Distinctively-Driven: Our Why

Rivers Brunson Experience, Spring 2018

Fame, money, success – to most of the world, these are the idols to seek. They are the reason many university students see a higher GPA as Getting Paid Assurance, their ticket to six-figure careers and notoriety.

A high GPA at University of Mobile means so much more, because it never stands alone.

UM’s combination of Academically-Focused courses, Student-Devoted faculty and staff, and a Christ-Centered worldview provide a culture of excellence that is God-glorifying and others-minded. It is a Distinctively-Driven institution.

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made
On day one, students are ushered into Freshman Seminar, a course that helps to level the academic playing field, as they are mentored in everything from study skills to budgeting, and selecting a major and career. Each student is required to complete the Clifton Strengths for Students Inventory, which is a personality assessment that yields the participant’s five primary strengths. Brenda Davis, assistant director of First Year Experience, is the campus cheerleader for the Strengths Inventory.

“We want to capitalize on their strengths and help them understand how that can help them as they look toward careers,” she says. “But it also helps them understand who they are as students, as leaders, as friends, and as members of their individual networks.”

By knowing their strengths, students are able to pursue the major and career for which God made them “fearfully and wonderfully.”

A Study in Service
Students have a welcome respite from the packed four-day class schedules in the form of Focus Fridays, and they spend them in a plethora of ways. Around the mid-terms, study areas are typically packed out on Fridays. Of course, when the weather is nice, you may find students blowing off steam on the new disc golf course on campus.

This year, each residence hall has partnered with a non-profit organization in Mobile County to provide volunteer support throughout the school year. Light of the Village, Home of Grace and Feeding the Gulf Coast are a few organizations with a spike in volunteers on Fridays. Just as students are led to engage in service on Focus Fridays, they are always encouraged to think of ways to serve in their future careers.

“Faith at Work” is a series of panel discussions hosted by Dr. Todd Greer, dean of the School of Business, which features local professionals in secular fields who live out their faith on a daily basis.

“All too often, Christians view life with the lens that creates a separation between the sacred and the secular. We talk about our work self, our family self, our church self,” Greer points out. “In turn, we exalt the importance of the work of the pastor or missionary as being higher than the painter or mathematician.” The series, he hopes, will shine a light on opportunities available in any career path to impact the world for Christ.

The Driving Force
University of Mobile’s “greatest level of responsibility,” according to president Timothy L. Smith, is to “mentor the student… to serve Christ in a unique way.”

This responsibility is the driving force of this great institution. It informs every aspect of its culture – from the first day to the last, the days off, and the days to come.

It is why University of Mobile is distinctively driven by the priorities of glorifying God and serving people

About the Author
Rivers Brunson

Rivers Brunson

Rivers is an experienced writer and an alumna of University of Mobile. She graduated in 2015 and holds a Bachelor of Science in Communication. She returned to University of Mobile professionally as marketing communications specialist in 2017. She also hosts a podcast with Bellum Creative Group called Due South about Southern arts and culture. A Grove Hill, Alabama native, Rivers fell in love with the city of Mobile as an undergraduate student and now calls it home; however she takes frequent trips to see her family who are NAMB church planters in Livingston, Montana. She has a lovable golden retriever named Cooper.