Christ-Centered Education and Faculty
It is important to understand who will be instructing students at Christian Colleges and Universities and how their scholarship is to be described. In my last administrative role, I participated in developing a framework of understanding the role of faculty members in this educational process. The key ideas are compatible with the ideal of a Christ-centered liberal arts education. Who should faculty members be?
1. They are teachers who excel in the classroom.
Members of the faculty make it a life-long aim to deepen their understanding of a biblically sound theology and are professionally astute. They continually take it upon themselves to examine and to exercise their respective field of expertise as being rooted in the Christian worldview that is an effect of this theology. In addition, they keep abreast of developments in educational theory and pedagogy.
2. They are dedicated to the principle of teaching students, not merely courses. As scholars and artists, faculty serve as teachers who strive for high achievement in their respective fields. The results of their research reflect diligence and integrity. In creative expression they aspire to excellence. They remain mindful however, that the primary purpose for these undertakings is to enhance the classroom experience of their students in preparing them for meaningful vocations, which focus on serving Christ and the world.
3. They are teacher/scholars. By remaining current in their respective fields of study, faculty aim not only to enrich their own understanding, but that of their fellow faculty members and the student body. More important, they demonstrate to students their commitment to practicing the principle of life-long learning.
4. They are committed to scholarship because scholarship will always enhance the classroom experience for the students. Members of the faculty seek to go beyond mere proficiency in presenting material to students in the classroom. Rather, they aim to communicate knowledge and methods of securing knowledge in accurate, fruitful and telling terms. Often this results in the presentation of that scholarship through reading papers at conferences, authoring articles and books, and the creation of new technology.
5. They are committed to becoming part of a community of teacher/scholars where regular interaction, the exchange of ideas, and cooperation are welcome and encouraged.
Faculty members work to build an academic cooperative of scholars and artists in which the exchange of ideas and the challenge of views through interdisciplinary interaction are welcome.
The faculty is a critical part of the Christ-centered liberal arts and professional education of students. Their commitment to the principles stated above, will increase the likelihood that the liberal arts and professional education will continue as the valued purpose of the institution. It will also allow for the purposeful shaping of the next generation of Christians who are capable of contributing in meaningful ways to the societies in which they will live and of influencing those societies for Christ and His Kingdom.