Educational Goals

As a department, we believe that teaching and learning are cooperative processes. While as faculty members we bring to our courses expertise, experience, and a commitment to the educational process, we want to share the following goals with our students:

  1. To write with clarity, precision, and grace in a variety of forms and for a variety of audiences.
  2. To perceive literature as a way of knowing: We should understand that fiction, while not literally true, enables us to experience truth about being human. For example, Jesus's story of the Good Samaritan enabled the Pharisee to discover who his neighbor was as no other means could.
  3. To read critically: We engage literature, discerning its truths, lies, and assumptions; we respond to its challenges and to its attempts to tell the truth.
  4. To develop the skills to interpret and the knowledge to understand literature from a variety of time periods and cultures.
  5. To apply the skills of interpretation throughout their lives not only to literature but also biblical studies, art, music, and film.
  6. To find a Reformed place to stand on language and literature. Here our starting point is that "nothing is ever so utterly wrong that it's unredeemable. And nothing is ever so completely right that it needs no reforming." (Gordon Spykman, "Kingdoms in Conflict.")
  7. To be independent learners, able to search for, assess, and integrate information on literature as well as other subjects.