Crown College embarks on new Culture of Care initiative

Crown College embarks on new Culture of Care initiative

By John Brandon

What does it mean to really care for each other in a college setting?

For anyone who has attended a college, you know there is a remarkable serendipity that occurs. A professor praises you for a job well done. The faculty notices when you work extra hard on an assignment. You finally complete an internship that will launch you into the work world.

It’s similar to the description of the early church in Galatians 6:2: “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” When this happens, not only do the students sense God working in their lives, but the faculty and staff grow in their own faith.

This fall, Crown College will embark on a new initiative to cultivate these relationships and expand on the idea of “carrying each other’s burdens” in life. It’s meant to strengthen relationships that already exist, to foster new opportunities for serendipity, and to advance the cause of Christ.

Known as the Culture of C.A.R.E. (Challenge, Advise, Remediate, and Encourage), the new program will become part of the fabric of the college, introducing the basic concepts before the semester even starts and then launching throughout the school year.

“This initiative tries to capture the best practices in teaching and learning and apply it to Crown College,” says Dr. Scott Moats, the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost at Crown College. “The origination comes from a research project I did several years ago. I surveyed over 500 students asking them what was most important to their success at Crown. Overwhelmingly, they reported that they would thrive if they knew faculty and staff cared for them.”

In the survey, Dr. Moats discovered the one primary driver that contributes to student success — the main motivator — is the time they have with professors. This helps them “thrive” instead of just survive the college experience. It’s more important now than ever before.

“We found that 25% of thriving comes from the perception that faculty spend time with students,” says Dr. Moats. “Inside the classroom, students indicated that they wanted instructors to include diverse perspectives in class discussions or assignments. The students want to have a voice in their learning. Finally, students want their faculty to email, text, and Facebook them. If our faculty are willing to connect with students, it will go a long way in their learning.”

Dr. Moats noted how the C.A.R.E. program is not intended to “enable” students. For Challenge, Advise, Remediate, and Encourage to work, it has to move from what he calls a subconscious, well-known idea or concept into a known, conscious decision. It’s about cultivating what has already been established; it’s already a differentiator but needs to become even more defined.

Of course, how this plays out over the year will vary for every faculty/staff member and every student. It’s already in place, as students sometimes hunker down to finish homework in a professor’s office, asking questions as they go. Dr. Moats says there will be several events, still to be determined, throughout the year to explain how C.A.R.E. will roll out.

He says it will take time and effort, but it is worth making C.A.R.E. a primary focus.

“We believe this will take time to get a foothold in our culture,” he says. “Our whole institution is wired this way. We believe; however, we can make it better. With the changing needs in our society, we need to keep improving to stay ahead. If we become stagnant or complacent, we will fall behind. We believe that God has provided us a group of students to oversee.”