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Student Handbook

The SAU Student Handbook is a central resource for students enrolled at Spring Arbor University. This section contains the current official edition of the student handbook. Navigation for this online version of the Handbook is located in the column on the right.

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The Spring Arbor University Concept

Spring Arbor University is a community of learners distinguished by our lifelong involvement in the study and application of the liberal arts, total commitment to Jesus Christ as the perspective for learning, and critical participation in the contemporary world.

Statement of Faith

We believe in one God, the Holy Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, as revealed in the Christian scriptures known as the Holy Bible.

We believe that Jesus Christ is God’s incarnate Son who lived a perfect life on earth, proclaiming God’s reign and establishing a community of disciples; who sacrificially died on the cross for the sins of all people; who rose in triumph from death, accomplishing salvation for all who truly believe in him; who is now at the Father’s right hand interceding for us; and who will return to earth in victory, judging all people and establishing his everlasting Kingdom.

We believe in the Holy Scriptures as the inspired and authoritative Word of God. It bears unerring witness to Jesus Christ, the living Word. It is the trustworthy record of God’s revelation, completely, truthful in all it affirms, attested by the early church and subsequent councils, faithfully preserved and true in human experience.

We believe that human beings, men and women equally, are created in the image of God and are called to be his faithful stewards on earth. Although all people have become alienated from God and affected in every part because of sin, by God’s grace all who truly repent of their sin and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ are justified by faith and adopted into the church, the people of God.   

We believe that repentance and belief in Christ are evidenced by a commitment to a life of obedience to the authority and commandments of the Bible.

We believe that the value of human beings does not depend on their marital status, but that human families were established by God to perpetuate humankind and to provide a stable community for nurturing children in faith and righteous living. Marriage between one man and one woman is the instruction of the Bible for establishing families, and physical sexual expression is to be confined to the marriage relationship.

We believe that God not only counts believers as righteous, but that he makes them righteous; freeing them of sin’s dominion at conversion, purifying their hearts by faith and perfecting them in love by his Spirit, and providing for their growth in grace through God’s participation at every stage of their spiritual life, enabling them through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit to live a victorious life of righteousness, justice and practical usefulness.

We believe God’s Kingdom promises to establish “a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 3:13, NIV) and where resurrected believers will participate in God’s everlasting Kingdom.

The Spring Arbor Graduate

The faculty has defined the ideal Spring Arbor University graduate as one who embodies the Spring Arbor University Concept. Thus, the goal of the Spring Arbor experience is the development of a person who:

  • Is prepared to be a continuing student, capable of self-education. In a world of exponentially expanding knowledge, the student must be able to sort out relevant knowledge, make wise judgments, and think divergently, critically and productively.
  • Has adequately prepared in one or more disciplines to undertake further graduate training, or to fill another productive and rewarding role in our contemporary world.
  • Has developed an understanding of heritage, discovered the crux of contemporary social and moral issues, acquired tools of researching, and improved skills of communication.
  • Has gone through the process of self-confrontation. As a result of this confrontation, the graduate will understand more fully personal motivations, aspirations, capabilities, and goals in life.
  • Has learned the value of physical fitness as a part of total fitness and accepts personal responsibility for developing and maintaining optimal health and wellness.
  • Has encountered the Christian faith, grasped a portion of its demands for our day, and discovered the perspective that life in Christ can give to all learning, vocation and life itself. In this encounter, the graduate will have formed a meaningful relationship with Jesus Christ and fellow human beings.
  • Is a person of compassion who cherishes community among all people and expresses compassion by critically participating in the world. The student is sensitive to need, responsive to opportunity, and wise in participation.
  • Is a well-integrated person who is prepared to live a life pleasing to the Creator, enriching to others and self-rewarding.

Student Development and Success (SDS)

Supported by research on higher education, SAU believes that college student growth and development occurs both inside and outside the classroom. SAU’s department of Student Development and Success works to facilitate the holistic development of students with the understanding that personal growth is largely the responsibility of students. SDS’s intent is to create a living and learning environment that nurtures individual and corporate academic, spiritual, personal and physical flourishing. SDS seeks to provide engaging programming, appropriate levels of challenge and support, and student-centered service in order for students to thrive in the vibrant Spring Arbor University community.

SDS Mission Statement

Student Development and Success (SDS) fosters a community of Christ-centered living and learning that engages and empowers all students to thrive at SAU and beyond.

Motto: Love enough to challenge. Care enough to Support.

SDS Vision

Partnering with faculty, staff, students and friends of Spring Arbor University, SDS is committed to developing authentic relationships, providing dynamic programs, and creating community-building experiences that:

  • Foster growth by nurturing mind, body, and soul;
  • Support classroom instruction and inspire lifelong learning;
  • Value the breadth of God’s creation and prepare students to competently engage our diverse world;
  • Strengthen resiliency skills for managing life changes and transitions;
  • Explore vocation and equip for critical participation in the contemporary world;
  • Cultivate wisdom, character, and responsibility; and
  • Inspire Christian faith development among our diverse student body.

In order to accomplish our mission and objectives, SDS is comprised of several different offices, services and programs designed to:

  • Provide support systems to aid in developmental progress.
  • Promote intercultural awareness, sensitivity and appreciation.
  • Create and encourage participation in effective out-of-class opportunities.
  • Increase understanding of Christian perspectives and how to apply them in all aspects of life.
  • Continue to improve the quality of campus life and sense of community.
  • Enhance and further the academic mission of the institution.
  • Model commitment to Jesus Christ and his Lordship.

Spring Arbor University Community Distinctive

The Spring Arbor University Concept offers this community a map for day-to-day living. The following are specific resources utilized by the University:

The Bible, thoughtfully and prayerfully interpreted, is the community’s final standard and model for personal and interpersonal conduct. Love, justice, mercy, compassion, purity, obedience, respect, self-control, and wisdom are primary scriptural principles embraced by Spring Arbor University. Each member of the community is challenged to be committed to living a Christ-like life.

The Free Methodist Book of Discipline is endorsed by Spring Arbor University. As a Christian institution, founded in the Free Methodist tradition, Spring Arbor University strives to maintain standards and values that are evident within evangelical Christian faiths.

In an effort to cultivate a Christian community, the accountability process is designed to guide students towards personal responsibility, maturation, and consistency in respecting the SAU community standards in which they commit to abide. Conduct contrary to stated standards, values and expectations is subject to institutional confrontation and accountability, which depending on the seriousness of the behavior, may result in separation from the SAU community. Recognizing we are all in different phases of personal and faith development, SDS members seek to journey with students through the accountability process and offer appropriate individual support and a variety of resources. Students are encouraged to share with trusted SDS staff member issues of personal struggle or questions regardless of the nature of the challenge. SDS will compassionately and confidentially support students as they work towards wholeness, redemption and reconciliation.

A person is of profound worth. Individual dignity is damaged by prejudice, racial or ethnic slurs, gossip, unsubstantiated statements, the willful misrepresentation of the truth, and the use of intimidation or physical force. Indignities against the human spirit will not be tolerated in our campus community.

All human life must be respected and protected from conception to completion. Healthy and balanced behavior within the Spring Arbor University community is the goal.

We view all forms of sexual intimacy that occur outside of the covenant of heterosexual marriage, even when consensual, as distortions of the holiness and beauty God intended for it. In addition, use and/or possession of pornography in any medium is unacceptable because it exploits the sanctity of the human body, and distorts God’s created purpose for sexuality.

To ensure the environment will be conducive to individual and community flourishing, community members are asked to embody the admonition in Luke 6:31, “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Consider how ones individual actions may impact others. As an example, community members are encouraged to avoid excessive noise and to respect the personal study and healthy living needs of fellow students.

Academic integrity is vital. Dishonesty, plagiarism, intentional acts of fraud, and any other action that lacks academic integrity will not be tolerated. Accountability action will be taken in such situations. Please see the Spring Arbor University catalog for further details.

Students are expected to conduct themselves in an appropriate manner in the classroom. Faculty members and fellow students have the right to expect students to behave in ways that do not interfere with the learning process. Behavior that is disruptive in the classroom is disrespectful and can affect the offending student’s status and grade in a course.

We want to help students grow and mature to be competent professionals. We encourage students to behave in ways that are consistent with this goal. This includes being attentive in class and fully engaged in class activities without distracting the faculty member and other students. Faculty members have the right to address disruptive students in several ways. One way involves asking disruptive students to leave the class and not return until they have signed a statement of conduct. Persistence in behaving disruptively can affect a student’s course grade and opportunities, both inside and outside the University, that rely upon a faculty member’s recommendation.

SAU Community Care Covenant

As Jesus calls us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves (Matthew 22:37-39), and Paul reminds us to look to the interests of others above our own (Philippians 2:3-4), the faculty, staff, and students of Spring Arbor University commit to practices protecting our personal health as a means of loving others well and caring for our community. We will evaluate our personal actions in light of their impact on others and sacrifice individual preferences and personal freedoms to act in the best interest of the community.

The following is a list of practices that will guide our actions in these areas:

Protecting Myself

  • Complete the daily health screening before leaving our homes or rooms for activities on campus.
  • Wash and/or sanitize our hands regularly throughout the day.
  • Greet one another with social distancing in mind, avoiding hugs and handshakes.

Loving Others

  • Wear an appropriate face mask (covering nose and mouth) as directed by the University.
  • Maintain appropriate social distancing at all times.
  • Sneeze or cough into our elbows and away from others.
  • Stay home if we feel ill or after exposure to someone who is ill or has tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Be positive, attentive, and helpful to anyone around who may be in need of support.
  • Extend grace, kindness, and patient encouragement to those who may have differing opinions or who inadvertently overlook these commitments.

Caring for My Community

  • Keep our clothing, belongings, personal spaces, and shared common spaces clean and sanitized.
  • Participate in attendance-taking efforts via the SAU mobile app as we enter classrooms and meeting spaces to assist with contact tracing.
  • Be mindful of the extended Spring Arbor community when leaving campus.
  • Carefully observe instructional and navigational signs and follow directions.
  • Abide by State and local guidelines for re-engagement (e.g., size of gatherings and regulated activities).
  • Pray for the health and wellbeing of our community, our city, our nation, and our world.