I have been discussing the foundation and rationale for the new Welch College Core. In this concluding post, I’ll list the members of the General Education Curricular Revision Committee, and then reproduce the preface, objectives, and course list for the core as found in the college’s Academic Catalog.
Matthew Pinson, Chairman
The Welch College Core
The Welch College Core is a general education core curriculum designed by the faculty to integrate the Christian worldview across the curriculum. The striving for a unified worldview extends back to the ancient Greeks and Romans. The Greeks believed that there was some basic knowledge that all people should know if they were going to become “philosophers” (“lovers of wisdom”). They called this knowledge enkuklios paideia or “the rounded education” (the origin of our term “encyclopedia”). This “rounded knowledge” included language, literature, and the arts, as well as mathematics and the sciences. Later, the Romans called these subjects the artes liberales (“the liberal arts”), perhaps implying that such knowledge is appropriate for a liber, a free man or citizen who could take part in the debate in the public square. With the spread of the Christian Gospel, theology and the study of Scripture became part of the liberal arts and sciences as well. The schools that arose in Europe in the late Middle Ages were called “universities” precisely because they aimed to expose their students to the universitas or “the whole” of Christian learning. Welch College follows in this noble Christian tradition of higher education. We want to help our students see the whole of life from a Christian perspective, what we often call the Christian worldview. The Welch College Core is our version of those basic studies that our students will need in order to think deeply and Christianly about life and culture.
Objectives for the Welch College Core are as follows:
Critical Thinking and Communication
1. All students will develop a capacity for critical thinking and the ability to communicate their ideas effectively to others. Students will demonstrate success in developing such competencies by:
a. Expressing ideas effectively in writing and speaking, utilizing traditional principles of grammar, rhetoric and logic, in communication to people across cultures;
b. Exercising critical judgment in listening and reading, employing discernment, critical thinking, and interpretive skills in the acquisition of knowledge from diverse and interdisciplinary perspectives; and
c. Utilizing analysis and synthesis, planning and action, and assessment and evaluation to engage in problem-solving.
The Great Tradition
2. All students will develop an appreciation for and understanding of the foundational intellectual and literary traditions of the Western and Christian traditions. Students will demonstrate success in developing such competencies by:
a. Having a broad knowledge of the intellectual and cultural inheritance of Western civilization and articulate its relationship with the Christian tradition toward a biblical philosophy of life and history;
b. Understanding Christian tradition essentials, integrating a basic knowledge of the Free Will Baptist tradition, and relating both to contemporary faith, practice, and culture; as well as comprehending the importance of heritage and the value of intergenerational faithfulness in the home, church, and culture;
c. Understanding the great ideas of human history as seen in the Western literary and philosophical traditions in light of the principles of Scripture and the Judeo-Christian tradition, ascertaining their importance for interpreting the contemporary world and demonstrating the rationality of Christian faith; and
d. Understanding the basic principles of American government, political and religious liberty, and economy, as exemplified in the founding era and its foundational texts.
The Arts and Culture
3. All students will develop an appreciation of and Christian perspective on the arts and culture. Students will demonstrate success in developing such competencies by:
a. Gaining exposure to broad aesthetic experiences by means of the masterpieces of literature, the arts, and drama; learning basic principles for evaluating these experiences by Christian standards of truth, goodness, and beauty; and grappling with the ideas embodied in the arts and applying Christian analysis and discernment to culture, including popular culture; and
b. Gaining exposure to the great tradition of music, understanding its role in culture, society, and Christian worship, and developing rudimentary musical knowledge and skill so as to be able to participate in community and church music programs.
Humanity and the Human Environment
4. All students will develop a broad, holistic view of humanity and the human environment that is understood by scientific perspectives as informed by the Christian worldview. Students will demonstrate success in developing such competencies by:
a. Being able to justify Christian moral and ethical decisions shaped by the commands and principles of Scripture and informed by the wisdom of the classical, Hebrew, and Christian traditions;
b. Understanding the forces that shape global society and being able to form meaningful conclusions regarding the application of Christian ethics to the human family as divine image-bearers, in both private and public spheres;
c. Understanding the principles of physical and mental health, and exercising Christian regard for a healthy mind and body;
d. Understanding and using basic mathematical and scientific principles, especially as they relate directly to the human environment, obtaining a Christian perspective on the benefits and limits of science and technology;
e. Gaining a broad comprehension of how to understand and relate ethically and constructively to oneself and other people through the lenses of the Bible, the Christian tradition, and the behavioral sciences; and
f. Understanding the principles of the Bible, the Christian tradition, and the behavioral sciences regarding dynamics that produce a healthy Christian marriage and home life, including the rearing of psychologically and spiritually healthy children.
5. All graduates will learn basic theoretical principles of leadership and develop the practical ability to implement such principles in their own lives and communities. Students will demonstrate success in developing such competencies by:
a. Comprehending the principles of sound personal management of time, abilities, and finances and relating them to effective Christian leadership and stewardship;
b. Supporting and defending effective, basic principles of servant-leadership, including a commitment to continual spiritual, social, and intellectual development in the context of the family, the church, and the world; and
c. Manifesting Christian personal and professional cultural sensibilities in refinement and social skills.
Courses in the Welch College Core
Systems in Biological Science and Lab
English Grammar, Usage, and Composition I, II
Masterpieces of World Literature I, II
History of Western Civilization I, II
Leadership and Calling: Personal Development
Leadership and Calling: Leadership Principles
Christianity, Culture, and Worldview: Introduction
Christianity, Culture, and Worldview: Intermediate
Christianity, Culture, and Worldview: Capstone
Foreign Language (12) (for B.A. only)
Music Introduction and Appreciation
Lifetime Fitness and P.E. Activity Course
Fundamentals of Speech
Marriage and Family