GLENDALE, AZ—Arizona Christian University this fall is launching a new campus-wide research initiative—the Student Worldview Inventory—that makes ACU the only university in the world to measure the biblical worldview of its students.
Starting this academic year, under the direction of veteran researcher Dr. George Barna and the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University, the Student Worldview Inventory will specifically measure the worldview of students when they start their ACU academic career, as well as at the beginning of each academic year and finally, when they graduate.
According to ACU President Len Munsil, the goal of the new research initiative is to anonymously measure the development of ACU students’ worldview as they experience the university’s unique CORE Christian liberal arts curriculum and strategic biblical worldview education during their time at Arizona Christian University.
“Unlike the vast majority of higher education institutions, at ACU a biblical worldview is reinforced, rather than torn down,” Munsil said. “We look forward to having empirical research to confirm and refine the results of our efforts to ensure that our students grow in their biblical worldview during their time at ACU.
“The Student Worldview Inventory reflects our commitment to teaching and restoring the biblical worldview in the next generation—by not only teaching biblical worldview, but by also measuring student worldview outcomes.”
Dr. Barna, developer of the Student Worldview Inventory, said ”We are privileged to break new ground by evaluating the worldview of our students and adjusting our teaching process in order to further the biblical literacy and worldview application by ACU students. Integrating the biblical worldview into every course, major, and campus activity not only sets ACU apart from the field, but it recaptures the essence of what it means to have a Christian education.”
According to Dr. Barna, “Our worldview is how each of us experiences, interprets, and responds to the world around us. Everyone has a worldview; you need it to make sense of the world and to make decisions. However, the biblical worldview is just one of many worldviews Americans are exposed to and choose from as they develop their perspective on the world. Adopting a biblical worldview is our best effort to think like Jesus so that we can live like Jesus.”
The survey questions for the Student Worldview Inventory were developed through a collaborative process between Barna, ACU faculty, and the school’s administrators. They were drawn from key biblical principles in the University statement of faith, core commitments and University learning outcomes. The Inventory is answered anonymously and is designed to measure both student beliefs and behavior.
The SWVI is designed to measure student worldview development throughout their educational experience at ACU, both in their major area of study and in the CORE Christian Liberal Arts curriculum. Students complete a strategic biblical worldview course their first year, then learn to apply that worldview framework throughout the CORE humanities courses and in their major.
According to ACU Director of the CORE Dr. Tony Bryson, “The Student Worldview Inventory is a crucial piece of evidence for how well we are teaching students the biblical worldview, not only in the CORE Humanities courses but across the university.”
“This type of measurement gives us the unique ability to track changes in students’ thinking and understanding of the biblical worldview as they grow and mature with each passing year at ACU,” he said.
“Good intentions are not enough,” Bryson explained. “We must know if our way of teaching and training of the students is bearing fruit. The Student Worldview Inventory and the work of the Cultural Research Center will give us data on how to teach the Humanities courses better and how to teach the biblical worldview across all disciplines in the university.”
Earlier this year Barna and CRC launched the American Worldview Inventory, a national survey of the worldview of a representative sample of the U.S. adult population. That survey found that just 6% of American adults possess a biblical worldview.
“That national outcome underscores how critically important it is for ACU to continue to build its educational platform on biblical worldview development,” Barna explained. “We pray that our efforts will help catalyze a renewed worldview development movement that will consistently increase both public awareness of worldview as a concept, and the importance of developing a biblical worldview as a widespread objective among Christians and in Christian school and church settings.”
President Munsil agreed, “Not only will we have research data that gives us insights into the worldview of our students, the research will enable us to continually make improvements to our academic and spiritual life programs as we measure outcomes.”
***Dr. Tracy Munsil serves as the Executive Director of the Center and Editor-in-Chief of ACU Press. Dr. Munsil is also an Associate Professor of Political Science at Arizona Christian University.
***The Cultural Research Center (CRC) was formed by Arizona Christian University, in partnership with George Barna, the most respected researcher in America, to produce credible, non-partisan research and analysis establishing the transformational impact of a biblical worldview on American culture. CRC conducts nationwide research studies to understand the intersection of faith and culture and shares the information with organizations focused on impacting the spheres of cultural influence in order to transform American culture with biblical truth. Like ACU, CRC upholds the historic truths of Christianity but remains non-partisan and inter-denominational. More information about the Cultural Research Center is available at the Center’s website, located at www.culturalresearchcenter.com.