Article by Debbie Eddy. Media by Charley Phillips.
President Filby gave his homecoming address to Greenville college alumni, current students, the public, and faculty on October 24. 2014. In his address, President Filby talked about Greenville College’s potential name change. He introduced the idea by talking about extending our heritage and focusing on the future. President Filby says that, “In Greenville College we fling wide the door of grace. But where do we want to go.” He talks about how he is going to submit a strategic plan for the board’s consideration. In part of the plan he talks about strategic priorities, extending our heritage, and expanding our reach.</b
President Filby also collected a survey from the Greenville College students asking “why university?” and presented it to the board. In his PowerPoint he discussed that 60% of our students believe the university name will help them gain admission to a graduate school and 64% think studying at a university will help them get their first job. This PowerPoint also highlights that our understanding of college is not understood internationally. President Filby talked about linguistic differences between countries in the world when it came to the concept of the word college. For example, President Filby talked with a Latino student who felt the name change would be a great idea because college in Spanish means high school. Furthermore, Asian students expressed that they did not want to come to Greenville College because it is called a college. In the PowerPoint, President Filby talks about how quite a number of Chinese students enroll and then transfer after their second year because it is called a college. The Chinese students talk about how in Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong, and other cities, it would be difficult to explain to the people that college is the equivalence of a university. Therefore, it would be difficult to use the Greenville College degree to gain a job in the workforce for which they obtained their degree.
Not only has Greenville College reached out to international students, they also have professors that come from countries such as Kiribati, Korea, England, Ukraine, Ireland, the Dominican Republic, Canada, and Paraguay. President Filby states that “we are becoming increasingly internationalized. We send students out on mission trips.” Some of the trips that have been listed as missionary stops include: Guatemala, Bolivia, Thailand, Uganda, Niagara, Fiji, Ireland (Choir), etc. President Filby gives the reasons for the Greenville College name change because of the international change and outreach. He also shows in the PowerPoint “What happens to a Greenville College?”. In this PowerPoint, President Filby talks about how the Greenville College name is retained for the Greenville College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the School of Education, and the School of Professional Studies.
President Filby also talks about “cultivating innovation and agility”. Filby states that we already have programs that bring light, rather than darkness, with our video gamers. He also states that we have new online services with criminal justice and business. In the end, President Filby explains “we are in a constantly changing world. That is what makes education fun.”
As a recent alumna, I think that the change would be beneficial for both current and future students. The job climate is immensely competitive, and perception about education could, and did, make all the difference for me and for you. I think for those of you concerned about the loss of community that may seem to come with making GC “bigger,” I assure you, the community comes from the people you surround yourself with. I also believe it to be incredibly wise to compete internationally and be the salt and light. I trust in Dr. and Mrs. Filby’s vision and commitment to Christ and Greenville College.
I completely understand the benefits of making Greenville College a University but there are many issues with completely changing the name to something like “Bible Gate,” “”Gateway University,” or “International Wesleyan University.” I would like to see GC maintain its history and take a step forward, not jeapordize my future career by completely changing it’s name. This is much more than a Christian College/University but it’s still a big, open world out there. One of my main worries is that no one will be able to recognize the school on my resume or that the new name will seemingly belittle my education to professional schools, where I and other GC students like myself will be applying to. I feel that making a drastic name change such as those I gave examples of seems like the school will be moving away from its diversity of education in the sciences, humaities, etc and only towards directly Christian-related topics like Philosophy and I think that could hinder how grad schools and future employers see the quality of my education.
Well, Michelle, you’re in luck! The name is changing to Greenville University!
I do not believe that one of the core values of GC, diversity in education, will suffer with the name change. I think too, that it will show active, forward, and competitive thinking. The mission of GC is to develop and send students out, and it would be foolish to offer only degrees in religion and the like if the goal is to be salt and light all over the world, in whatever capacity the Lord calls us.
I’m in the process of applying for a university position in Australia. It is confusing to write about my university experience and then reference a college. It is a linguistic shift that helps alumni overseas as well as the recruitment of international students.
As an alumni of GC one of my biggest pet peeves is when I tell people where I graduated from and they think I’m referring to a community college.
A name change is a no brainer. University is instantly identifiable with a 4 year institution and gains more respect than ‘college’ which refers to either a high school or a 2 year community college.
i would love to see my ol’ school change its name and how it presents itself to the world to Greenville Christian University or GCU. This identifies with the past and holds true to its most important difference in this world “CHRISTIAN.” If we were to just name it Greenville University we would be leaving our the most important thing that makes a difference about our school.
Also, we should want to Grow in size and stature. A GCU should strive to stand out, make a difference and attract many. It seems we are all too comfortable being small.
Go for the GCU and go soon!
I also like GCU or Greenville Christian University. I would be sad to see the Christian left out of it. Some will say that many prospective students would not consider Greenville if it had “Christian” in the name, but I think that we have to consider the heritage we came from as well as the heritage we want to leave.