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Christian institution of higher education located in Columbia, South Carolina. CIU began in 1923 when it was founded as Columbia Bible School. The original purpose was to provide a two-year course of study in biblical studies for local mill workers. By 1927, the decision was made to convert the school into a college and begin offering bachelor’s degrees in Bible. The school continued to grow and eventually required a new campus. Because of the closely knit nature of the institution and the emphasis on Christian education and biblical studies regardless of major, many of the colleges share faculty members. The college is headed by a Dean and possesses faculty from a variety of academic competencies, including English, humanities, music, foreign and ancient languages, philosophy, psychology, communications, and various others.
The Graduate School primarily exists as a complement to the undergraduate programs available. The main focus of the school is offering courses leading to degrees in education, though there is a large postgraduate counseling program. The Graduate School also offers terminal degrees in education: an Ed. These advanced degree programs are led by program coordinator Dr. Christian ministry either in a congregational setting, in parachurch organizations or as a missionary. As an institution of higher education, CIU’s primary emphasis is on its academic programs. Like most other Christian colleges, the traditional academic emphasis has been placed on the humanities and liberal arts rather than natural sciences, in addition to strong emphasis on ministerial and biblical studies, even at the undergraduate level.
This is evidenced by the fact that there are undergraduate majors relating directly to ministerial skills but no programs in the sciences. CIU is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools for its undergraduate and graduate programs and is listed as a Level V school, meaning that it offers three or fewer doctoral degrees. CIU also offers online degrees and other degrees that are a hybrid of on-campus and online courses. The structure of this program has the clear advantage of permitting the student to obtain a degree but without relocating closer to the campus or leaving full-time employment. One obvious disadvantage would be that the student only has limited interaction with other students and the faculty. There are seven doctrinal points which students must assent to as a part of their admission to and candidacy for a degree from CIU. CIU holds to a goal of spiritual formation in preparation for life after college.
Students are required to sign a covenant form agreeing to keep various lifestyle standards established by the university. Some of the standards include prohibition from alcohol and tobacco. The standards have been a point of contention for many years. While not actively publicized, a complete handbook is available for viewing at . Student Union: organization which plans and hosts fun activities for all students. The CIU Thespians: organization that provides opportunities for students to participate in theatrical shows, stage craft, and theater management.
Credo: university’s academic journal published biannually containing scholarly papers submitted by students from both the undergraduate as well as graduate programs. The Rambler: student newspaper that accepts submissions from the student body or the free, confessional and respectful exchange of all ideas. Third Culture Kids who are enrolled at CIU. Student Mission Connection: student group which prays for current missionary activities and helps members seek their role in global missions.
CIU is not directly affiliated or sponsored by any single denomination though welcomes all students from any number of evangelical Christian denominations and somewhat more loosely, any Protestant denomination. While CIU does have enrolled students and faculty who are members of Christian communities which would not typically be identified as evangelical Protestant, it does require that all faculty and staff belong to a local Protestant church. This policy was enforced some years ago when one faculty member, Dr. While the primary mission of CIU is to provide an evangelical higher education to its students, the corporate entity also includes Ben Lippen School. Ben Lippen is a private, interdenominational Christian school located on the CIU campus. It was founded as a boarding school in Asheville, North Carolina in the 1940s, but was moved to its current location in 1988, offering middle and high school programs.