For our devotion this afternoon, I begin with a Scripture verse that I’m sure is familiar to all of us, Proverb 22:6. Rendered in the King James way so familiar to the ears of most of us, it says this:
“Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it.”
At the beginning of last semester, at our first faculty meeting of the academic year, President Conn spoke to us about “The Dream and the Details”.
As I’ve served on the QEP Task Force this past semester, I’ve thought quite often about what the President shared with us in that talk on the Dream and the Details, particularly in relation to our QEP initiative.
When Carolyn asked if I would facilitate a CTE session, her request basically boiled down to “talk about what it is that you do over there in political science.” Since it was unclear to me exactly what it is that we “do over there,” I decided to ask my students “what is it that we do over here?” Almost without exception their response was that “we create a family.” Since that didn’t have a particularly academic ring to it, I continued to push them to think about what that meant in the context of an academic program, which led to quite an interesting conversation and one that got me to start thinking more systematically about how such a community had emerged and whether or not I could talk genuinely about the role that faculty can play in facilitating the creation of such a thing. It has proven to be a remarkably beneficial process for me to think through this, since I don’t think that I ever sat down and thought systematically about the process by which this thing had been created nor its various component parts.
The QEP Committee just lobbed a big piece of the QEP back to the department chairs, and ultimately back to you, so I thought you might like an update on where we are and a reminder of why this matters. As you no doubt remember, we selected the general topic “Integrated Learning” with the grand outcome of enabling our students to “demonstrate an understanding of the integration of Christian faith and vocation through the practice of ethical action, redemptive service, and responsible citizenship in the church, community, and the world.” Our general plan is to accomplish this by introducing the three core values in the new year-long first-year sequence, to help students apply academic knowledge to the core values throughout their majors, and to offer them the culminating experience of demonstrating their understanding of the integration of Christian faith and vocation in their capstone courses.
I heard a podcast this morning from The New Yorker about a book on higher education. They were discussing William Deresiewicz’s Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Life, a book that argues elite colleges, specifically the Ivy League schools, have changed the purpose of college from one that focuses on educating students for life to teaching them to have careers. This is not a new argument, of course, and this book will definitely not end the discussion.
The Loaves-and-Fishes Miracle Would Not Have Seemed Miraculous Without Math
AS A MATH PROFESSOR, intersections appeal to me. On graph paper, two curves meet, and an equilibrium point appears. Thus, resonating within me is Frederick Buechner’s description of calling: “the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”