Tag Archives: core curriculum

An Eloquent and Harmonious Education, Part III

This is the final installment of a three-part essay on liberal arts education, professional studies, and vocations. The essay was originally delivered at the 81st Annual Conference of Lutheran College Faculties.

If, as has been argued so far, liberal arts and professional studies should work together so that students excel in all of their vocations of service to others, what should universities–particularly Lutheran ones–be working on now? In closing this essay, I highlight three educational opportunities. Continue reading An Eloquent and Harmonious Education, Part III

An Eloquent and Harmonious Education, Part I

This is the first post of a three-part essay on liberal arts education, professional studies, and vocations. The essay was originally delivered at the 81st Annual Conference of Lutheran College Faculties.

The theme of liberal arts education, professional training, and the Lutheran doctrine of vocations provides plenty of room for a speaker to wander and ponder. In this address, I will focus my thoughts on some of the conflicts, responses, solutions, and opportunities before Lutheran universities as they engage students in liberal and professional education. Continue reading An Eloquent and Harmonious Education, Part I

What Is Happiness?

This is the first of two posts on the question of happiness.

Nestled within the opulence of Orange County, California, Concordia University Irvine has the distinct mission to develop “wise, honorable, and cultivated citizens.” To this end, the university has created a rich Core Curriculum focused on great works. Eight courses, paired with one another over the first four semesters of a college student’s experience, cover biology, history, theology, philosophy, literature, and mathematics. As students sit in classrooms, library, and dormitory rooms surrounded by professors and books, learning and reading about these subjects, it is tempting to naively believe that the students’ focus aligns with the historic mission of the university.

Encompassing the university, in fact, is the 3rd most populous county in the state, behind only Los Angeles and San Diego, with a median family income of $85,009 (the highest of the top 5 most populated counties in the state). Two of the top 10 richest neighborhoods in the US are minutes away from the university (US Census, 2010). Beaches, snowcapped mountains, Hollywood, and Disneyland are all within a short drive. There appears to be a stark contrast between the life of the student attempting to become wise, honorable and cultivated and the larger community of mansions, Mercedes, and Mickey Mouse.

In reality, however, these seemingly disparate cultures share a common motivation: happiness. Continue reading What Is Happiness?

What Is a Core Curriculum?

Over the last half century, general education at colleges and universities in the United States has become an à la carte buffet where students choose courses from nearly endless options. In the worst cases, students are not even required to take courses in history, literature, mathematics, or science. The result is often a fractured education that fails to provide students with a coherent view of its purposes.

In response to this open curriculum, the idea of a core curriculum has experienced a resurgence. Continue reading What Is a Core Curriculum?

A Professor in Babylon

I have occasionally called the residence halls at Concordia University Irvine, Babylon beyond the CU Center (the CU Center is the chapel on campus). I don’t say this because our residence halls are full of moral degradation and licentious behavior. Though we encounter our share of behavioral, moral, and psychological challenges, this is not the point. The point is that working and living in the residence halls has often felt like I am in exile from my brothers and sisters on the academic side of the house, even though I teach with them there as well. Thus, my world is Babylon beyond the CU Center. Continue reading A Professor in Babylon

Business Preparation and the Core Curriculum

Business Student

The best global managers are well-rounded, well-traveled, and well-read.

Students new to campus sometimes question the relevance of Concordia University Irvine’s Core liberal arts and sciences courses to their career preparation. Business faculty smile at this. We all note the connection between an informed and liberal world view and management success.

The best managers have the skills that the Core seeks to imbue. Continue reading Business Preparation and the Core Curriculum