Connecting Columbia Union Seventh-day Adventists

Fall Semester 2022 Kicks Off at Washington Adventist University

Story by Washington Adventist University Staff

The Fall 2022 semester got off to a great start at Washington Adventist University (WAU). It began with the new students orientation during the week of August 21-27. WAU welcomed 204 new, transfer and graduate students. Among those new students, nine took advantage of the special annual flat tuition rate initiative of $12,000 currently being offered by WAU for undergraduate Columbia Union Conference students. The breakdown for the flat tuition rate is as follows: Four from the Potomac Conference, three from the Chesapeake Conference, one from the Allegheny East Conference, and one from the Allegheny West Conference.

To start the semester, the Betty Howard Center for Student Success culminated their tireless efforts to welcome and engage the new students entering WAU as new freshmen and provided them a taste of WAU’s culture as they start their academic journey. While most of the events occurred during the New Student Orientation week, Betty Johnson, newly appointed dean for Student Success, shared a new initiative that preceded orientation, “Welcome Days,” which took place during the summer. Approximately 42 prospective students visited WAU for a campus tour, individual sessions with faculty advisors, financial aid and account representatives, connecting with their cohort, and meeting the center staff.

Johnson shared some of the most “influential activities,” as she puts it, that had significant impact and added much value to the New Student Orientation experience. The Gateway Dinner was a highlight and well-attended event, hosting both students and their families. As customary, the dinner was followed by the Gateway Ceremony, where new students gave their pledge to work hard and to become part of the WAU culture, then afterward marched through the Gateway to Service arch and thus were officially welcomed into the WAU family.

As shared by the students, another high point in the week was “Bafa Bafa”, a cross-cultural simulation led by Ralph Johnson, dean for Student Life. This exercise allowed students to immerse themselves in a foreign culture and learn to navigate the experience through observation. The object of this activity was to model what could happen in diverse settings on campuses like WAU. They were told that the approach should be one of patience and respect--having an open mind toward the various cultural dynamics represented on campus and in the classroom.

Students also participated in the popular Ropes Course, a team building exercise. Additional highlights throughout the week were many ranging from the faculty panel, in which faculty shared their expectations for the students, to the ice cream social, and to culminate the activities on Friday evening with a Consecration Service, a spiritual and solemn event featuring new students as the main participants.

Another event culminating the beginning of the Fall 2022 semester was the annual Colloquium event during which all WAU faculty, staff and administrators gather to launch the new academic year.

This launch is a vivid depiction of the Stephen Covey admonition that, for distinctive success, it is absolutely essential to “begin with the end in mind”. Accordingly, during Wednesday through Friday of the third week of August, the academic community gathered to be inspired by Weymouth Spence, WAU president, as he gave updates specific to the VISION 2030 priorities. Some other highlights of the colloquium were reconnecting through fellowship, listening to and creating actions in response to the previous year’s assessment data; being refined by professional development such as “relationship rich” customer service; experiencing the significance of being enriched by faculty research; gaining insights on the newly acquired advising platform “WAU Finish Line” (Stellic) and learning of new student success resources such as those made available to WAU through the department of Education’s EMC unit (e.g., VitaNavis and Financial Literacy).

Of special significance, this year’s Colloquium was empowered by devotional themes shared by the WAU Student Ambassadors. The colloquium ended with an inaugural campus prayer walk.​

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