Institutional Information

CMU at a Glance
Location & History
Values, Mission, & Educational Goals
CMU's Guiding Vision Statement & the University Learning Principles
Creed for CMU
United Methodist Heritage


CMU at a Glance

Central Methodist University provides a broad range of undergraduate liberal arts and professional education programs. It is co-educational, private, and church-related, and its Fayette campus is largely residential. The College of Graduate and Extended Studies (CGES) has locations throughout the state of Missouri. CMU also offers the Master of Education degree, the Master of Music Education degree, the Master of Science in Clinical Counseling, and the Master of Science in Nursing.

  • Founded in 1854 and affiliated with the United Methodist Church
  • Governed by a 39-member self-perpetuating Board of Trustees
  • Fifteen-to-one student/faculty ratio; class sizes average 21 students 

Location & History

The home campus of Central Methodist University is located in historic Fayette, MO, midway between St. Louis and Kansas City, a region of exceptional natural beauty. The ninety-four acre campus is distinguished by its majestic shade and ornamental trees and is designated a National Historic District. Officially authorized to operate as Central College in March 1855, by the legislature of the State of Missouri, the College had antecedents as far back as 1841 when the Methodist Episcopal Church South operated Howard High School on the present site. Classes began at Central College in 1857.

Efforts to unify the educational interests of the church in Missouri led to the absorption of Howard-Payne College by Central College in 1922. This merger was quickly followed by the concentration of all educational interests of the Methodist Episcopal Church South in Missouri, in Central College. Following this plan, the Central College for Women at Lexington, Scarritt-Morrisville College at Morrisville, and Marvin College at Fredericktown were closed in 1924-25, and Central College acquired their assets.

In 1939, with the merger of the Methodist Episcopal Church, the Methodist Episcopal Church South, and the Methodist Protestant Church, Central College was designated as the one undergraduate educational institution in Missouri for what later became the United Methodist Church. In 1961, the Board of Curators changed the College's name from Central to Central Methodist College. 

In 1989, Central Methodist College, in cooperation with Mineral Area College in Park Hills, Missouri, began baccalaureate degree completion programs which afford opportunities for citizens of that region, who have completed their AA degree (or who have 60 hours of college credit), to earn a bachelor's degree. In 1994, Central Methodist College, in cooperation with East Central College in Union, Missouri, began baccalaureate degree completion programs at ECC so that citizens of that region could earn a bachelor's degree. In 1996 the College began offering the Master of Education degree on all three campuses. Since that time, CMU has established partnerships with State Fair Community College (SFCC), Three Rivers College (TRC), and other corporate partners. 

In May 2004, the Central Methodist University Board of Trustees voted to change the name of the institution to Central Methodist University. This name change recognized the growth in graduate and extended studies programs and more appropriately describes the Central Methodist University of the 21st century. 

Values, Mission, and Educational Goals 

Who we Are

Central Methodist University is known for its high quality undergraduate and graduate educational programs, its values-centered learning experiences and longstanding church relationship, its strong liberal arts tradition, its emphasis on character and leadership development, and the success of its graduates through their further educational and professional pursuits.  Characterized by academic excellence and proactive, personalized student services, programs are offered in Fayette and statewide via distance learning technologies as well as through partnerships with schools, churches, hospitals, and other institutions of higher education. 

Values 

Central Methodist University affirms its Wesleyan heritage and its unique place as the only United Methodist-related University in Missouri. The location of its main campus in a small, historic, rural community provides an opportunity for students to live and to learn in a safe setting. The University values its strong liberal arts. CMU and its outreach activities foster a tradition, providing a foundation for excellent professional programs environment in which a diverse student body can develop intellectually, socially, and spiritually. University life emphasizes honesty, integrity, civility, and a strong sense of personal responsibility as integral elements of character and leadership. Central Methodist University nurtures a spirit of community and caring among students, faculty, and staff. 

Mission 

Central Methodist University prepares students to make a difference in the world by emphasizing academic and professional excellence, ethical leadership, and social responsibility. 

Statement on Civility (from CMU Creed) 

Civility is upholding the values of respect, kindness, and diplomacy in our direct and indirect interactions with others. Diversity is recognizing differences between people and perceiving these differences as an asset to the community 

CMU's Guiding Vision Statement and the University Learning Principles 

Central Methodist University will be recognized and valued as an institution delivering distinctive academic programs of excellence, nested within a robust and supportive campus environment, preparing students for making a living and living a life. 

To ensure that educational experiences at CMU engender the ideals incorporated in the mission and vision statements, the faculty, administration, and trustees adopted new university wide learning principles and associated outcomes in the Spring of 2016.  Six of the nine outcomes will be used to assess the general education program (the first two outcomes listed for each principle).  The remaining higher order outcome will be assessed at the senior, graduating student level.  

Communication (articulate, multimodal, professional)  
  1. Students are articulate, able to speak and write clearly and effectively. 
  2. Students are multimodal, able to interpret and express ideas through multiple modes of communication. 
  3. Students are professional, able to adapt to and interact with others in a confident, responsible, and engaged manner.  
Curiosity (discover, analyze, create)  
  1. Students can discover, explore, and seek solutions based on accumulated knowledge and current research.
  2. Students can analyze, evaluate, interpret, and summarize data.
  3. Students can create and innovate using critical thinking and collaborative skills.  
Community (serve, respect, lead) 
  1. Students will serve others and be ethical, informed citizens.
  2. Students will understand and respect diversity, including others' viewpoints, positions, and beliefs.
  3. Students will lead creatively and collaboratively to produce positive changes in the broader world.  

Creed for CMU 

The Central Methodist University community, consistent with its United Methodist heritage, strives for academic excellence, individual achievement, and social responsibility. As members of that community we believe in: 

seeking knowledge, truth, and wisdom 

  • Knowledge refers to the accumulation of facts or ideas. But mere knowledge of facts cannot inform us as to what constitutes the truth. To seek truth means to go beyond the simple facts; it requires that we recognize that facts alone cannot determine what is good or just, that we must be open to other ways of seeking and knowing truth. Habits of the mind should move us beyond knowledge towards wisdom, which requires an understanding that decisions and actions should be based on both knowledge and the will to do good. 

valuing freedom, honesty, civility, and diversity

  • For the academic enterprise to be successful there must be the free, open, and civil exchange of diverse ideas, opinions and information. Ideas and opinions must be shared and compared in order for the best to emerge. Learning is the heart of the academic enterprise and it is only possible when all parties assume the responsibilities appropriate to their roles. Academic integrity consists of the accurate depiction of the actual work or performance of any person. Academic integrity and academic honesty require that each person accept the obligation to be truthful in all academic endeavors. Civility is upholding the values of respect, kindness, and diplomacy in our direct and indirect interactions with others.   Diversity is recognizing differences between people and perceiving these differences as an asset to the community. 

living lives of service and leadership and 

  • The uniting of knowledge and active faith is a cornerstone of Wesleyan tradition. Academic excellence coupled with acts of kindness and service to the local and global community are indicators of character development on the CMU campus. There are many styles of leadership. Servant leadership, as exemplified in the life of Jesus, is a model for the CMU community.
taking responsibility for ourselves and the communities in which we live. 
  • Being a part of CMU affects not only ourselves, but also the community in which we live. We must all be responsible for our actions and their consequences, but we should also be dedicated to one another. As individuals and as a community we must demonstrate responsible life choices with a deep concern for the common good.

United Methodist Heritage

"Unite the pair so long disjoined, knowledge and vital piety." These words from Charles Wesley provide the basis for (United) Methodism's involvement in higher education. John Wesley, Charles' older brother and the founder of Methodism, was the catalyst for uniting religious studies with the traditional liberal arts since John and Charles had grown up in an environment that stressed both religious and traditional educational formation. Thus the Wesleyan heritage has from the beginning incorporated both the religious and the liberal arts aspects of education.

When Jesus was questioned by a young lawyer as to what was the greatest commandment in the law, Jesus answered, "Love the Lord with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind...and You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Matthew 22:37,39).

To love God with one's mind implies an intellectual love of God. It has always been the nature of the church to express itself through this form of love and worship of God. It is from this understanding that the Methodist Church launched its involvement in higher education on December 24, 1784, at the Christmas Conference in Baltimore, Maryland. The newly formed Methodist Church passed a resolution authorizing the establishment of Cokesbury College in Abingdon, Maryland. This event marked the beginning of a commitment to higher education by the church that has continued for over 200 years. Since that time more than 1,500 academies, colleges, and universities have been established by the (United) Methodist Church. In those years some have closed, some have merged with other colleges, and some have become state-supported institutions. Today in America there are 123 colleges, universities, and schools related to the United Methodist Church.

On April 13, 1853, Central Methodist University was founded by Nathan Scarritt and David Rice McAnally. The University was chartered on March 15, 1855, and the first classes were held September 18, 1857, with one building on one acre of ground, 144 students, and 3 faculty members. In what was to become a prophetic statement, Nathan Scarritt said, "Let our motto be, One Methodist College in Missouri, and Only One." Over the years eight other Methodist colleges and over 100 other schools were established in Missouri. Today the words of Scarritt have come to fruition. There is only one United Methodist-related university in the State of Missouri, Central Methodist University.

Throughout two centuries of church-related higher education, our "Wesleyan tradition has endeavored to avoid narrow sectarianism" (A College-Related Church by the National Commission on United Methodist Higher Education). That is, United Methodist institutions are committed to values-centered inquiry, critical thinking, and a liberal arts curriculum. The (United) Methodist Church has stressed five major concepts that have been the basis for the church to continue its support and involvement in higher education. Our Wesleyan heritage and traditions are defined by these five concepts

  1. Education should be available to all people regardless of social standing, ethnic identity, or gender.
  2. Education should appropriately relate faith and reason.
  3. Education should help individuals make full use of their capabilities and experience for service.
  4. Liberal and classical learning is critical, as well as professional and vocational training. Neither is subservient to the other.
  5. Education should aim at high standards of student achievement based on deep concern for what is best for the person (from To Give the Key of Knowledge by the National Commission on United Methodist Higher Education).

Today there are new issues and challenges facing all levels of education. The over 200-year tradition of the United Methodist Church and what it believes vital in education continue to inform the current policy of church-related higher education. The United Methodist Church is involved in higher education because it is the nature of the church to express itself in the intellectual love of God. The Wesleyan heritage has supported the ideal of uniting knowledge and vital piety within a diverse community from the beginning. This nature and this ideal are clearly reflected in the statements of values, mission, and educational goals of Central Methodist University.

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