2019-2020 Catalog 
    Jul 22, 2024  
2019-2020 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Mission of the University


  Calvin University equips students
    to think deeply,
    to act justly,
    and to live wholeheartedly
    as Christ’s agents of renewal in the world.


Calvin University is a Christian academic community dedicated to rigorous intellectual inquiry.

Calvin students study the liberal arts and select from a broad range of majors and professional programs. The college fosters scholarship that creates new knowledge, that performs creative work, and that sustains natural and cultural resources. A Calvin education, marked by scholarly engagement with enduring questions and emerging concerns, prepares students to answer God’s call to live and serve in God’s world as agents of renewal.

Calvin University does all this with a robust commitment to providing equal opportunities for all faculty, staff, and students. Calvin University was founded in 1876 by the Christian Reformed Church in North America and named for 16th-century reformer John Calvin. The historic creeds and confessions of Reformed Christianity guide the college’s understanding of scripture and inform its mission.


Our primary purpose is to engage in vigorous liberal arts education that promotes lifelong Christian service. We offer education that is shaped by Christian faith, thought, and practice. We study and address a world made good by God, distorted by sin, redeemed in Christ, and awaiting the fullness of God’s reign. We aim to develop knowledge, understanding, and critical inquiry; encourage insightful and creative participation in society; and foster thoughtful, passionate, Christian commitments. Our curriculum emphasizes the natural, cultural, societal, and spiritual contexts in which we live; our teaching respects diverse levels, gifts, and styles of learning; and our learning proceeds as a shared intellectual task.

Another purpose is to produce substantial and challenging art and scholarship. We pursue intellectual efforts to explore our world’s beauty, speak to its pain, uncover our own faithlessness, and proclaim the healing that God offers in Jesus Christ. We strive to embrace the best insights of Christian life and reflection; engage issues in the intellectual and public spheres; and enrich faith by the heritage of the past and the discoveries of today. Our faculty and staff are committed to keen and lively work in their chosen fields and to sharing its fruits with others.

We are also called to perform all our tasks as a caring and diverse educational community. We undertake our tasks in response to a divine calling. Together, we challenge ourselves to excellence as we acquire knowledge, cultivate aspirations, and practice lives of service. We seek to gather diverse people and gifts around a common pledge and purpose; pursue justice, compassion, and discipline; and provide a training ground for the life of Christian virtue. Our classrooms embody a community of faith and learning extending across campus and beyond.

These purposes are further articulated in the college’s Expanded Statement of Mission and related documents.


The corporate name of the university is Calvin University. It is governed by a single board of trustees, which represents the ecclesiastical geographical districts of the Christian Reformed Church in North America.

The membership of the board comprises sixteen regional trustees, up to three alumni trustees, and up to twelve at-large trustees. The trustees are selected by the board’s Trusteeship Committee from nominations made by the various denominational classes, the Alumni Association, and, in the case of at-large trustees, by the board itself. Trustee appointments are subject to ratification by the Synod of the Christian Reformed Church.

The Board of Trustees meets in October, January, and May. An executive committee functions for the board throughout the academic year.

Compliance with Legal Requirements

Calvin University, in accordance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, operates in a non-discriminatory manner with regard to race, color, age, or national origin. Furthermore, as required by Title IX of the 1972 Education Amendments, Calvin University does not discriminate on the basis of gender in its educational programs, activities, or employment policies. Calvin University also provides equal opportunity for qualified handicapped persons in accordance with the requirements of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Instructional and other physical facilities are readily accessible to handicapped students, and special rooms in the residence halls are designed for barrier-free living. The Office of Academic Services provides advice and support to students with disabilities. Inquiries and appeals regarding compliance with these federal requirements should be directed to the associate vice president for human resources as Civil Rights, Title IX, and Section 504 coordinator.

In accordance with the Clery Act, Calvin University does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its educational programs, and sexual harassment and sexual violence are types of sex discrimination. Other acts can also be forms of sex-based discrimination and are also prohibited whether sexually based or not and include dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking. As a result, Calvin University issues this statement of policy to inform the community of our comprehensive plan addressing sexual misconduct, educational programs, and procedures that address sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking, whether the incident occurs on or off campus, and when it is reported to a College official. In this context, Calvin University prohibits the offenses of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking and reaffirms its commitment to maintain a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the college community. For a complete copy of Calvin University’s policy governing sexual misconduct, visit www.calvin.edu/directory/policies/student-conduct-code#IIIE.

Commitment to Safe Environment

Calvin University is committed to performing all tasks as a caring and diverse community. Each person - faculty, staff, student, trustee, volunteer, visitor, contractor, and vendor - who has chosen to engage with the Calvin community thereby affirms a willingness to uphold the community’s stated standards of conduct and ensure that Calvin University provides a safe environment for students, staff, faculty, and guests of the college.

Harassment, discrimination, and retaliation of any form are a violation of a person’s rights, dignity, and integrity. Such acts debase the integrity of the educational process and work environment and are contrary to the mission and values of Calvin University. In response to any reported misconduct, the college will take appropriate steps to eliminate the misconduct, prevent its recurrence, and remedy its effects. The college will review and investigate all reports, and provide for fair and impartial evaluation and resolution. Retaliation against a person who makes a good faith report of harassment or discrimination or anyone participating as a witness in an investigation or hearing is prohibited. For more information, see www.calvin.edu/about/safer-spaces/

Accreditation and Affiliation

Calvin University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, 230 South LaSalle St, Suite 7-500, Chicago, IL 60604-1411, phone 800.621.7440. It is also accredited by the American Chemical Society, National Association of Schools of Music, and the Teacher Education Accreditation Council. The Calvin nursing program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and is approved by the Michigan Board of Nursing; the engineering program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, http://www.abet.org; the bachelor in computer science degree program is accredited by the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET; the social work program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education; and the master’s program in speech-language pathology is accredited by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s Council of Academic Accreditation (CAA). The accreditation documents from these agencies are on file in the Office of the Provost and are available for review in that office upon request.

The University also has institutional membership in a number of professional associations and organizations. It maintains membership in the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Michigan, the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, the Council of Independent Colleges, the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, the Council on Undergraduate Research, the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, the International Association for the Promotion of Christian Higher Education, and the Michigan Academy of Science, Arts, and Letters.

Academic Calendar

The academic calendar consists of two semesters, each approximately four months in length, plus a one-month interim term in January. Students normally take 12-17 semester hours during each of the two semesters and 3-4 semester hours during the interim.

The summer semester offers 3 and 4 week courses with daytime and evening courses and weeklong graduate workshops. Students can normally complete up to three regular courses during the summer session.