Shorter University (formerly Shorter College) is a private, coeducational, liberal arts university based in Rome, Georgia, “ranked the number one small city in the Southeast.” Founded in 1873 as the Cherokee Baptist Female Seminary, the Christian university has been affiliated with the Georgia Baptist Convention since the 1950s. On June 1, 2010, Shorter College changed its name to Shorter University to reflect the institution’s growth and expansion.
Maribeth Fulwider, Class of 2012, says, “When I was looking for a college, I wasn’t looking for a big school where I would feel like I didn’t belong. I wanted a school I knew I could call my home away from home. The first moment I walked on the Shorter campus I knew this was where I wanted to be. Shorter is not just a place where I take classes – it’s my home! Shorter’s faculty and staff treat you like family.”
In this age when most Christian institutions are bowing to pressures to move away from Biblical standards, it’s refreshing to see one that is moving in the other direction. Since 2005, Shorter has been in the process of defining what it means to be a Christ-centered institution. Seeing the moral direction of the nation, the college is now requiring that its faculty and staff sign a “Personal Lifestyle Statement” that includes the following:
“I will be loyal to the mission of Shorter University as a Christ-centered institution affiliated with the Georgia Baptist Convention. I will not engage in the use, sale, possession, or production of illegal drugs. I reject as acceptable all sexual activity not in agreement with the Bible, including, but not limited to, premarital sex, adultery, and homosexuality.” As per the Baptist convention, there are also prohibitions against drinking alcohol in public, and employees “are expected to be active members of a local church.”
President Don Dowless explained, “We have a right to hire only Christians…. It’s really unreasonable not to expect a Christian university to promote Christian values.” After all, faculty and staff are in positions of responsibility and authority in relation to students and need to be an effective witness – to “practice what they preach.” According to Belle Wheelan, president of the Southern Association of Schools and Colleges (SACS), “[Shorter] can do that. They’re a private college and it’s part of their mission.”
As of May 18, 2012, reports indicated that nearly sixty out of the two hundred employees at Shorter University decided to leave the educational institution rather than sign the statement. Others have left for different reasons. Richard Pirkle, Assistant Professor of Biology, stated in his resignation letter: “I am disappointed with being forced to teach Creationism or Intelligent Design (both of which are philosophical and religious beliefs) in addition to being forced to teach evolution as ‘just a theory.’” Nevertheless, the changes in faculty mean that Shorter will now have an even stronger Christian identity and biblical worldview.
Shorter University consists of seven colleges and schools offering bachelor’s degrees in 30 fields of study as well as some master’s degrees. Shorter has a current enrollment of 3,500 traditional and non-traditional students. The 155-acre main campus is located in Rome which is 72 miles northwest of Atlanta, in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. In addition, there are adult education and graduate programs at distance learning facilities in Duluth, North Atlanta, and Riverdale. Shorter also operates the Robert H. Ledbetter College of Business and the School of Nursing at off-campus facilities in the Rome area.
There is always something fun and interesting happening at Shorter. The university offers a large number of extracurricular activities including over 35 student organizations, 21 athletic teams, intramural events (dodgeball and basketball tournaments), theatrical productions, vocal ensembles, honor societies, ministries, media organizations, as well as fraternities and sororities. The majority of Shorter’s students are from Georgia, with only 6% of student enrollment coming from out-of-state and an additional 3% as international students.
Shorter is open to homeschool students who have received all or part of their secondary schooling at home and thus do not have a traditional college preparatory high school diploma. A home-school applicant must submit the following portfolio: 1.) A completed Shorter University application with $25 application fee. 2.) Transcripts, which list all classes taken as high school courses, including numeric grades if possible. 3.) An official SAT or ACT score report. Additional information may be required at the discretion of the admissions staff or committee.
High school transcript requirements include a minimum of 16 academic units, distributed as follows: English – 4 Units; Mathematics – 4 Units (Algebra I & II, Geometry, an advanced math beyond Algebra II); History/Social Science – 3 Units; Science – 3 Units; and Foreign Language – 2 Units. An academic grade-point average is computed as follows: A’s receive 4 points, B’s receive 3 points, C’s receive 2 points, and D’s receive 1 point with 0 points given for F’s.
Shorter University has a designated homeschool admissions representative. His name is Larry D. Arrington, Jr. – Assistant Director of Admissions. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-800-868-6980, Ext.7230. For more information about Shorter University, visit http://www.shorter.edu