Welcome to Lee University!
At Lee, our mission is to prepare you to live a responsible Christian life in a complex world. We are proud to be a Christ-centered liberal arts university where our highest priority is to engage all students in a transformational journey of integrating their faith, values and vocation. Central to this mission is the classroom experience led by our passionate Lee faculty.
Along with being excellent academic instructors, the dedicated women and men of our faculty also serve as advisors, sponsors, confidants, and mentors. These colleagues do more than teach a discipline, they model genuine Christ-like discipleship. They do so because they care about you, deeply.
Lee exists because you matter to us, most importantly, because you matter to God. At Lee, you are more than a number, a degree, or a “job waiting to happen.” You are a child of God made in His image, called for His purpose to make a difference in the world.
We firmly believe that the ability to learn is a gift from God. But we also believe that exercising that gift is a personal choice. I, along with the entire Lee community of faculty and staff, stand ready to help you make that choice and walk with you in your journey.
Thank you for choosing Lee. We are glad you’re here!
Mark L. Walker, PhD
Click on a link to be taken to the entry below.
Lee University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award baccalaureate, masters, education specialist, and doctoral degrees. Questions about the accreditation of Lee University may be directed in writing to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA 30033-4097, by calling (404) 679-4500, or by using information available on SACSCOC’s website sacscoc.org.
The School of Music is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music (11250 Roger Bacon Drive, Suite 21; Reston, Virginia 20190; telephone: 703-437-0700).
The Helen DeVos College of Education at Lee University is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). This accreditation covers initial teacher preparation programs at Lee University. However, the accreditation does not include individual education courses that the institution offers to P-12 educators for professional development, licensure, or other purposes. Teacher education programs are approved through the Tennessee State Department of Education for licensure.
The School of Business is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). This accreditation promotes continuous improvement and recognizes excellence in the accrediting of business programs successfully completing a rigorous process of accreditation. The accreditation applies to all undergraduate and graduate programs in the School.
The Athletic Training Education Program is accredited by Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE).
The baccalaureate degree program in nursing at Lee University is accredited by the Tennessee Board of Nursing and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, 655 K Street, NW, Suite 750, Washington, DC 20001, 202-887-6791 http://www.ccneaccreditation.org.
The Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education.
The public relations program is accredited by the Public Relations Society of America, with a Certification in Education for Public Relations (CEPR).
Lee also holds membership in the American Council on Education, the Council of Independent Colleges, the Tennessee College Association, the Tennessee Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, the Appalachian College Association, the Association of Christian Continuing Education Schools and Seminaries, the Association for Continuing Higher Education, the Christian Adult Higher Education Association, and the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities.
Lee University is a Christian institution which offers liberal arts and professional education on both the baccalaureate and graduate levels through residential and distance programs. It seeks to provide education that integrates biblical truth as revealed in the Holy Scriptures with truth discovered through the study of arts and sciences and in the practice of various professions. A personal commitment to Jesus Christ as Savior is the controlling perspective from which the educational enterprise is carried out. The foundational purpose of all educational programs is to develop within the students knowledge, appreciation, understanding, ability and skills which will prepare them for responsible Christian living in a complex world.
Expanded Statement of Institutional Purpose
Founded as the Bible Training School in 1918 by the Church of God, Cleveland, Tennessee, the institution was renamed in 1947 to honor its second President, the Reverend F.J. Lee, and attained university status in 1997. The original purpose was to provide both general and biblical training for those persons entering the Christian ministry, and through the years Lee University has continued this purpose of “ministry,” ever more broadly defined to include both church and non-church vocations. Many of the students are affiliated with the Church of God, however, numerous students come from other denominations.
Enrollment consists primarily of undergraduate students. Over 70 percent of these students are recent high school graduates, while 14 percent are adults in one of our distance education programs. Over 50 percent of the traditional undergraduate students reside on campus. In order to maintain a sense of Christian community and enhance the personal, spiritual, academic, emotional and physical development of students, Lee University seeks to foster a residential campus experience, with special focus on the needs of freshmen and sophomores. The university works to create common space on the campus and a common core of residential events around which the entire community operates.
Lee University serves the Church and society by offering graduate programs in various professions and academic disciplines. These post-baccalaureate programs are designed to deepen one’s understanding of a discipline and/or strengthen one’s skills as a professional. The goal of all graduate degree programs is to nurture scholars and professionals who will better serve the kingdom of God and the world. In this way, the graduate programs are a natural extension of the university’s commitment to undergraduate education.
As an independent institution, Lee University is controlled by a Board of Directors appointed by the General Executive Committee of the denomination. The President is responsible to this board for facilitating an educational program presented from a theological perspective that is conservative, evangelical and Pentecostal. In keeping with the amended Charter of Incorporation (1968) and the Bylaws of Lee University (article I, sections 2 and 4), all board members, administrators and faculty members certify annually by contract that they will not advocate anything contrary to the Church of God Declaration of Faith.
Lee University endeavors to employ scholars with the highest academic credentials who present their disciplines from a distinctly Christian perspective. All truth is perceived to be God’s truth, and the effective presentation and integration of truth is the goal. Lee University values teaching as the most important faculty role, and excellence in teaching is the primary standard for retention, tenure and promotion. Faculty research is seen as essential to teaching excellence. It, too, is an important criterion for faculty advancement. Lee University values and rewards Christian community service and service to humankind as significant faculty responsibilities.
Lee University identifies its public service region as being generally coterminous with the geographic scope of the denomination. While most students come from the United States, the student body typically consists of representatives of a broad range of socioeconomic backgrounds from all fifty states and more than fifty countries in Central and South America, Europe, Asia and Africa. Because of this geographic span, the university serves a racially, ethnically and culturally diverse student body with fifteen percent international or minority students. The institution has adopted the policy that no person in whatever relation with Lee University shall be subject to discrimination because of race, color, national origin, age, sex, disability or other basis protected by law.
Lee University attracts students with widely varied academic skills. The university is committed to serve under-prepared students with a variety of support services. While the primary source of funding is from student revenues, the Church of God provides for the university in its annual budget. The university also receives support from alumni, businesses, churches, foundations and friends.
All baccalaureate degree students at Lee University must complete a general education and religion core. The general education courses foster intellectual development by enhancing the student’s ability to observe, read, and think critically and to communicate effectively. The courses also cultivate awareness, understanding and respect for cultural diversity. The religion core courses are predicated on the Reformation principle of the priesthood of the believers. The courses are designed to enable the student both to understand and articulate the Christian faith. The campus curriculum is enriched by American, Latin American, European, African and Asian studies programs, study tours, and service-to-humankind projects.
An integral part of the university mission is a commitment to training responsible citizens to contribute their God-given gifts to the community at large. A Biblical understanding of service and benevolence is introduced in the general education core, actualized through planned, reflective community engagement and developed in various major courses.
Lee University takes seriously the task of preparing students for responsible Christian living in a complex world. The goal is pursued within a variety of structures provided within the widest campus context, such as classroom instruction, extracurricular activities, student development services, residential living and distance education. The University realizes that the knowledge, appreciation, understanding, ability and skill for such resourceful living will be evident in its students in direct proportion to the success of its programs and services whereby a healthy physical, mental, social, cultural and spiritual development is fostered.
The Lee University experience intends to demonstrate that there is a positive correlation between scholarship and wholeness; that one must approach all learning with a sense of privilege and responsibility under God; that truth is truth wherever it is found, whether test tube, literary or artistic masterpiece or Holy Scripture; that appropriate integration of truth is both intellectual and behavioral in nature; and that the pursuit and application of truth is, indeed, “ministry.”
As a Christian university operated under the auspices of the Church of God, Lee University is firmly committed to the conservative, evangelical, Pentecostal religious position of its sponsoring denomination. This position is expressed in the “Declaration of Faith” as follows:
In the verbal inspiration of the Bible.
In one God eternally existing in three persons; namely, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
That Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of the Father, conceived of the Holy Ghost, and born of the Virgin Mary.
That Jesus was crucified, buried, and raised from the dead. That He ascended to heaven and is today at the right hand of the Father as the Intercessor.
That all have sinned and come short of the glory of God and that repentance is commanded of God for all and necessary for forgiveness of sins.
That justification, regeneration, and the new birth are wrought by faith in the blood of Jesus Christ. In sanctification subsequent to the new birth, through faith in the blood of Christ, through the Word, and by the Holy Ghost.
Holiness to be God’s standard of living for His people.
In the baptism with the Holy Ghost subsequent to a clean heart.
In speaking with other tongues as the Spirit gives utterance and that it is the initial evidence of the baptism of the Holy Ghost.
In water baptism by immersion, and all who repent should be baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
That divine healing is provided for all in the atonement.
In the Lord’s Supper and washing of the saints’ feet.
In the pre-millennial second coming of Jesus. First, to resurrect the righteous dead and to catch away the living saints to Him in the air. Second, to reign on the earth a thousand years.
In the bodily resurrection; eternal life for the righteous, and eternal punishment for the wicked.
The nature and range of this commitment are demonstrated in the objectives of the institution. Lee University seeks to:
- Provide a general education program which will equip students with quantitative, verbal and technological skills; enhance their appreciation of their cultural and religious heritage; strengthen their commitment to the liberal arts; and give them a view of their responsibility as Christian scholars in the community and the wider world.
- Provide sufficient religious education to enable students to be conversant in the Christian faith, to articulate their own beliefs and to actualize their faith through consistent growth and practice by the integration of faith with all aspects of life.
- Provide undergraduate programs of sufficient quality to prepare students for success in graduate and professional school and in the early stages of their careers.
- Provide graduate programs in various areas which will prepare students for success in post graduate programs.
- Achieve the quality of instruction and resources necessary for the national accreditation of selected areas and the development of the additional graduate programs where appropriate.
- Provide academic support through computer facilities, library resources, student support services and faculty development opportunities to ensure quality instruction and a challenging academic environment.
- Provide a campus environment that supports and encourages students in their personal, social, spiritual, cultural and physical development.
- Prepare students for successful personal and professional life by developing in them a commitment to Christian values in vocational goals and lifestyle choices.
- Prepare students for citizenship as Christians in the world through reflective community interactions and teach commitment to ideals of service, benevolence, civic virtue and social justice.
- Increase the diversity of the faculty and student body, address the unique needs of a diverse campus population, and encourage academic inquiry into minority concerns.
- Recruit, develop and retain a diverse community of teaching professionals, administrators and support staff who demonstrate excellence in their professional roles and effectively implement the mission of the university in their lifestyles and co-curricular involvement.
- Continue the growth of the student enrollment and development of the capital assets to optimize student opportunities.
- Preserve the evangelical and Pentecostal heritage and message of the Church of God and provide positive direction for its future.
- Provide quality academic, spiritual, cultural and recreational services to its various publics.
General Education Core
The General Education Core at Lee University is designed to provide students with a meaningful foundation of knowledge, skills and core values for their programs of study as well as for life during and after college. Successful academic work depends on the essential thinking and communication skills presented in these courses. The broad liberal arts knowledge and Christian worldview orientation in this part of collegiate study should develop people who are ethical practitioners, lifelong learners, integrative thinkers and faithful believers.
General Education Core Competencies
Students who have completed the General Education Core requirements at Lee University should demonstrate competency in the following key categories:
1. Communication Skills
Students should be able to gather information (through reading, engaging in research, and critical listening), organize it, and present it effectively in correct written and spoken English.
[English; writing and reporting components of other core classes]
2. Critical Thinking
Students should be able to demonstrate critical, analytical and integrative thinking as they engage in creative decision-making and problem solving.
[Math, Science, Philosophy, research components of other core classes]
3. Cultural Literacy
Students should be able to demonstrate a foundational level of knowledge about Western cultural heritage, American social and political institutions and studies of human interaction and behavior.
[Humanities, Literature, Fine Arts, History, Political Science, Sociology, Psychology and content components of other core classes]
4. Cultural Engagement
Students should be able to engage cultures besides their own equipped with knowledge of diverse social, linguistic, religious and traditional practices from other parts of the world.
[World Languages, Anthropology, Global Perspectives, Western and non-Western History, World Literature, etc.]
5. Core Values
Students should be able to demonstrate the integration of faith and vocation through the practice of ethical action, redemptive service and responsible citizenship in the church, community and the world.
[Service learning, global perspectives, religion core courses, faith integration capstones and the core as a whole]
Philosophy of Education
To offer a philosophy of education is to engage in critical and constructive introspection. It includes an appreciation of the past, an assessment of the present, and a will to dream, even to dare, respecting the future. The Lee University Philosophy of Education has been a commitment-in-process since 1918. At whatever stage in institutional development, those engaged in the enterprise have sensed a common calling, i.e., our community is a discipleship of equals, our work is a kind of sanctification of the ordinary, and our disposition is doxological in nature.
A philosophy of education necessarily considers teachers, students, and the creative engagement of the two. Furthermore, a Christian philosophy of education presupposes the integration of faith and learning. The following represents a corporate commitment in these regards.
Teaching, to this community of Christian scholars, is a calling to serve the Kingdom of God through scholarly discovery of truth, dissemination of appropriate knowledge, and development of effective constituents. This mission requires a commitment to invest the time necessary to prepare students intellectually and spiritually to be productive citizens in the twenty-first century. Effective teachers challenge and inspire succeeding generations to discover gifts, to discern callings, to formulate life plans, and to begin to implement all of these for excellence in service. Furthermore, they lead students toward personal excellence by modeling the goals and values of the learning community, by facilitating student learning of discipline knowledge, personal skills and Christian perspectives, and by inspiring students to reach for transformational growth.
Effective teachers are characterized, most notably, by commitment to lifelong learning. Lee University faculty members are committed Christians who believe in being led by the Holy Spirit as they fulfill their professional roles in scholarship, teaching, and service. Those teachers support collegiality and accountability with respect for academic freedom within the bounds of the Christian faith. Effective relational and communication skills, disciplinary expertise, care for students, and a strong work ethic are viewed as essential qualifications for a community of Christian teacher-scholars. As members of a teaching-learning community, Lee faculty contribute to life beyond the classroom through involvement in campus organizations and events, service on faculty committees, civic and church responsibilities, and scholarly accountability.
Aware that an intentional teaching-learning community significantly impacts the growth and development of students, members of the Lee University faculty share these distinctive educational commitments: the integration of biblical truth with the disciplinary knowledge of academic specialties; the promotion of the Lordship of Jesus Christ through all that is done in the classroom, on the campus, and in the full scope of living; the encouragement of students to strive for excellence in mastery of subject knowledge, in critical thinking, in skills development, in moral and spiritual growth, and in social development; the importance of service learning experiences for all students; the fostering of global perspectives through cross-cultural interaction and multi-cultural experience; the holistic development of students through collaboration with other institutional partners; and the mentoring of students as their academic and spiritual role models.
The learning experience at Lee University includes the development of critical thinking skills and the challenge of creative thought issuing from and empowered by a Christ-centered approach to education. Working in partnership with faculty who are grounded in the integration of faith and learning, students are empowered and encouraged to discover and investigate the facets of their disciplines as they learn to adapt to a constantly changing landscape. Each student is regarded as a product of God’s design, distinctively gifted to learn and to grow. The faculty’s role is to help students, God’s workmanship, to understand the call that God has placed on them and to challenge them to examine and to use their gifts in discharging those callings.
The centrality of the classroom with designed educational activities is a given in the formation of students’ intellectual habits. Therein the life of the mind is nurtured and students become more than merely passive recipients of information. Even so, to embody this process requires a level of faculty responsibility outside the classroom whereby to build personal and collegial relationships that enhance the learning process. Desiring for students an integration of faith and knowledge, Christian teachers in that external context also mentor and counsel students to the fullest engagement of Christian discipleship.
Engaging students in the learning process, then, whatever the venue, is integral to the educational mission. While acknowledging that not all students may be challenged successfully and that ultimate responsibility for learning rests with the students themselves, Lee faculty do believe that efforts at such engagement must be intentional, aggressive, and thorough. Students must not be treated as passive consumers; rather, because of their created dignity in the image of God, the faculty proposes to challenge them by ennobling intellectual and scholarly endeavors sufficient to fulfill their distinctive vocations in life.
Sensitive Christian educators intend to approach all students as worthy of time, care, and attention. While acknowledging varied levels of academic preparation in their backgrounds, Lee faculty do maintain that all students who meet university admission standards and are placed before them are worthy of the best efforts, which include teaching techniques that are flexible and accommodating in order to meet the needs of a diverse population. Far from relaxing standards in the face of such differentiation, faculty commit to engage students in such ways that each one might realize his/her highest potential, all to the glory of God.
In retrospect, the principals, i.e. teachers and students, involved and the process undertaken may be characterized succinctly in this way: The positive engagement of the passionate intellect and the inquiring mind represents the intersection of calling, the sense of divine vocation; of commitment, the belief that the arts and sciences represent the core values of one’s academic identity; of confession, the concurrence of Christian faith affirmations and transcendental values; of confidence, the challenge that academic faithfulness does make a difference in the development and expression of one’s own character and contribution; of competence, the amalgam of academic integrity and quality assurance so essential to any Christian enterprise; and of community, the holistic and relational perception of the teaching-learning paradigm. These matters have not been consigned to the vagaries of chance but have been decidedly intentional. Indeed, the energizing Geist at Lee University is that academic engagement is a spiritual discipline.
Philosophy of Calling and Career
Lee University believes that God gives strengths, talents or gifts to all humans in creation. We also believe that God calls people in two ways: primarily to a relationship with God and secondarily to tasks and careers in response to that relationship.
Understanding these gifts and callings as fundamental to a meaningful life on earth, Lee University attempts to create an atmosphere where questions about calling and career are encouraged. The university accomplishes this through discussion of calling with-in courses throughout the curriculum, through vocational retreats and chapel speakers, through the Center for Calling and Career, and through our own quest for understanding our personal strengths and call from God in the Spirit. The goal is that we all might love God with our whole being and love our neighbors as ourselves.
Athletic Philosophy and Mission
Lee University, as a Christian liberal arts university, is committed to the principle that God is glorified when individuals develop to their full potential as whole persons - intellectually, spiritually, socially, and physically.
The existence of an athletic program at Lee University not only is consistent with this principle but is necessary to it. A university without an athletic program omits an important part of the preparation of its students for “responsible Christian living in a complex world.”
The mission of the intercollegiate athletic program is to assist in the preparation of graduates for Christian service in their occupations, academic pursuits, and personal ministry. The success of this preparation depends on programs and services whereby physical, mental, social, and spiritual development is fostered. The mission is pursued within a variety of activities provided within the context of the intercollegiate athletic program.
The intercollegiate athletic program is designed to assist in preparing students for “responsible Christian living in the complex world.” Its commitment is to develop an integrated person - one who is spiritually alive, intellectually alert, and physically disciplined. This balance is achieved in each athlete by training him/her to think about athletics with a competitive spirit from the Christian perspective.
Lee University takes seriously the task of preparing students for responsible Christian living in a complex world. The goal is pursued within a variety of structures provided within the widest campus context, such as classroom instruction, extracurricular activities, student development services and residential living. The university realizes that the knowledge, appreciation, understanding, ability and skill for such resourceful living will be evident in its students in direct proportion to the success of its programs and service whereby a healthy physical, mental, social, cultural and spiritual development is fostered.
The Lee University Flames are members of the Gulf South Conference (GSC), and the National Collegiate Athletic Association - Division II (NCAA DII). Teams compete in basketball, tennis, soccer, cross country, golf, indoor/outdoor track, softball, volleyball, women’s lacrosse, and baseball, with several teams qualifying for post-season play each year. All events are free to students upon presentation of a current identification card.
Historical Sketch of Lee University
Lee University has emerged in recent years as an institution of national standing in many areas that are typically ranked by outside observers. One of the reasons for this emergence is that Lee stands out in a select group of higher education institutions, that of Christ-centered, liberal arts colleges and universities. Another reason is that Lee’s original core values and goals have remained strong even as it has adapted to the changing landscape of academic and professional life.
Lee University’s recent success belies its humble beginnings a century ago. In 1918, the Church of God of Cleveland, TN began a small Bible institute of twelve students and one teacher, the school grew and became Lee College, with a Bible college and junior college on its current site, in 1948. Twenty years later, Lee received accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools as a four-year liberal arts college. In 1997 Lee made the transition from college to comprehensive liberal arts university granting graduate degrees.
The liberal arts experiment at Lee College came into its own in the mid 1980s with a deliberate move to embrace the broader evangelical Christian community. The shift brought an influx of new students and faculty. In the twenty-nine years between 1986 and 2015, student enrollment quadrupled from barely 1200 to more than 5000.
While Lee remains committed to its denominational affiliation, the institution’s inclusive enrollment policy now attracts students with a variety of religious traditions, academic abilities and ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds. Lee draws students from every state, and the percentage of minorities and internationals is one of the highest in the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities.
The faculty has also grown and diversified to keep pace with the 153 residential and distance undergraduate degree programs within 51 major fields of study and 46 residential and distance graduate degree programs within 20 major fields of study in its six schools: the College of Arts and Sciences, the Helen DeVos College of Education, the School of Business, the School of Music, the School of Nursing and the School of Religion. Faculty members come from around the world and represent a wide range of academic, cultural and religious backgrounds.
Campus construction programs have added significant acreage and 28 major buildings to Lee’s landscape over the past 30 years. Among these are 11 new dormitories, 10 classroom buildings, a student union building, a dining hall, three buildings for athletic and recreational use, the complete renovation of the former Cleveland First Baptist Church facility into a premier performance venue and other various uses, and The Chapel.
At the turn of the new millennium, Lee University became a higher education pioneer in incorporating service learning and cross-cultural studies as a regular part of every student’s educational experience. Lee has been recognized for its leadership in preparing students for responsible living and was included in the Honor Roll of Character-Building Colleges by the Templeton Foundation. The Institute of International Education Open Doors reports for the past few years have ranked Lee University among the top five master’s degree granting institutions nationwide for its application of global and cross-cultural studies. Lee has also been recognized by the Corporation for National and Community Service as one of the top six institutions in the nation for the service efforts of our students. We have received the Presidential Award in Higher Education Community Service and been included in that institution’s Honor Roll for the past ten years.
Presidents of Lee University
A. J. Tomlinson
F. J. Lee
J. B. Ellis
T. S. Payne
J. H. Walker, Sr.
Zeno C. Tharp
J. H. Walker, Sr.
E. L. Simmons
J. Stewart Brinsfield
John C. Jernigan
R. Leonard Carroll, Sr.
R. L. Platt
Ray H. Hughes, Sr.
James A. Cross
Charles W. Conn
Ray H. Hughes, Sr.
R. Lamar Vest
Charles Paul Conn
Mark L. Walker