Liberal Arts Education Fuels Student Success

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This fall BJU students in an interdisciplinary pilot course will aim to enter Elon Musk’s XPrize Carbon Removal contest. Business, biology and engineering students will work together to create a large-scale, workable solution for the global competition. The grand prize is $50 million.

According to Dr. Gary Weier, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, classes like these are the future of liberal arts education at BJU. Although students don’t always use the skills they’ve learned in college to enter competitions to win millions of dollars, a Christian liberal arts education teaches more than just facts.

Developing the Whole Student

“A liberal arts education is going to focus on developing you as a whole person rather than just preparing you for a particular job or developing particular skills in you,” said Weier. “It’s more than what you’re able to do with your education — it’s who you are or who you’re becoming.”

The core courses required of every student lay the foundation for you to be a well-rounded individual. Studying subjects such as English and speech develops your written and oral communication skills, while group projects teach teamwork. These skills catch employers’ attention and will set you apart from other job applicants.

The free fine arts events on campus, such as the Concert, Opera & Drama Series, foster appreciation of the beauty of creativity and excellence. Said Weier: “There’s an objective and inherent quality to beauty. And when we experience fine arts events — a great musical competition or a play that is staged effectively — we are experiencing beauty that God has designed in His creation and the abilities that He’s given to us to express that.”

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Building Relationships

A Christian liberal arts education builds character and points you toward Christlikeness within a community. Said Weier: “It prepares you to be a good neighbor. It prepares you to be a good spouse. It prepares you to be a good parent, an active and engaged member of your local church. And it really prepares you to live a life of wisdom.”

According to Weier, living a life of wisdom stems from a well-balanced life of worship, work, spiritual warfare and relational wealth. How you pursue job opportunities, seek out God’s plan for your life amid conflicting desires and invest in others reveals your spiritual maturity.

The relationships you form with faculty and peers develop you socially and spiritually. They are the heart of a liberal arts education. “Relationships can be as small as a residence hall room with two or three students in it, or it can be as large as chapel itself, the entire university community and everything in between,” Weier said.

Looking to the Future

Although you may not be in the carbon-removal solution course this year, you’ll have other opportunities down the road. You can expect more interdisciplinary crossovers and hands-on learning experiences at BJU.

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Said Weier: “There will be a lot more project-based learning. There will be a lot more engagement with the community and organizations, ministries, nonprofits (and) businesses that are a part of the community. … That will be the flavor of liberal arts education in the future.”