Amridge University is an accredited, coeducational, non-profit, private university affiliated with the Churches of Christ with its main campus in Montgomery, Alabama. It was previously known as Alabama Christian School of Religion, Southern Christian University, and Regions University, and is a successor institution to Alabama Christian College.
|Motto||"Where Traditional and Online Education Merge"|
|Affiliation||Churches of Christ|
|President||Michael Clark Turner, DO|
|Campus||Urban, 9 acres (0.036 km2)|
Founded in 1967 as the Alabama Christian School of Religion, its primary function historically has been as a theological seminary to train ministers in Bible and Christian Counseling. However, Amridge has expanded its curricula to other degrees. Seminary training offered by the Turner School of Theology, named in honor of founder Rex Allwin Turner, Sr. and his wife Opal Shipp Turner, continues to be a core undertaking, with all levels of ministry and theological degrees available.
Key institutional events
- 1942 Montgomery Bible School, founded by Rex Allwin Turner, Sr., Calvin Leonard Johnson, and Joseph B. "Joe" Greer, offered both high school and first year college courses, and became a junior college with an elementary and secondary department
- 1949 Expanded curricula to include a third year of Bible and related courses
- 1953 Granted first baccalaureate degrees
- 1954 Institution's name changed to Alabama Christian College
- 1966 Discontinued upper‑level program in religious studies to satisfy accreditation requirements as a junior college
- High school department became Alabama Christian Academy , a regionally accredited elementary and secondary school
- Junior college department became what today is Faulkner University
- 1967 Alabama Christian School of Religion founded to assume the upper-level program, offering classes in the new facilities of the College Church of Christ at 5315 Atlanta Highway
- 1972 Expanded curricula to include graduate degree programs
- 1974 Moved to new property jointly purchased with the Landmark Church of Christ at 6020 Atlanta Highway
- 1977 Expanded curricula to include a three‑year graduate program offering the Master of Theology degree
- 1985 Applied for accredited membership in the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
- 1988 Replaced the Master of Theology degree to conform to standard nomenclature and practice with the Master of Divinity degree, generally recognized as the first professional degree in ministry
- 1987 Sold its interest in the jointly owned property to the Landmark Church of Christ and built its own new campus on 9 acres (36,000 m2) of land on Interstate 85 alongside Auburn University at Montgomery. The School of Religion moved to this new campus at 1200 Taylor Road that summer.
- 1989 Received accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to grant degrees at the bachelor's and master's levels
- 1991 Institution's name changed to Southern Christian University to reflect the widened geographical area served by the institution and emphasized the academic level and the emerging direction of the institution
- 1992 Expanded curricula by adding the Doctor of Ministry degree and the distance-learning program
- 1994 Reaffirmation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools including the two aforementioned substantive changes
- 1994 Changes in Alabama state licensure law in Family Therapy grandfathered the institution to permit reconfiguration of its counseling program
- 1999 Selected by the US Department of Education to help pilot the Distance Education Demonstration Program
- 2002 Purchased 185 acres (0.75 km2) of land alongside Interstate 85, located 15 miles (24 km) from the main campus to accommodate future growth
- 2003 Southern Association of Colleges and Schools approved Doctor of Philosophy in Family Therapy degree program
- 2005 Decadal reaffirmation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools including the following substantive changes in its curricula
- Bachelor of Science in Business Administration – General Business
- Bachelor of Science in Business Administration – Information Communication
- Bachelor of Science in Business Administration – Information Systems Management
- Doctor of Philosophy in Biblical Studies degree
- 2006 Southern Association of Colleges and Schools approved Associate of Arts degree program
- 2006 Institution's name changed to Regions University
- 2008 Institution's name changed to Amridge University
- Amridge University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097; Telephone number 404.679.4501) to award Associate of Arts, Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Master of Arts, Master of Science, Master of Divinity, Doctor of Ministry, and Doctor of Philosophy degrees.
- The Alabama Department of Postsecondary Education has authorized Amridge University to operate a private school pursuant to the Alabama Private School License Law
- The Tennessee Higher Education Commission has authorized Amridge University, which must be renewed each year and is based on an evaluation by minimum standards concerning quality of education, ethical business practices, health and safety, and fiscal responsibility
- Amridge University's Turner School of Theology is a Candidate for Accredited Status with the Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) in the United States and Canada (10 Summit Park Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15275-1110; phone: 412.788.6505; website: www.ats.edu). The following degree programs are approved by the Commission on Accrediting: Master of Arts (MA), Master of Divinity (MDiv), Doctor of Ministry (DMin), and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD).
- Amridge University is authorized under federal law to enroll nonimmigrant students
Programs of study
In keeping with its Christian heritage, Amridge University provides educational opportunities through five schools; these are: the College of Business and Leadership, the College of General Studies, the School of Human Services, the Turner School of Theology, and the School of Continuing Education.
The institution's main campus in Montgomery, Alabama lies alongside Auburn University Montgomery just north of Interstate 85 at the Taylor Road exit. The campus consists of a single two-story complex, the Morgan W. Brown Building, that houses classrooms and the library on the ground floor and administrative offices upstairs. Classrooms are equipped with extensive multimedia equipment to allow live Internet streaming of instruction and lecture. Instructors can also transmit computer data, video, or still pictures. Each student's desk has a computer workstation. There is building-wide Wi-Fi access.
The Amridge University library features a large collection of religious books and theological reference works. It holds 80,000 titles, 1,200 serial subscriptions, and 800 audiovisual materials. The library is linked with other libraries across the US to ensure availability of books that may be borrowed through interlibrary lending. Its card catalog is accessible for online searching by students, faculty, and staff.
On August 2, 2006, Southern Christian University's board of regents voted to change the institution's name to Regions University. They expected this would enhance the institution's opportunities, complementing its purpose and vision while expanding its scope of educational and religious heritage to all the regions of the world. The name change, however, sparked a civil lawsuit by Regions Financial Corporation filed on September 29, 2006 for trademark infringement. Consequently, on January 31, 2008, the board of regents resolved to change the institution's name again, this time to Amridge University, preserving its mission and vision to expand its operations worldwide.
In 2007, a former student sued Amridge University and its board of directors, alleging that they breached an implied contract to provide her with a complete education and that they discriminated against her because of her religion. The university filed a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. In July 2007, a district court in Delaware granted Amridge's motion to dismiss the complaint. An appeal by the student was later turned down by the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in August 2008.
The Appeals court agreed that this case should have a change of venue to the former student's home state. In 2008/2009, the student brought the case to her home state's courts with an Amended Complaint filed as recently as January 21, 2010 by her attorney. On June 22, 2012 (filed June 25, 2012) the Court granted summary judgment to the University, finding insufficient merit for the Plaintiff's complaints, and ordered the case closed.
- Adkins, R. M. (1998). The differences in students' perception of learning between extended learning program students and on-campus students at Southern Christian University. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Auburn University, Auburn, AL.
- Carnevale, D. (2002). Questions linger over rise and fall of online program. Chronicle of Higher Education, 48(21), A27.
- Clifford, A. C. (2007). Focus on teachers: Shaping professionally and becoming technology integrators. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Memphis, Memphis, TN.
- McQueen, A., & Wright, S. W. (1999). Distance learning just got a little easier. Community College Week, 11(24), 28.
- Peterson's (2004). Guide to four-year colleges 2005. pp. 2404–2405. Lawrenceville, NJ: Nelnet. ISBN 0-7689-1379-9.
- Smith, N. C., & Jackson, J. F. L. (2004). Religious institutions in the United States: Research challenges. New Directions for Institutional Research, 2004(124), 31-48.
- Turner, Rex A. (1972). Sermons and addresses on the fundamentals of the faith. Montgomery, AL: Alabama Christian College. ISBN 0-913586-04-8.
- Turner, Rex A. (1977). A study of the present status of faculty tenure as perceived by boards, administrators, and faculty of public universities in Alabama with projections and implications for the future. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL.
- Waller, S., & Waller, L. (2004). Higher education doctoral degrees of certain American clergy: Ethics and antics. Christian Higher Education, 3(2), 171-183.
- Woodrow, J. (2004). Institutional image: Secular and marketing influences on Christian higher education. Christian Higher Education, 3(2), 115-125.
- Foster, D. A., Blowers, P. M., Dunnavant, A. L., & Williams, D. W. (Eds.; 2005). The encyclopedia of the Stone-Campbell Movement. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing. p. 333. ISBN 0-8028-3898-7.
- Martin, V. D. W. (1999). Colleges picked for project on aid to distance-learning students. Chronicle of Higher Education, 45(44), A34.
- Peterson's (2007). Colleges in the South 2008. p. 52. Lawrenceville, NJ: Nelnet. ISBN 0-7689-2419-7.
- Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority – Alabama (2006). Southern Christian changes name to Regions. Counselor Connection, 10(1). 2. Retrieved April 29, 2008, from http://www.kheaa.org/pdf/cc/al/alccX1.pdf.
- Regions Asset Company, Plaintiff v. Regions University, Inc., Defendant. Civ. No. 2:2006cv00882. Alabama Middle District Court.
- Clifton, M. (2008, February 6). Regions University undergoes name change. BrotherhoodNews.com. Retrieved April 29, 2008, from http://gospelnews.wordpress.com/2008/02/06/regions-university-undergoes-name-change/ Archived 2008-04-19 at the Wayback Machine.
- JKloth v. Southern Christian University, et al., Civ. No. 06-244-SLR, US District Court for the District of Delaware, July 16, 2007
- Kloth v. Southern Christian University, et al., Consolidated Appeals Nos. 07-3376, 07-4598, US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, August 5, 2008