The Heart of Christian Higher Education

Heart of Christian Higher Education

I am often asked, what distinguishes education at a Christian university from education at secular schools? Certainly, our faculty must be Christians and we have a set of community standards that reflect our faith commitment; our students are required to take Bible courses and attend chapel. But is there really anything different about the education we provide? For example, do our business students learn different things from students at public institutions? I mean, it’s business, isn’t it?

Yes and no. Most of our disciplinary content would be clearly recognizable to students at secular institutions. However, we begin with different presuppositions. We answer three basic questions in a way that gives our students a different perspective and orientation.


What is true?

In a world that questions the notion of objective truth, we begin with the proposition that God’s Word is true (John 17:17). We understand that God made all things for His own glory; that He made humans in His image and gave us purpose; that God loves us, and sent Jesus to save us from our sin; and that He has made us His agents in the restoration of the world. In business, this means we teach from the perspective that economic exchange is a good thing—that God intended it as part of human development and stewardship of His creation; and that even as fallen creatures, our and others’ participation in the creation of wealth is a God-honoring endeavor.

What is valuable?

In a world that proclaims personal happiness as most important, we believe that God’s Kingdom has ultimate value (Matthew 6:19-33). We understand that Jesus is king; that ultimately He will return; and that until He does, His followers are to pursue human flourishing by inviting others into right relationship with God and engaging in work that makes human life better. In business, this means we teach that financial success is not our ultimate goal or identity, that right relationships are an important part of work, and that as we engage in economic activity, we are to develop and demonstrate concern for others’ temporal and eternal welfare.

What is ethical?

In a world that views ethics as situational or defined by consequences, we believe that ethics are defined by God’s Law, reflective of His character, and summarized in the command, “love your neighbor as yourself” (Galatians 5:14). We understand that we are to treat others with dignity and respect; we are to be hospitable—especially to those not like us; and we are to seek the good of others, even as we expect to make a profit. In business, this means we teach the delivery of goods and services that meet real needs, honestly produced and fairly priced; that to the best of our ability, our transactions are to be constructed to benefit all parties while stewarding creation.


These presuppositions are equally operative in the arts, the sciences, the humanities, and our other professional programs. In each, we provide our students with a strong foundation in the discipline. Our business students are taught supply and demand, how to understand financial statements, how to create marketing strategies, and how to lead teams. But we also expect them to understand that God has prepared them for a task, and that seeking Him, they will experience His blessing and be a blessing to others. This is the heart of Christian higher education; it starts from a different place and therefore, not surprisingly, results in a different direction and destination for those who pursue it.

The McLane College of Business provides high quality, innovative, and accessible business education with a distinctive commitment to business as calling, preparing graduates for purposeful service and leadership. Specializations provide students with in-depth knowledge in the areas of global business, entrepreneurship, and e-commerce. If you’d like more information, we invite you to visit our website.
Dr. Ken A. Smith

Dr. Ken A. Smith

I joined UMHB as Dean of the McLane College of Business in August, 2015, after eleven years as President of my alma mater, Geneva College, in Beaver Falls, PA.My Ph.D. in Business is from the University of Maryland at College Park.
Dr. Ken A. Smith

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Dr. Ken A. Smith

About Dr. Ken A. Smith

I joined UMHB as Dean of the McLane College of Business in August, 2015, after eleven years as President of my alma mater, Geneva College, in Beaver Falls, PA. My Ph.D. in Business is from the University of Maryland at College Park.