The Core! - Geneva College, a Christian College in Pennsylvania (PA)
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Faith Higher Education President's Desk
March 21, 2016

The Core!

What should students learn? At one extreme the question provokes heated controversy (Google “Common Core,” “Dead White Men”) and at the other extreme throw-up-the-hands, let-the-students-decide adult abdication. The answer reveals what a college believes most valuable.

One way, therefore, to choose a college is to ask, “What does it make everyone learn?” Is it the Great Books of the Western Canon (the famous old Columbia University core), or “distribution requirements” that insure students sample broadly from the humanities, the social sciences, and the physical sciences, or a set of “skills” that make one ready to be a “life-long learner,” or a “major” that provides job training?

The open Bible at the center of Geneva’s seal shows pictorially what we believe lies at the center of education: it is the knowledge and fear of the Lord. Geneva College makes everyone learn the contents of the Bible, the core of its Core. That Bible requirement includes the Old Testament mission and failure of the nation of Israel, and the New Testament fulfillment of Israel’s purpose in Jesus Christ. What the Bible teaches about God and His Creation, about the nobility and tragedy of human existence, about right and wrong, and about God’s redemptive goal for the world permeates the other courses taught at Geneva. As an exclamation point on the centrality of the Bible, Geneva requires all students to attend a weekly chapel service.

Surrounding the Bible, Geneva’s core includes courses in both the humanities and the sciences, which trace the influence of the Bible, both by way of inspiration and rejection, primarily in what was once called Christendom. And there are also courses in certain essential skills, such as writing.

The very existence of a core curriculum at Geneva, as well as its contents and shape, make it clear that Geneva does not view education as solely, or even mainly, about getting a job upon graduation. Education is about learning those things that are most necessary for living a full life with humility and wisdom.

Surrounding the core, however, Geneva offers a variety of majors and professional programs, designed to prepare students for productive work. “He who does not work, neither shall he eat (II Thessalonians 3:10).” Believers and unbelievers alike share the mandate to subdue chaos and create order in a world cursed with decay. Geneva through its Core aims to point its graduates in the direction of doing that building for the honor of Christ rather than Man. Our Core program indicates that we know what everyone should learn, and we will require that our students learn it.

Dr. William Edgar, Interim President

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