A COMMITMENT TO THE LIBERAL ARTS PART 3:
At MPCS, we see the study of the liberal arts (humanities, science, mathematics, and the arts – broadly categorized) as a vehicle for enabling our students to develop as well-rounded individuals and to mature in community with one another. We see the liberal arts as a means of delivering truly important information and providing the tools that enable our students to think and process that information, so that upon graduation they have become well-informed, civically minded, flourishing humans.
Now, you might think that sounds like idealistic mumbo-jumbo, but the reality is, we seek to lay a foundation of knowledge and understanding that leads to wisdom – godly wisdom. We want to send our students into the world prepared not only to contribute — and not only to be cogs in an economic machine- but to lead, to impact, and to transform. As they leave us for college, they must be prepared to do so.
The world is begging for just this kind of person. Colleges and universities are crying out for young women and men who are strong academically, but who will simultaneously enhance campuses morally and ethically. The work force is begging for these individuals as well.
Note the following statistics provided by Dr. Scott Coltrane, Dean of Arts and Sciences at the University of Oregon:
- 30 million jobs did not exist last quarter that exist today
- Every year 1/3 of the workforce changes jobs
- Today’s college students will have 10-14 jobs before they turn 38 years old
As a result of such statistics, it is imperative that schools (both K-12 and higher education) prepare students who will be multifaceted, which means preparing students who are critical thinkers, can reason analytically, can problem solve, can and will collaborate, and who have strong communication skills – both verbal and written. Steve Yi, CEO of web marketing giant Media Alpha, suggests that the liberal arts prepare people to “thrive in subjectivity and ambiguity.” And, Elizabeth Segran has stated, “It’s a horrible irony that at the very moment the world has become more complex, we’re encouraging our young people to be highly specialized in one task.”
MPCS, as you have read in my earlier blog posts, is not a school where students simply specialize. While we have some specialized programs, all students receive a liberal arts education, completing core courses that provide them with the requisite abilities to think deeply and analytically, that prepare them to communicate through both written and oral mediums, demonstrating their qualifications to the world outside our doors.
Most importantly, however, the liberal arts at Mount Paran Christian School are a path to what A.W. Tozer calls a “Knowledge of the Holy.” The liberal arts are a tool to introduce students to the biggest questions of life that we believe can only be answered through a knowledge of God combined with a vibrant, well-informed faith.
So, we will utilize the liberal arts, ask the big questions, study the difficult texts, embrace ambiguity, and develop patterns of thinking – all with an understanding that not only will our students be prepared to flourish in the here and now, but also in the life thereafter.
To further help convince you of the liberal arts argument, please note the following CEO’s (some former CEO’s) of Fortune 500 companies who have bachelor’s degrees in the liberal arts:
- Howard Schultz, Starbucks: Communications, Northern Michigan University
- Michael Eisner, Walt Disney Corporation: English & Theater, Denison University
- Andrea Jung, Avon: English Literature, Princeton University
- Richard Plepler, HBO: Government, Franklin & Marshall College
- Carly Fiorina, Hewlett Packard: Medieval History and Philosophy, Stanford University
- John Mackey, Whole Foods: Philosophy and Religion, University of Texas
- Susan Wojcicki, YouTube: History & Literature, Harvard College
- Steve Ells, Chipotle: Art History, University of Colorado Boulder
- Jack Ma, Alibaba: English, Hangzhou Normal University
Soli Deo Gloria,
Timothy P. Wiens, Ed.D
Timothy Wiens, Ed.D, serves as the Headmaster at Mount Paran Christian School. Dr. Wiens earned his B.A. and M.Ed. from Bethel University and doctorate in Organizational Leadership from Saint Mary's University of Minnesota. He also has completed his MBA from the University of Oxford.
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