Contagious usually isn’t a good thing…unless it’s the contagious energy and blessings from Weimar Institute’s Total Community Involvement (TCI). They’re shared both close by and far away, as far away as Central America and the Caribbean.
Higher education leaders from the Inter-American Division of Seventh-day Adventists (IAD) caught Weimar’s contagious TCI enthusiasm this week during a tour of Adventist educational facilities on the west coast. Starting in southern California, eleven university leaders toured three campuses to glean best practices in areas of community outreach, student fulfillment and satisfaction, and integrating mission into the curriculum.
The leaders ranged from presidents of Adventist University Institute of Venezuela and University of Southern Caribbean – Trinidad and Tobago to Belize Adventist Jr. College and Northern Caribbean University in Jamaica.
“The three things that seemed to be transmitted in each sidebar conversation with each of the leaders are the power of TCI, the design of Weimar’s mission in the accreditation journey, and the commitment and dedication of the staff,” shared Keith Dobbs, vice president of advancement and Weimar’s host for the IAD group.
During the visit, the group learned about these areas through tours, discussions with Weimar staff and students, and presentations.
Don Mackintosh, director of the HEALTH program at Weimar, presented the TCI initiative. One afternoon a week, every staff, student, and faculty member is in the community doing service. Activities range from raking leaves and yard work to painting homes, health programs, and being helping hands at the local community center.
“Some of the students and staff who were so resistant to this [due to the concerns about the potential academic impact timewise] when we rolled it out are the ones who say they are getting the biggest blessing,” he shared. “It creates perfect opportunities to become friends and share about our friend Jesus Christ.”
Christina Harris, PhD, interim academic vice president, director of assessment, and accreditation liaison officer (ALO) with the Accrediting Commission for Schools, Western Association of Schools and Colleges (ACS WASC) shared about the “Weimar Difference”.
Dr. Harris showed that Weimar’s vision, mission, and learning outcomes are unique and directly related to Biblical methods. “We’ve designed rubrics that assess all outcomes for spiritual leaders, health evangelists, critical thinkers, integrative learners, and principled workers all aligned with our program,” she said.
Neil Nedley, MD, provided a historical timeline of miracle after miracle that allowed Weimar Institute to be open and growing today. He reiterated that Weimar receives no government or church subsidy and yet is able to operate in the black with tuition dollars, revenue from health programs, and generous donations from donors.
Leaders from the IAD group felt there was much they could glean from their Weimar tour, particularly from the interconnected programs they saw and people they met. For Dr. Lincoln Edwards, North Caribbean University president, it was quality of staff Weimar attracts. “I am still in awe of the level of commitment of the workers at Weimar,” he commented.
Dr. Gamaliel Florez, Inter-American Division education director, added, “It was a very rewarding experience…Academically and spiritually we were impressed. We were inspired by the experiences shared by faculty members and students.”
Weimar Institute’s unique environment and programs continue to attract an ever-growing number of international staff and students. During the IAD visit, several Weimar students from IAD countries enjoyed visiting with their leaders. Sisters Danielle and Sandra Acosta, Weimar nursing students from Panama, helped host the group’s Tuesday night meal. Wednesday morning featured a devotional by Weimar HEALTH student Thania Solorio representing Mexico. She shared her story of being a miracle baby and how God led her to Weimar.
A grown-up miracle in the form of a Weimar student. A group of leaders wanting to learn as much as possible. God continues to lead people from around the world to Weimar to share and learn…and to perhaps catch a contagious vision of what He wants to teach us all.