College of Arts & Sciences Philosophy of Higher Education

The College of Arts & Sciences at Bethel University is a Christian learning community committed to pursue and practice what is true, to excel in its educational programs, to collaborate as partners in learning, to integrate faith into every area of life, and to nurture every person toward Christian maturity in scholarship, leadership, and service.

As a Christian learning community, we honor God in the way we work together at our calling and vocations. We rejoice in discovering the character and glory of our Creator as we explore creation. As people who bear God’s image, we pursue the truth of God’s revelation. That revelation comes to us in the person of Christ, the wonder and beauty of creation, and the Spirit-directed words of scripture. We are called to live with hope, faith, love, mercy, humility, and justice, which put truth into practice. We believe Christian faith is relevant to every area of life—the integrative principle for the entire curriculum—and a foundational area of study for all of us as learners.

We pursue not only knowledge—through breadth and depth of insight—but wisdom.

We pursue not only skill—through competence and expertise—but service.

We pursue not only clarity—through speaking, writing, and listening—but community.

We pursue not only achievement—through excellence and maturity—but flourishing.

With this vision of the Christian liberal arts, we equip graduates for lives of active, professional doing and vibrant, thriving being. Each class, program, theme, field, and major cultivates the harmony of skills, insights, and motivations that empower our graduates to live abundantly—whole in soul and doing good.

Emphasizing Bethel's commitment to integrated, Christian learning, our approach to General Education ensures students are equipped to do the following:

  • Emphasize the interdependence of knowledge
  • Seek wholeness
  • Understand diversity and commonality
  • Interact with other cultures; and
  • Explore the past and look to the future

Our General Education curriculum has been organized in four themes, each of these theme areas include a variety of courses designed to develop specific knowledge, skills, and values. The four themes of Personal Development; Biblical Foundations; Math, Science, and Technology; and Global Perspectives are complemented by an off-campus cross-cultural experience and a capstone course in Contemporary Christian Issues.

The four General Education theme areas comprise both specific courses that all students take and categories from which students choose courses. General Education courses are arranged in a unified and developmental sequence spread through all four years of study and culminate in a capstone course. 

(For visual representations of our General Education curriculum, see our CWILT and Humanities curriculum maps.)

The R.E.A.L. Experience - Relevant, Experiential, Applied Learning

One way we accomplish this vision is by engaging students in a wide range of hands-on learning activities, beginning in foundational courses and continuing into their majors of choice, that equip them with skills employers seek, offer an edge in the job market, and ensure success in a rapidly changing world.

We prepare students to adapt what they learn and apply it in new ways to solve problems in jobs that don’t even yet exist. Through the R.E.A.L. Experience, students track and demonstrate their development of skills in

  • artistic understanding and practice
  • communication
  • creativity and innovation
  • critical thinking and complex problem solving
  • data analysis, interpretation and application
  • valuing difference
  • emotional intelligence
  • ethical reasoning and decision making
  • faith integration
  • leadership
  • teamwork and collaboration
  • technological literacy

These skills empower students to continue learning through life—becoming more curious, more thoughtful, more open-minded, more culturally responsive, more interested in other people, more appreciative of beauty, more humble, and more comfortable with complexity and mystery.

For more information on the R.E.A.L. Experience, visit https://www.bethel.edu/undergrad/academics/real-experience/

 

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