Discussion: Sample Education Principles (Fall 2003)

at Faculty Fall 2003 Dinners

What Are Our Educational Principles?

In order to spark discussion of the principles we think should inspire our curriculum at Bates, here are some sample principles articulated by another college, a particular educator, and an educational organization. These sample principles differ from each other, and our own list may be quite different from all of them. The samples are meant as conversation starters only.

SAMPLE PRINCIPLES I (Augsburg College)
1. Create a learning environment in which students discover their interest, talents, and sense ofvocation that will enable them to navigate their present and future lives.

2. Build a learning community with students, faculty, staff.

3. Create opportunities for students to become leaders in service to society by exploring multiple ways of knowing the world through the liberal arts tradition and discovering connections among diverse ways to truth and meaning.

4. Create a learning environment in which students explore the traditions of western society andChristian faith; help students develop their individual intellectual, ethical, and spiritual commitments.

5. Provide opportunities for students to become leaders and citizens in the city and in a complex, interconnected, and diverse global community.

6. Establish and maintain a learning community in which students develop the intellectual skills and habits of thinking and learning that will help them adapt to and flourish in a changing workplace.

SAMPLE PRINCIPLES II (AAC&U, Strong Foundations)
Students should
– receive a generous orientation to the intellectual expectations, curricular rationale, and learning resources of the college

– acquire specific skills of thought and expression, such as critical thinking and writing, that should be learned “across the curriculum” and embedded within several courses

– learn about another culture and the diversity that exists within our own culture in terms of gender, race, ethnic background, class, age, and religion;

– integrate ideas from across disciplines to illuminate interdisciplinary themes, issues, or social problems;

– study some subjects-beyond their majors-at advanced, not just introductory levels;

– have an opportunity near the end of their course of study to pull together their learning in a senior seminar or project;

– experience a coherent course of study, one that is more than the sum of its parts.

This process . . . by which the intellect, instead of being formed or sacrificed to some particular or accidental purpose, some specific trade or profession, or study of science, is disciplined for its own sake, for the perception of its own object, and for its own highest culture, is called Liberal Education.
– – John Henry Cardinal Newman, The Idea of a University

Liberal arts education is:

– a transformative process, in which students come to understand the major ideas and modes of thought of our civilization; to examine situations and make judgments; and to proceed to original thinking, which they are able to express clearly and felicitously–both in speaking and in writing

– as wide as human civilization. Included are the study of history, literature, philosophy, mathematics, natural and social sciences, politics, art, and music.

– the process of maintaining a civilization by requiring that each generation transmit their knowledge of things to the next generation.

– to receive a great inheritance–an intellectual inheritance derived from the accumulated learning of the ages.

– a liberation of those who receive it from the bondage of ignorance which enables them to use their freedom constructively by opening up new possibilities.

– the transmission of disciplined ways of learning and knowing through perennial questions and the traditional academic disciplines through which students develop skills, such as how to take apart a complex problem, how to write and speak clearly, and how to think creatively as well as critically.

– the creation of a community of learners where students can develop the qualities of integrity and civility.