Institute concept. If NAD education leadership believed it was reasonable and safe to embark upon the trial then the project would proceed.

2. Establish a website which could be easily referenced to answer questions (and stimulate curiosity and enthusiasm) about the Tech Institute concept and its experimental trial.

3. Establish an advisory board composed of Technology Educators and other essential and interested parties.

4. Formally contact local Union and Conference educators about the experimental trial project in hopes of finding one or more schools interested in adapting to the Tech Institute format.

5. Publish “One-Column-Inch” announcements placed in the eight NAD Union Conference monthly papers2 announcing the NAD Education approved Tech Institute Trial Experiment and directing interested readers to the more complete Tech Institute descriptive website. (About $2,000 total cost for three monthly issues postings.)

6. Locate a school interested in becoming the Tech Institute and willing to enter into the experimental trial phase.

7. Financial Guarantors: A search for financial guarantors is initiated. Financial guarantors will only provide funds to cover costs to the school if the project failed. Financial success for the experiment would be planned but should insufficient tuition and other income not be obtained to cover the costs of the experiment, that loss would be covered by the financial guarantors. The financial guarantors’ contributions would be proportionally required only should all, or a portion, of the experiment fail.

8. Initiate a search for a Technology Education teacher interested in teaching in the trial phase for Tech Institute experiment.

9. General announcement of the actual commencement of the Tech Institute Trial Experiment across the NAD for the primary purpose of recruiting 60 interested students. (20 students for each of the three initial survey technology curriculums to be offered.)

10. If sufficient students manifest interest in participating in the tech institute format the trial experiment would begin.

11. If 60 students enrolled, the trial would be considered a success and continuing development of the Tech Institute would begin posthaste.

Notes & References:

1. The Tie Program: Loma Linda Academy’s Educational Phenomenon; Spectrum website, August 11, 2018: https://spectrummagazine.org/article/2018/08/11/tie-program-loma-linda-academy%25E2%2580%2599s-educational-phenomenon

2. The Adventist Review has 30,000 subscribers. In most unions, every church member receives the union’s monthly paper enabling the likelihood of greatest denominational membership coverage regarding the Tech Institute project. (The Pacific Union Recorder has a circulation of 76,000 homes.)

Jay Linthicum taught Technology/Industrial Education in Adventist academies in Nebraska and California for 41 years. Newly retired, he has followed his granddaughters to a place of which he had not heard of previously — northern Idaho.

Image credit: SpectrumMagazine.org

We invite you to join our community through conversation by commenting below. We ask that you engage in courteous and respectful discourse. You can view our full commenting policy by clicking here.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/9815

Apparently in the proposal there is no thought given as to WHERE such
a program would be established – United States or other country.

1 Like

I nominate Gen State Academy here in Idaho. Boise is a half hour away with a booming IT/tech sector, commercial/residential construction industry, the two hospital systems are outdoing each other with growth, the Boise airport is reasonably well-served, and Pacific Press is nearby. The school still owns plenty of ag land for expansion around their campus on the hill and one dorm is empty. They are within two hours of alpine lakes or desert canyons for summer/winter recreational opportunities, and the Boise farm-to-table foodie scene is growing (not to mention the wine and craft beer industries - just thought I’d throw that in…).

2 Likes

Greetings Respondent Carolyn Wesner:

If so, perhaps you should forward this Spectrum link to the school and your educational leadership.

Jay Linthicum

Greetings plobdell3,

There is an “end option” at the Tech Institute for those not seeking to pursue a beyond high school four year college degree. Upon 12th grade graduation from the Tech Institute, because of the concentrated four year training in the student’s selected technology concentration, let’s say Electronics Technology, the student can elect to continue at the school for one additional year and receive an AA degree in that technology.

Normally an AA degree requires two years training beyond high school but because of the previous four year’s technical experience in the student’s selected technology curriculum, with only one year’s continuance in the program the student can receive an AA degree. In the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) accrediting association, even though the majority of the school experience is high school level, because of the one year option beyond high school, the school is accredited, at least in part, as a college and it is WASC’s policy to have a college level accrediting team visit and evaluate the school. With only one year beyond high school, if the student elected to stay and continue in his technology curriculum, the student would receive a two year AA college degree.

How to sell the Adventist educational experience vs. Community College. My first 10 years in school were in public school. There is a difference. If you have been in Adventist schools and not in public schools and do not believe there is a difference, there are subtle and pronounced advantages to a good Adventist educational experience. Having said that, I grow weary of the unkind and untrue things which are said about my teaching colleagues in the public school sector. I have had many public teachers who were caring, dedicated, and committed to the academic and moral education of the students in their charge. Many have been and inspiration to me as a teacher. There are advantages to both but there is a difference.

“ . . . because they can’t afford an Adventist Education.” Our early denominational forefathers/foremothers had dreams of an educational system and had no schools and not money for the schools if they had the schools. Somehow, from nothing but dreams and visions, they created, innovated, systems to overcome these obstacles. They produced the most expansive Christian educational system in the world. Loma Linda, for example, is the only medical school in the world with a pronounced Christian emphasis and non-Adventist apply because of it. My, and previous generations benefitted from these foreparents inventiveness. It is likely that new situations have rendered the old solutions irrelevant. It’s our turn now to solve these problems with new solutions. Instead of continuing “pacing the floor” over this issue, the situation needs to be faced, innovated, and solved by the current future forefathers/foremothers of the church. It will take boldness, risk taking, and leadership.

Jay Linthicum

This proposal was designed to meet present educational situations and needs within the North American Division. This format could be adapted for any suitable location within the SDA world field. With the current growing interest in attending NAD Adventist Academies by those beyond U. S. borders, it is likely this school would serve interested students not only collected from across the NAD, but beyond the NAD as well.

Jay Linthicum

Milo Adventist Academy in southern Oregon has already started several vocational certificate programs. Last year we had several graduates with certificates in Culinary, Agriculture, and Heavy Machinery Operation and Repair. This year we have expanded to include Construction.

2 Likes

Mr. Linthicum, I would LOVE any guidance you could give on how to get a 13th year as a AA degree accredited.

1 Like

Kathy – the ONLY WAY would HAVE to be some type of interaction with a
College OR University.
Otherwise the AA is just another piece of paper!
Same with “Certificates”. Unless they met some accrediting body’s program
of instruction and information.
Laurelbrook Academy in Dayton, TN has a 50-bed nursing home. The students
are taught Nursing Assistant skills. When they take the TN State Test and
pass, then they get their CNA certificates from the State of Tennessee. Then
they have to do what is necessary to keep their “licenses” current each year.

I taught Senior Health Class there for many years. In my class we spent several
weeks on General Psychology and Mental Health Issues. My long section on
body systems integrated Patho-physiology, Bio Chemistry with various illnesses.
Nutrition instruction.

2 Likes

That is the curriculum at Old EMC Academy. All except Trig. Wood shop, machine shop, typing.I skipped short hand. 1939-1943.

1 Like

Greetings Ms. Hernandez – To answer your question in part, and to use an example in the extreme to illustrate the concept of an AA degree being awarded with only one year’s experience beyond high school, there are programs by which students can receive and AA degree upon graduation! from high school. They are in concert with a cooperating college program. They are rare and are rarely taken advantage of, and likely don’t fit the curriculum of technical studies proposed for this tech school, but these do programs exist. The impetus for the proposed one year beyond high school AA degree is based upon acquaintance with a similar technical program and in consultation with a WASC accrediting agency official. However, what one accrediting agency will approve in California may not be acceptable by another accrediting agency, perhaps such as your location. You would have to determine what is permissible and workable by your accrediting agency and, likely, the same might have to be done wherever the tech school would be located.

I am also happy to hear of your successful technical programs at Milo.

Jay Linthicum

1 Like

Mr. Jay TEK –
Are YOU saying that YOUR High School program in the Technical Studies
would be following the Curriculum of Your Local Technical or College
program in Your area? So easy to Transfer for an Assoc. Arts Degree in
one more year?
Would Your Teaching Staff in these Technical Arts be Approved [not on the
payroll] by the Local Technical or College program in Your area?

I really like this proposal. Especially

Financial guarantors will only provide funds to cover costs to the school if the project failed.

This I believe, will engage a group of well funded individuals who will have a vested interest in the success of the institution. If these people were recruited from the industries that would be served by the school that would be even better as they could provide a path to employment. I would go even further and suggest that the board should have a significant representation from the industries involved.

With respect to the associate degree or industry recognized certificate, there are public high schools in Texas that provide similar opportunities. I think this has the opportunity to add intrinsic value to the program as the student will know that they can actually do something with their education.

It would be nice to encourage business to partner with the school and provide part time and summer employment for the students.

1 Like

Greetings niteguy2

Thanks you for your interest, questions, and recommendations. Operating technicalities of the AA degree, like many technicalities in the operation of any school, are particular to the environment in which they exist. Any proposal requires the application of realtime specifics, local and distant, for that proposal to become a reality.

There are probably many occurances that could jump start this project. I suspect the emergence of an appropriate and willing location would cause the attention of a lot of favorable, but now hesitant, educators and observing supporters to take a second and more serious look at the project. This school, as proposed, does not fit within the standard system of SDA education. Nearly all schools have a local conference or union whose students the school is designed to serve. Their schools are directly affiliated with the conference or union. This proposal serves students not collected from a local conference or union, but from all across the NAD . . . students from all conferences and unions. This is an odd bird and most educators (I am assuming) are not quite sure how to relate to it. If they embraced it in their conference or union, what would be their responsibility? Also, most schools do not recruit (at least blatantly) beyond their local conference and union boundaries. Such would this school do. I was told by a union educational superintendent some time ago that he did not think that would be such an obstacle today. Never-the-less, this proposal, educational system wise, is certainly irregular in regards to “fitting in”, likely puzzling to some educators unless they are truly adventuresome, skilled at risk taking, and possess other strong spiritual attributes.

Thanks again,

Jay Linthicum

Have you ever thought of running the idea of your program to
The Layman Foundation, Collegedale, TN?
Was begun at Madison College by Mrs. Funk around 1925.
Perhaps they would be interested in proposing it to their associated
Self-Supporting Schools.
Just a suggestion.
Send a copy to Robert Zollinger, Laurelbrook Academy, 111 Laurelbrook Drive,
Dayton, TN 37321.
Bob is a past president of the organization.

ERROR IN THE TEXT

There is an error in the text of the Distinguishing Characteristics section of this document. The error is in regards to on-campus industries and student labor. The Spectrum website editor is not responsible for the error.

When sent from the author’s computer by internet to the Spectrum editor, this textual material pertaining to on-campus industries and student labor was “lined out” (had a line drawn through it) but during transmission to Spectrum the internet did not properly interpret this textual highlight and left the text appearing as normal text. I noticed the error but did not notify the Spectrum editor and why did I include the lined out text when I could have just deleted it and not included it in the first place?

I wanted to catch the reader’s attention to the issue of academy students no longer being able to work sufficiently to significantly defray the costs of their education. This was possible when I was in academy and many principals worked valiantly with expansive efforts in addition to there regular school administrative responsibilities to provide these on campus industries for this purpose. In some situations this on-campus work system was so successful that at graduation the principal handed the graduate his/her diploma in one hand and a check for the overage the student had earned toward his/her tuition costs in the other. This is nearly impossible today largely due to the colleges and universities.

In the last twenty years or so, colleges and universities have increased their entrance requirements so much so that there is no time left in a teenagers daily schedule to work part time. UCLA was the first to make these admittance requirements changes and most other colleges and universities, even Adventist, not wanting to be considered to have low academic standards, followed suit. In essence, five or more courses (an additional class each high school year) were added to the student’s four year high school academic load. One more Math, Science, English, Social Studies, Foreign Language (Stanford University requires 3 years) were required to meet these institution’s admittance requirements. In some cases Adventist Unions added an additional PE class fearing lack of proper teenage exercise. From 1990-1994, my son’s first class of the day began at 6:50 am and his last class ended at 2:20 pm two days of the week, 3:15 pm two days, and 1:20 pm on Fridays. This leaves no time in a teenagers schedule to work enough to even come close to paying off a school bill.

In essence, this affected the pocketbooks of Adventist parents in two ways. To offer these classes the school had to hire an additional teacher thus adding an additional expense to the annual school budget of $60,000±. An unanticipated and overlooked consequence was that the student no longer had time to work which reduced family income. Not only the costs of the academy tuition went up, but the family income sources went down. Increased cost – reduced income. With this system, students can no longer work part time sufficiently to help with tuition. The half day work/half day school system kept Adventist education alive for over 100 years. With its demise we will have to create another system . . . we need to hop to it.

Because of the superior training provided by this proposed tech school, those graduates choosing to pursue careers in the classic trades would have an education sufficient to provide a leg up in their competitive market place, enabling them to increase family income levels, and thereby, enabling them to keep their kids in Adventist schools. Actually, indirectly, the same would be true of those pursuing higher education degrees.

Jay Linthicum

1 Like