University of the West

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University of the West
University of the West logo.png
Established 1990
Type Private
Religious affiliation Fo Guang Shan
President Stephen Morgan, Ed.D.
Students 355 enrollment (based on headcount at end of fall 2013)
Location Rosemead, California, USA
Campus 10 acres (4 ha)
Colors Burgundy/Gold
Nickname UWest
Affiliations Western Association of Schools and Colleges
Website www.uwest.edu

University of the West (commonly known as UWest) is a private, not-for-profit, university located in Rosemead, California. It was founded in 1990[1] by Venerable Master Hsing Yun,[2] founder of the Taiwan-based Buddhist order Fo Guang Shan[2] and Hsi Lai Temple,[2] the North American order headquarters. The school offered its first class in spring of 1991.

UWest is a private, non profit school[3] accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.[3] Although founded by a Buddhist organization, UWest is not a Buddhist college, which is a term typically used for monasteries or schools that train people for the monastic order. University of the West is an accredited undergraduate and advanced degree-granting institution.[citation needed]

UWest students are not required to subscribe to the Buddhist faith or practice Buddhism in any form. Indeed, UWest's undergraduate and graduate programs in Business Administration garner higher enrollment numbers than its undergraduate and graduate programs in Religious Studies.

History[edit]

View of campus

The university, then known as Hsi Lai University (Chinese: 西來大學; pinyin: Xi lái dà xué) started in a small classroom in Hsi Lai Temple, the North American head branch of the Fo Guang Shan order. In its first semester (1991) the school had only four professors and a student body of around 30 students made up of monks and nuns from the temple. Early instructors were Dr. Roger Schmidt, Dr. Dan Lusthaus, Dr. Jim Santucci (now chair of the Department of Comparative Religion at California State University, Fullerton), and Dr. Lewis Lancaster, an eminent Western scholar of Buddhism, a former UWest president and now Chair Emeritus at University of California, Berkeley. Over the years, each of those original professors have returned to the UWest campus to teach or act in administrative roles (or both).

In 1996, Fo Guang Shan purchased a property at 1409 Walnut Grove Ave. in Rosemead, California, a multicultural suburb of the San Gabriel Valley, approximately ten miles east of downtown Los Angeles. The campus belonged to Biola University at the time and was the site of Biola's seminary school. According to Dr. Jim Chen, a UWest professor of accounting and one of the original negotiators of the property purchase, the Christian-based Biola organization was reluctant to sell the property to a Buddhist organization. After a tussle, the property was successfully purchased.

At that time, the university decided to pursue accreditation while also adding additional programs to its offerings. Undergraduate and advanced degrees in business, English, psychology, history, philosophy, Chinese language, and comparative religious studies were added. An English as a Second Language program was also established, given the international character of students attracted to the school. The degree programs in history, philosophy, Chinese language, and the bachelor of arts in Buddhist studies, are no longer offered, however they remain accredited should the university revisit them in the future.

The accreditation process took approximately 10 years to complete, with former Dean of Academic Affairs and noted Buddhist scholar Dr. Ananda Guruge steering the drive for WASC recognition. Accreditation was granted in February, 2006.[citation needed] Shortly thereafter a drive to attract American students to the campus was initiated. As of 2014, approximately 40% of the student body are American citizens or permanent residents.

Board of Trustee[edit]

Overall governance of the University lies in the hands of its 15-member Board of Trustees. The Trustees select the President, oversee all faculty and senior administrative appointments, monitor the budget, supervise the endowment, and protect University property.

By-Laws of the Trustees[edit]

The By-Laws of the Trustees specify the rules by which the Trustees operate. The By-Laws set the schedule of Trustee meetings. The role and powers of the Trustees’ Standing Committees are stated in the By-Laws.

Presidents of University of the West[edit]

Dr. Stephen Morgan was named president of University of the West in 2013. Morgan was formerly the 26-year president of University of La Verne.

Past presidents include:

  • Hsing Yun (1990–1998)
  • Dr. Naichen Chen (1998-2004)
  • Dr. Lewis Lancaster (2004-2006)
  • Roger Schmidt (2004–2007)
  • Dr. Allen Huang (2007-2009)
  • Chack-Fan Lee (2009-2010)
  • Dr. Chin-Shun Wu (2010-2013)
  • Dr. Stephen Morgan (2013-present)

Dr. Stephen Morgan is President and Professor of Higher Education Emeritus at the University of La Verne in southern California. Dr. Morgan served as President of the University of La Verne for twenty six years, retiring from that position in 2011. Prior to the presidency, Dr. Morgan served as Executive Director of the Independent Colleges of Northern California (1979-1985), Director of Development at the University of Southern California (1976-1979) and in a variety of positions, including Vice President for Development, at the University of La Verne (1968-1976).

Dr. Morgan is a former member and Vice Chair of the Senior Accrediting Commission of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and has served as the chair of numerous accreditation teams throughout California. He also served for more than twenty years on the Executive Committee of the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities and is a former chair of that state-wide organization. Dr. Morgan served as a Director of the Independent Colleges of Southern California. During his presidency, Dr. Morgan was recognized by the Western Region of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education as the CEO of The Year.

In addition to his professional memberships, Dr. Morgan has been an active leader in the southern California community. He served as a Director and Chair of the Board of the Los Angeles County Fair Association, Director and Chair of the Board of the Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center and Director and Chair of the Board of the LeRoy Haynes Children’s Center. Dr. Morgan currently serves as a Director of Bright Prospect, an organization that prepares first generation and minority students for college, and he serves as a Director and Chair of the Board of My Own Business, Inc., a not-for-profit organization that offers training for those who wish to start their own business. Dr. Morgan is a Director and Chair of the Board of Hillcrest, a full service retirement community serving more than four hundred residents in La Verne, Ca..

Dr. Morgan earned a B.A from the University of La Verne, an M.S from the University of Southern California and an Ed.D. from the University of Northern Colorado.

Mission[edit]

The mission of University of the West is To provide quality educational experiences to a diverse community in the context of the Buddhist values of excellence, responsibility, compassion, peace and harmony.

  • Educate students in a context informed by Buddhist wisdom and values.
  • Facilitate cultural understanding and appreciation between East and West.

Academic programs[edit]

UWest currently offers degrees in the following majors:

Department of Business Administration:

  • Bachelor's in Business Administration - with concentrations in Marketing; Accounting; Computer Information Systems; and International Business.
  • Master's in Business Administration - with concentrations in Computer Information Systems; International Business; Finance; and Non Profit Organization Management.
  • Executive MBA (EMBA) - for managers and executives.

Department of Religious Studies:

  • In fall semester 2010, University of the West no longer admits students to its Bachelor of Arts in Buddhist Studies program.
  • Master's in Religious Studies - with concentrations in Comparative Religious Studies and Buddhist Studies.
  • Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Religious Studies with emphasis in Comparative Religious Studies and Buddhist Studies.
  • Master of Divintiy (Buddhist chaplain training program)

Department of Languages:

  • Bachelor's in English.
  • English as a Second Language (ESL) program

UWest also offers courses in Biblical Hebrew, Sanskrit, Pali, Canonical Chinese, and Tibetan. Graduate students in the Religious Studies Program are required to take 6 units from one of the languages just mentioned. Students already fluent in these languages can waive this requirement if they pass a written test.

Department of Psychology:

  • Bachelor's in Psychology.
  • Master's in Psychology with concentrations in Buddhist Psychology and Multicultural Counseling Psychology.

English as a Second Language:

  • A certificate program designed to prepare speakers of English as a Second Language for college-level English skills. While conversational English is taught in the program, the focus is on preparation for college-level academics taught in English.

Academic English Bridge Program:

  • An English remediation program for students above ESL, but not quite ready for college-level English.

Program for American Cultural Exchange (PACE):

  • Short-term programs for international visitors, typically focusing on English-language training and/or the development of American business knowledge and skills.

Enrollment[edit]

UWest enrollment stood at 348 students as of the spring 2014 semester. The campus has seen a significant growth in population since accreditation in 2006. The student body is still primarily international in character, however as of fall 2014 approximately 40 percent of the student body were U.S. citizens or permanent residents, primarily from the Los Angeles area. Aside from U.S. students, the student body is made up of students from about 50 countries.

Research centers[edit]

  • The Center for the Study of Minority and Small Business (CSMSB)
  • Institute for Chinese Buddhist Studies[4]
  • Digital Sanskrit Buddhist Canon[5]

Accreditation[edit]

UWest was accredited in February, 2006, by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)[1]. The university has a membership status in the WASC. This means that the degrees and courses currently supported by the university will transfer to other universities with regional or national accreditations.

Financial Aid[edit]

UWest is authorized by the U.S. Department of Education to disburse Federal Financial Aid. Other financial aid options include the Stafford Loan, Plus Loan, Pell Grants, Perkins Loan Program, etc. UWest also offers institutional financial aid, such as scholarships, tuition waivers and tuitionships (a form of work study) to students who qualify.

Facilities[edit]

University of the West consists of three main buildings, two Residence Halls and an auditiorium on an 11-acre (4.5 ha), hilltop campus.

The lower floor of the Administration Building offers services such as Student Life, Financial Aid, Admissions, etc. The upper floor features classrooms, an Investment Lab for business students, and the offices of the president. The Administration Building underwent a major modernization from 2003 to 2012.

The three-story Education Building houses the library, Kenneth A. Locke Hall, IT services, classrooms, academic departments, professors' offices, the Student Success Center and the Extended Studies offices. The building was modernized in 2003-2012.

The recreation building at the top of the campus hosts the cafeteria, cafe, gym, game room and student kitchen.

Notable faculty and alumni[edit]

Fo Guang Shan Universities[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Welcome to the University of the West
  2. ^ a b c Our Founder
  3. ^ a b Mission Statement
  4. ^ University of the West. "Institute of Chinese Buddhist Studies". Retrieved 2013. 
  5. ^ University of the West. "Digital Sanskrit Buddhist Canon". Retrieved 6 April 2013. 

External links[edit]