When asked to pinpoint the greatest commandment, Jesus’ answer was summative and yet multifaceted: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30). In one statement, Jesus encompassed the engagement of a whole person in living obediently to God. Similarly, an effective education does more than impart knowledge and prepare a person for a vocation. Houston Baptist University seeks to help students grow holistically, and with their participation, make graduates fit for a career and for the many aspects of their future.
Dr. Robert Sloan, HBU president, said HBU’s Christian principles are foundational in shaping young men and women. “We are all made by God and distinctively gifted for His purposes,” he said. “The Christian mission of HBU facilitates God’s work in the lives of our students by pointing them to faith and trust in the living God. Preparing for the future begins with submission to Him.”
HBU addresses students’ spiritual needs through Christian teaching, one-on-one and small group discipleship, worship, spiritual formation opportunities, missions and service. Colette Cross, HBU director of Discipleship, said, “Our hope and belief is that students will look back at their HBU experience, inside and outside the classroom, and see intentional growth in their cognitive, social and spiritual development, which will allow them to be people who know Christ and make Him known.”
In establishing and growing their foundation of faith, students are prepared for a life and career in which moral underpinnings and integrity will be called upon. A Christian education is truly a complete education.
The University continues to be known for challenging students academically, preparing them for career roles and graduate school. Coursework is rigorous, and an HBU education carries value for years to come.
“The curriculum of HBU is both varied and foundational,” Sloan said. “The central, core elements are those basic disciplines needed by everyone to be a productive citizen who works faithfully with and for others – with knowledge, discipline, intelligence and moral integrity. The variety in our curriculum reflects the many opportunities available in the workplace, and thereby prepares students not only to learn the content of disciplines, but also to be creative, entrepreneurial and adaptive, ready to meet the rapid changes in our world.”
Dr. Michael Rosato, HBU provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, emphasized the HBU faculty’s role in providing the highest-quality educational programs that incorporate faith with scholarship. “Our academic programs are strong,” he said. “We continue to support our excellent faculty members and to attract outstanding faculty. The people make the difference. The education students receive here is a qualitative, value-added experience that’s centered on Christ. That shows up very clearly in the standard of our programs we offer and in the love of Jesus that we share. We really care about students.”
Outside of the classroom, college is a time in which students develop into more of who they are. Student life involvement helps them grow in their confidence and leadership abilities, and expands their interests. HBU has more than 50 student clubs and organizations, and the opportunity for students to form new groups.
“Student Life is an integral part of higher education development, and specifically, HBU success. As we (Student Life staff) continue to integrate faith with learning in all aspects of what we do, we are amazed at how our students rise up and lead through participation in all the many things we implement to help them persist, succeed and love their school,” said Mon’Sher Spencer, HBU director of Student Involvement and Student Leadership Programs. “From the events we plan to the student organizations we help develop, to the spiritual opportunities we provide, to the physical and mental health opportunities, to the living and community spaces, to the general support our initiatives bring to the learning experience; Student Life rounds the ends – so to speak – of the great wisdom our students are encountering within the classroom.”
Students have the chance at HBU to become stronger physically, as well. Campus Recreation serves students by providing access to an 80,000-square-foot gym, the Bradshaw Fitness Center. They can participate in Intramural Sports, Club Sports, and in Epic Adventures.
“In terms of physical wellness, the students have a plethora of options that range from IMS Flag Football to Dragon Boat. Also, they have access to the Bradshaw Fitness Center seven days per week,” said Joshua Dunn, HBU director of Campus Recreation. “In addition to the physical benefits offered by sports and exercise, the students nurture their social well-being. We encourage them to optimize their time and invest in experiences and friendships because it will yield a lifelong return on investment. They forge friendships and memories that will last for the remainder of their lives. And, this opportunity presents itself even before their first day of college with our four-day outdoor adventure camp, The Odyssey, hosted by Camp Eagle in Rocksprings, Texas. Whether it’s the gymnasium court, the field, or on a three-hour trail, they all learn how to work together as a team for the purpose of reaching a common goal. Consequently, this includes how to resolve conflicts in a productive, efficient manner among a diverse group of peers. All of these opportunities are readily available to any student who chooses to invest in their present and future health.”
Providing help to make important transitions, the HBU Office of Career & Calling readies students for the next phase of life. The office delivers career counseling, resume help, mock interview sessions, career connections, help with attire, job fairs and more. Students at any stage, as well as alumni, may seek assistance at any time.
“We engage students and help them find God’s calling for them,” Aaron Swarts, HBU assistant director of Career & Calling, said.
HBU graduates are fit for what lies ahead. “We prepare our students to be impactful in their future through encouraging community focus, critical thinking, leadership growth, discipleship necessity, physical and mental well-being, and empowerment over entitlement – all through the lens of a Gospel-centric/Jesus-focused love that we impart to students,” Spencer said. “There is not a day that goes by that I am not encouraged and hopeful for the future of our HBU students.”
Growing in Responsibility
“Learning how to be responsible and taking care of business has been a big part of my HBU experience. It’s allowed me to mature.”
Addison Jacobs, Biology major and Spanish minor
Learning how to Follow God Individually
“HBU was my first choice mainly because of the spiritual aspect of the school. I’ve built a strong foundation in my faith and learned here how to have alone time with God and to do devotionals.”
Lesly Sandoval, Medical Humanities major and Psychology minor
Discovering One’s Calling
“HBU is where I truly discovered my calling for counseling. It’s preparing me.”
Ja’Lynn Manson, Psychology and Christianity major
Developing Job Skills
“At HBU, everybody is dedicated to preparing you to get a job in whatever you’re passionate about.”
Joshua Brown, Cinematic arts major
Being a Leader
“I’ve been able to be in positions where I’m leading people. I’ve grown especially in leadership.”
Alex Elizondo, Christianity major and Spanish, Psychology and Cinematic Arts minor
Growing in Resolve
“HBU is helping me build my faith so that when I’m in a teaching environment, I can have internal strength.”
Jesse Wright, Elementary Education major