What Does a Quality Liberal Arts Education Mean?

I am a firm believer in the liberal arts.  Long ago, I came to understand that all truth is God’s Truth.  That all beauty is a (poor) reflection of the ultimate beauty of the Creator, and all art is a (poor) symbol of the ultimate Artist.  I was fortunate to learn at an early age that God is infinite and we are finite.  Our conceptions of God are always necessarily limited by our finite understandings.  At the same time, I learned early that we did not suffer alone in a world where the Creator would choose to remain mysterious and unknowable.  Instead, we live in a world in which the Creator has revealed Himself.  Our Creator has revealed Himself in the created world, in the written Word of God, and in Jesus — the Living Word of God.  This general, special, and incarnate revelation of God means that He wants to be known and that He has made Truth available to us.  In fact, Jesus tells us to love Him with all our “heart, soul, mind, and strength” (Matthew 22:37).  This understanding of God as the one who reveals Himself, and as the source of all Truth, is at the heart of the liberal arts.  There is no branch of knowledge that does not have its source in Him, nor is there any discipline of study about which God does not loudly proclaim “MINE!” (a riff on a line from a Dutch reformed theologian, Abraham Kuyper).

Here at Jessup University, we have articulated our University Learning Goals in a very helpful way that is, I think, at the core of the study of the liberal arts in a Christ-centered university.  Our students will be able to:

  • Articulate the relevance of Jesus Christ, His teachings, and a Biblical worldview to their personal and professional lives
  • Communicate effectively across cultures
  • Demonstrate critical, analytical, and creative thinking
  • Exhibit competence in their chosen disciplines
  • Engage in a lifelong pursuit of knowledge, character formation, and service to their local and global communities

Here at Jessup, a quality liberal arts education will equip you to have a grounded Biblical worldview; think, read, and write well; and communicate effectively across cultures and contexts.  Those are the goals of our University’s liberal arts education and I think they speak well to preparing Christ followers to be personally transformed and be transformational agents for their families, organizations, and culture.

I continue to be excited at the fantastic growth we are experiencing here at Jessup.  But I’m not just excited about numerical growth and reaching more people.  I’m excited that we are fulfilling the “why” of William Jessup.  I think we are seeing progress in our University Learning Goals and students are receiving a Quality Liberal Arts Education.  That education equips students to face an ever changing world with an unchanging worldview anchored in the Truth of God’s Word and able to relate truth across the spectrum of their personal and vocational pursuits.

So…what do you think about a Quality Liberal Arts Education?  How are we doing?

John Jackson, Ph.D.