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    Harding University
  Sep 23, 2023
2019-2020 Academic Catalog 
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2019-2020 Academic Catalog [Archived Catalog]


Harding University is a private Christian institution of higher education committed to the tradition of the liberal arts and sciences. It is composed of the following academic units: the College of Arts and Humanities; College of Bible and Ministry; Paul R. Carter College of Business Administration; Cannon-Clary College of Education; College of Sciences; Honors College; and the Center for Health Sciences that includes the College of Allied Health, Carr College of Nursing, and College of Pharmacy; and the Harding School of Theology in Memphis, Tenn. Harding offers graduate and professional programs in business, counseling, education, family nurse practitioner, ministry, marriage and family therapy,  physician assistant studies, pharmacy, physical therapy, speech language pathology, and a Center for Online and Adult Education. The University serves a diverse, coeducational student body of traditional and nontraditional students from across the United States and around the world, although the primary constituency for students and financial support is the fellowship of the churches of Christ. The board of trustees, the administration, and the faculty believe that the freedom to pursue truth and high academic achievement is compatible with the Christian principles to which the University is committed. The faculty is dedicated to excellence in teaching, scholarship, service, and their role as models of Christian living. The University community seeks to provide an environment that both supports students and challenges them to realize their full potential. Thus,

Harding’s mission is to provide a quality education that will lead to an understanding and philosophy of life consistent with Christian ideals. This involves the following goals:

Generally, the integration of faith, learning and living (developing the whole person through a commitment to Christ and to the Bible as the Word of God, an emphasis on lifelong intellectual growth, and the encouragement of Christian service and world missions through a servant-leadership lifestyle).

Specifically, the development of Christian scholarship (while acknowledging dependence on God, stressing Christian commitment to intellectual excellence through a strong liberal arts foundation and effective professional preparation).

The promotion of Christian ethics (creating an atmosphere that emphasizes integrity and purity of thought and action).

The development of lasting relationships (fostering personal and social relationships through interaction among faculty, staff and students; and stressing a lifelong commitment to marriage and the Christian family).

The promotion of wellness (emphasizing that the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and that lifetime health habits contribute to a better quality of life).

The promotion of citizenship within a global perspective (developing a Christian understanding of and respect for other cultures through an emphasis on liberty and justice).


The motto of Harding University is “Developing Christian Servants.”

The Harding motto grows from the University mission statement with its emphasis on the integration of faith, learning and living. Students are encouraged to live lives of service to Christ and His church and, in so doing, to bless the lives of others. The development of a servant-leadership lifestyle is stressed.

The University provides sponsorship, support and encouragement for countless Christian service projects, including evangelistic and medical missions, disaster relief, and aid to the disadvantaged. Thus, students become more like Christ, who came not to be served, but to serve.

Spiritual Vision

(The following statement of spiritual vision was adopted by the Harding University Board of Trustees in May 2008, and reaffirmed in May 2011.)

Harding University was founded in 1924 upon spiritual convictions. We are, at our core, a Christian university. The character, example and concerns of Jesus Christ are the standards that shape us and chart the course for our future. Because of this, an all-encompassing love for God and a corresponding love for people are at the heart of who we are.

We are committed to retaining the Christian identity of Harding University. Realizing that there is a powerful, almost overwhelming tendency for Christian institutions to drift toward secularism, we recommit ourselves at this time to the distinctive practices that have always been central to Harding’s Christian mission: required Bible classes; daily chapel; and a lofty code of behavior for the board, administration, faculty and students.

For many years it has been our goal that Harding University integrates and celebrates “faith, learning and living.” The Christian worldview is to be at the core of every academic discipline and every extracurricular activity on campus. Every professor who stands in front of a class, every coach who stands in front of a team, and every director who stands in front of a cast or a chorus is to speak and lead as a man or woman of God. They are to confess, both in words and actions, that God created the world, that He redeems us through the blood of His Son Jesus, that He fills his children with His Holy Spirit, and that He calls us to be holy as He is holy. Such core themes will be emphasized in chapel services, in faculty meetings and throughout the university.

The Gospel of John states that “the Word became flesh and lived for a while among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). Grace and truth were perfectly blended in Jesus. He spoke truth, but always in a gracious way. He extended his hand in grace, but never betrayed the truth in doing so. However, Christians constantly struggle to demonstrate that same sacred balance. Gracious people are easily tempted to compromise truth, and truth-seeking people often communicate ungraciousness. Recognizing this challenge, we are determined to be a people who are “full of grace and truth,” sacrificing neither in the pursuit of both. Cheap grace and harsh truth are two extremes we will seek to avoid. Our hope is that, when people think of Harding University, they will think of both grace and truth.

Another important aspect of our institutional identity is our belief in the Bible as the fully inspired and authoritative word of God. We hold it to be “God-breathed” and the basis of our teaching and life. The Bible is central to our goal of spiritual formation in the life of everyone at Harding. Consequently, it is our goal that every graduating senior leave our university with a greater level of confidence in Scripture than they had when they first arrived on campus.

Harding University has always been a leader in world missions. Nearly one-third of the missionaries who have gone out from churches of Christ have graduated from Harding. We believe that at this critical point in history it is important that we renew our commitment to participate fully in the mission of God, both at home and abroad. While the pluralism of our postmodern culture denies the need to preach the gospel, we continue to believe that salvation is found only in Jesus Christ and that Christians are to “go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19).

Harding has always been deeply connected with churches of Christ, and we reaffirm this connection. Our goal will be to continue to hire only members of churches of Christ as faculty and administrators. Though we live in a time of significant confusion over our brotherhood’s identity, we are determined that Harding University will become captive to neither a rigid legalism on the right nor a formless liberalism on the left. “With gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:16) we affirm on this occasion such distinctive convictions of the mainstream churches of Christ as baptism for the remission of sins, a cappella music in worship, and male spiritual leadership.

While we maintain our close ties with the churches of Christ, we make clear that Harding opens her arms to all. Those who do not share all of our convictions are always welcome, and we will work hard to see that they are always treated with kindness, fairness and respect.

This statement of spiritual vision is presented, and we offer it to God with the words of our Lord, Jesus: “Father…not (our) will, but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42)

Higher Learning Commission Criteria for Accreditation

Harding University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (; 230 South LaSalle St., Suite 7-500, Chicago, IL 60604; 800-621-7440). The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) continued the accreditation of Harding in 2015 with the next reaffirmation of accreditation in 2024-25. HLC accreditation assures quality by verifying that an institution meets standards and is engaged in continuous improvement. The HLC Criteria for Accreditation reflect a set of guiding values and are the standards by which HLC determines whether an institution merits accreditation or reaffirmation of accreditation.  The University is committed to continuous improvement and the aligning of the Strategic Plan with the Criteria for Accreditation and their core components.

The institution’s mission is clear and articulated publicly; it guides the institution operations

The institution acts with integrity; its conduct is ethical and responsible.

The institution provides high quality education, wherever and however its offerings are delivered.

The institution demonstrates responsibility for the quality of its educational programs, learning environments, and support services, and it evaluates their effectiveness for student learning through processes designed to promote continuous improvement.

The institution’s resources, structures and processes are sufficient to fulfill its mission, improve the quality of its educational offerings, and respond to future challenges and opportunities. The institution plans for the future.

Institutional Priorities

Six Institutional Priorities are derived from the Mission, Motto and Spiritual Vision (collectively the Mission Documents) and guided by the HLC Criteria for Accreditation. Strategic Initiatives, which reflect these Institutional Priorities, have been developed within the major divisions of the University. Action Steps are specific tasks to be accomplished in order for the Strategic Initiatives-and thus the Institutional Priorities, HLC Criteria and Mission-to be realized.

  1. Harding University is committed to providing a transformative Christ-centered university educational experience for all students.
  2. Harding University is committed to being a vibrant and excellent academic community.
  3. Harding University is committed to liberal arts education as the best preparation both for a lifetime of learning and for a lifetime of employment in a rapidly changing workplace.
  4. Harding University is committed to becoming an increasingly more diverse community that inspires a Christ-like understanding and respect for all people and prepares students to live in a global community.
  5. Harding University is committed to strong fiscal stewardship with an emphasis on affordability for students.
  6. Harding University is committed to the ongoing process of developing policies, organization and governance structures that are needed for a university of increasing size and complexity.

Strategic Initiatives with Action Steps