Christian Education Mission Statement
The Christian Education Major contributes to the mission of Westminster College by providing a program for the training of committed leaders for tomorrow’s church. Both in the classroom and in their practicum in congregational settings, students are challenged to critically evaluate the current social issues of our time, and the particular challenges of being Christian in a post-modern, and increasingly post-Christian culture. The Christian Education major requires students to learn to think biblically, to question theological assumptions, and to seek to respond aesthetically and creatively to the opportunities that the future offers.
Religion Major (Christian Tradition Track) Mission Statement
The major in Religion with a concentration in Christian Traditions offers students training in a unique combination of skills, including research, critical thinking, and cross-cultural understanding. Since Christianity is one of the cornerstones of Western culture, a study of Christian traditions leads students to know and appreciate their own culture through examination of significant texts covering a vast landscape of ideas, history, politics, arts, etc. Although the Christian Traditions Program does not require students to be members of any particular Christian tradition, its curriculum can provide an excellent basis for going on to specialized training to become a leader in a Christian community. The program can prepare students for graduate training at a seminary or theological school and for various vocations including military chaplaincy, hospital chaplaincy, counseling, social work, mission, congregational ministry, Christian Education, and teaching.
Religion Major (World Religions Track) Outcomes
The program in World Religions aims to provide students with an understanding of religion in most of its various historically significant forms. This major provides a valuable perspective for understanding the significance of religion in the context of both world events and individual human life. It requires an appreciation of the role of religion in other educational areas such as sociology, psychology, history, and literature. Its mission is to provide students with a reliable, detailed, but broad exposure to a variety of foreign cultures across human history while requiring them to consider and analyze critically the implications and entailments of religious expression and behavior within those cultures. Reliable information from geography, social and political history, and current events as well as from a wide variety of cultural studies and sacred scriptures must be analyzed in order to achieve these ends.
History Mission Statement
According to its mission statement, Westminster College seeks to help women and men “develop competencies, commitments and characteristics which have distinguished human beings at their best.” The History program at Westminster College is a central element of that mission and, more generally, of Westminster’s “quest for excellence.” The History program is designed to prepare its students for futures as knowledgeable historians, informed and active citizens, critical thinkers, life-long learners, and as servants of, and contributors to, their communities. The History major will master a range of analytical and critical thinking and writing skills; have exposure to a broad historical literature; and will acquire the skills necessary to read, decipher, analyze, and make use of historical primary sources. The program offers and cultivates these general goals in two major tracks: pre-professional and secondary education.
Philosophy Mission Statement
Philosophy has been and continues to be central to a Liberal Arts education, as it is a foundational discipline within the academy. From its early beginnings, Philosophy has stressed the reasoned approach to understanding existence and to preserve this connection the Philosophy discipline at Westminster College serves both general education requirements and those specific to the major. The mission of Philosophy at Westminster College is to maintain this established connection between the Liberal Arts and Philosophy by stressing the importance of critical thinking through the examination of Philosophic thought, primarily that of the Western Philosophic Tradition, but not exclusively. Central to this mission is the instilling in students the developmental nature of conceptualizations about reality and the importance of historical contextualization for critical examination of this Tradition.
Christian Education Outcomes
- To become grounded in the Bible, both the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament, as the source of authority for the Christian community.
- To acquire skills in the exegesis and interpretation of the various genres of biblical writing.
- To become competent in theological knowledge and able to use both the Bible and theology in their teaching, preaching, and pastoral care opportunities.
- To gain an understanding of the elements of human development, physical, mental, emotional and spiritual from infancy to older adults as this knowledge pertains to Christian nurture, and the quest for Christian maturity.
- To become practiced in analyzing current Christian curricula for pre-school, elementary, youth and adults, and to develop skills in writing, illustrating and creating original curriculum.
- To gain an understanding of the significant changes and issues facing the Church as the culture shifts from modern ways of thought to the post-modern perspective.
- To acquire practical experience in using the Bible, theology, knowledge of human development, and best educational practices in congregational settings.
- To acquire an understanding of Christianity and its significance for Western culture and the world today
- To become familiar with various dimensions of Christianity (e.g., biblical, theological, historical, political)
- To learn skills and methods of examining critically the sources of such knowledge
Religion Major (World Religions Track) Outcomes
- To acquire knowledge of the History of Religions, of global human Culture, and of the Natural World.
- To acquire intellectual and practical skills, including critical and creative thinking, research and analysis, and written and oral communication skills.
- To become practiced in integrative learning, including the synthesis and application of knowledge from a variety of sources and skills from a variety of disciplinary approaches to unfamiliar and complex situations.
- To acquire a greater understanding of all people, including ourselves, as individuals in a culture comparable with all other human cultures.
- To attain a solid and fundamental grasp of American, European, and non-Western history.
- To attain a solid and fundamental grasp of the ancient and medieval, early modern, and modern periods of history.
- To acquire mastery in reading and analyzing primary and secondary historical sources.
- To acquire a solid grasp of the nature of historical writing and how it has changed over time.
- To develop the range of skills necessary to formulate a historical research question and to write a synthetic and logical argument addressing that question.
- To develop and demonstrate effective written and oral communication skills and to support these skills through the appropriate use of technology tools.
- To develop and use problem-solving and critical thinking skills.
- To instill a life-long love of learning and respect for past and different cultures.
- To inspire, through the acquisition of these skills and knowledge, students to be fully-engaged, concerned, and compassionate citizens of our republic.
- To produce graduates who enter their professions as knowledgeable, competent, enthusiastic, and skilled professionals who are learned, and secondary teachers who model for their students the excitement of doing history.
- To develop in students the critical thinking skills necessary to read and analyze an author’s argument, whether written or oral. This will include abilities to analyze and construct good arguments.
- To instill in students the developmental nature of our conceptualizations of reality, helping them recognize the importance of historical context and conceptual genealogy when examining an author’s position.
- To provide students with an understanding of the major influences on the Western Philosophic Tradition, including an understanding of the primary periods in this Tradition: Ancient, Medieval, Modern and Contemporary.