The Omega Graduate School Program arose as an innovative interdisciplinary research institution in the early 1980’s. Since its beginning, Omega Graduate School has been committed to providing a quality educational experience for working adults. The Graduate School has awarded a Master of Letters degree focusing on Family Life Education or Organizational Leadership and a Doctor of Philosophy degree focusing on the family, community, and the church to numerous graduates. Students have sought to achieve the academic goal of integrating religion and society.
The founders recognized the need for adults to advance in their fields by researching contemporary problems and reporting their findings in a way that contributed to the body of literature related to their work. The curriculum of the school was designed to provide an educational experience which combined rigorous academic standards with a Christian perspective. The goal of the program was to use modern research methodology to investigate concerns and to propose possible problem solutions. Dr. Hollis Green, the founder of Omega Graduate School, served as President and Chancellor from 1981 to 2008 when he transitioned to retirement status.
Crystal Springs community in Rhea County, Tennessee, was selected for the location of the school because of proximity to major cities in the southeast. A retreat-like, pastoral setting was purchased for the campus. For more than 20 years students have found opportunities for academic, personal, and spiritual growth as participants in programs at Omega Graduate School.
A Message from Hollis L. Green, Founder and Chancellor Emeritus
In 1974, one-hundred professionals were selected for a Task Force (1974-1981) to determine how best to change the world in their lifetime. After considering many options, it was decided to initiate a graduate program for mature, social professionals as a freestanding research institution appropriate for Christian scholars. The program was designed with two groups in mind: mature graduate students and working professionals who desired to continue their education and develop additional competency in their occupation by engaging in scholarly research. While the degree was from an American institution, the MLitt and DPhil degree designations established a link with the European approach to graduate studies and specified an alternative delivery system.
While maintaining similar requirements as other graduate programs, the graduate program is distinctive in five areas. (1) All credits are class-based and core sessions are concentrated at significant points during residency sessions to deliver a specialized curriculum. (2) Faculty direction was individualized to cope with the diverse needs of graduate students. (3) Students were provided interactive guidance in the development of a research direction. (4) Problem-solving scientific research applied to a social profession or vocation, and (5) academic work demonstrated an integration of religion and society and was directed toward positive social change.
The development was based on four assumptions about graduate work. First, the academic program builds on the foundation of previous course work and is not a duplication of previous studies. Second, contact with faculty was structured to fit the academic needs of students, but is not a substitute for self-discipline in acquiring both content and competency in a specified curriculum. Third, campus courses are supported by faculty-generated full-length texts/syllabi and essential components presented in core sessions concentrated with some transactional distance elements to promote in-depth learning of a subject and an adequate application of knowledge. Fourth, graduate study encourages faculty and students to interact with the problems of the social professions through academic research in resolving critical problems with the eventual outcome having a beneficial impact on society.
The traditional characteristics of education have changed since Omega (then “Oxford”) Graduate School was chartered in 1981. The natural features of the education landscape seem to change almost daily. Procedures and methodology that were taboo yesterday are acceptable or even advanced today. The past criticism of the Old World tutorial method has turned into imitation as it is used with new technology to meet the tutoring needs of learners separated from the traditional classroom. These concepts are compatible with the original intent of the Oxford Task Force (1974-1981) that proposed the development of an institution for mature adult learners and a system to enhance lifelong learning. The education process for adult learners was guided by these essential elements that characterize institutions structured to support lifelong education.
- Establish a bridging framework to provide the contexts to facilitate lifelong learning.
- Negotiate partnerships and strategic linkages with other institutions and groups.
- Develop a teaching/learning process that permits self-directed learning in real life situations.
- Initiate academic policies and mechanisms to give priority to learning.
- Establish dialog/support systems suitable for adult learners and graduate research.
- Strive for a global strategy with a broad exchange of teaching/learning systems and international collaboration.
- Facilitate social research directed toward the solution of problems in the family, community, and faith-based entities.
During the past decades Omega Graduate School has carved a niche in American higher education. The academic venture is fully accredited and alumni and students are active participants in positive social change endeavors around the world. The founders were not willing to follow a totally secular or sacred model, but were concerned about interdisciplinary education that created a program where students from multiple faith-based groups could have a safe place to think, study, and integrate the essential elements of morality and ethics into society through positive social change using social scientific research.
–Hollis L. Green, ThD, PhD, DLitt
Founder and Chancellor, Emeritus