Heidelberg University was created in Tiffin, Ohio around 1850, backed by the German Reform Church to account for the influx in German immigrants to the area at the time. It was not huge when it began and managed to graduate just five in their initial commencement, but its diminutive size gave it the opportunity to create a “student-centered” school, a vision they carry through today (as well as the nickname of “the Student Prince”).
Though they do have an exchange program with the German University of Heidelberg that is the oldest in the country, their affiliation with the German Reform Church gave way to backing from the United Church of Christ and Heidelberg became more inclusive as the years passed. No longer a German themed school, the University now offers its 1500+ students both graduate and undergrad degrees, as well as professional certifications, in a variety of divisions.
Bachelor’s degrees are offered in 28 different majors, with another 29 minors and a baker’s dozen of professional certification programs. The university values out of class learning as well as in class, so many fine programs are offered in the areas of research internships and learning abroad programs. Done to create “professionals” who are also “global citizens”, Heidelberg strives to bring a world perspective to learning and enhance cultural awareness, part of their history and in keeping with their church affiliations. Though online classes are offered through OASIS, most, if not all, courses are designed to be hybrid and have on campus requirements as well.
Graduate studies are conducted at the school on evenings only, looking to provide for graduates who can’t spare time from work to continue academic advancement. They offer four Master’s degree programs, meant to be completed in two years of “consecutive semesters”, with offerings in Education (both traditional and music), as well as Counseling, and Business Administration. Allowing adults up to six years to achieve their chosen Master’s, Heidelberg has constructed some programs that include in class and online learning (though only really in the Counseling Master’s and those are abbreviated), but have no graduate degree programs for those distance learners who can’t come to campus. This, combined with evening classes and, in some cases, choices on term lengths (the Education program allows for choice between full semester, eight week, and five week terms) allow for professionals to advance their knowledge in a flexible, yet fully instructive format.
Typical majors at Heidelberg tend toward Education and Business, and their 13:1 student teacher ration ensures their continued dedication to the principle of putting the student first. They offer a distinctive Honor’s program called Life of the Mind, designed to challenge their most promising students in four intellectual disciplines (Scholar, Scientist, Artist, Citizen) beyond their typically high and often rewarded educational standards (they are routinely mentioned as one of the top Mid-West Universities by US News and World Report).
With a proud and lengthy history, Heidelberg survives today due to their dedication to putting the student and their education first, creating a culturally diverse curriculum to ensure learners don’t quit once the degree is achieved.