By: Alicia Lasry

The fact that several schools similar to Barton have changed their name from “college” to “university,” has some students and the community to wonder if Barton will ever make that change, as well.

The answer is: There are no plans at this time for Barton to become a university, according to Dr. Gary Dyanes, provost and vice president for academic affairs.”

According to Daynes, there were clear differences in the past between a college and a university, mainly depending on the size of the school and the types of academic programs offered, but those distinctions no longer apply.

“It is true that colleges tend to be smaller than universities, and that colleges tend to offer fewer types of academic programs than universities, but there are many small universities,” said Daynes.

“In North Carolina, for instance, William Peace University and Shaw University are roughly the same size as Barton,” he added.

Daynes said that there are currently no plans or discussions at Barton about changing the name or status of the college.

“”College” accurately describes both the size of Barton and its goals,” said Daynes, “which are to provide a top-quality education that blends the liberal arts and professional training to undergraduate students; and to offer select masters degrees in fields where Barton has particular strength.”

Changing the name of an institution nowadays is a decision taken by the campus rather than a requirement.

Daynes said that name changes normally occur when an institution establishes a new or more expanded mission, or when it is trying to attract students who will more likely enroll into a university than in a college.

If a college were to change its name, “Once the decision has been made (the ultimate decision is made by the board of trustees of the institution), then the institution must notify its accreditors and go through all of the work to change its name in publications, advertisements, campus information, etc.

“It also must explain its rationale for the decision to alumni, who often oppose such name changes,” said Daynes.

According to Daynes, if Barton were to change its name to university, but did not change anything else, the school would be unlikely to attract more people.

On the other hand, if the name change would be accompanied by changes in academic programs or the creation of a new campus, then it would perhaps charm more students.

In other countries, the word “college” refers to high schools, so if the goal of the school was mainly to recruit students from those countries, for example China, it may help to change the name so that the concept would be better understood by others with a different culture, said Daynes.

Barton College was originally Atlantic Christian College until 1990, when the board of trustees chose to name the school after Barton W. Stone, one of the founders of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) of which the college is affiliated.

Kathy Daughety, Barton alumna and director of public relations, worked in admissions for several years before the name changed, and said, “I was missing the opportunity to talk to students who would find A.C.C. to be a perfect fit for them to continue their education, and I was explaining to other students that A.C.C. was not the conservative, fundamentalist school they were seeking.

“It was incredibly frustrating, and by the end of my first year in admissions, I was asking the question, myself, ‘When are we going to change the name?’” added Daughety.