Faculty unanimously votes to further Christ at the Core

On April 21, the process of nearly five years came to a con­clusion when the final themes for “Christ at the Core” were ap­proved. That date marked the transition from the extensive work of the Summit Committee over the past year to the implementa­tion of the curriculum that will go into effect fall semester of 2016.
Over the course of the 1,820 days of the general educa­tion reform process, four fac­ulty committees have existed for its development, leading up to Summit which passed “Christ at the Core” in November of 2014.
The 10 finalized themes will represent an integration of all de­partments. They include applied abstract and quantitative reason­ing, diversity in the US, global per­spectives, historical perspectives, literary explorations, philosophi­cal investigations, scientific issues and perspectives, social inquiry, scientific practice and studies in visual and performing arts. Each of these themes had a subcommit­tee that developed three specific outcomes that students will be expected to master upon comple­tion of the requirement. Addi­tionally there were subcommit­tees that addressed the thematic core — core competencies and shared core — classes which all students will be required to fulfill.
Each committee, comprised of faculty and staff with student rep­resentatives, worked all winter de­fining the themes and outcomes. At the March faculty meeting, a draft of the outcomes was pre­sented to the entire faculty for revision, critique and feedback. One month later, 42 submis­sions had been made for edits in the document. While the Sum­mit Committee strove to listen to each criticism, there were natu­rally some conflicting requests.
This is why Scripture Press Chair of Christian Formation & Ministry professor Jim Wil­hoit explained that the ultimate goal in the revision process was to, “preserve the ethos and vi­sion of Christ at the Core.”
The most difficulty was met in the diversity clusters, new to the Wheaton general educa­tion requirements. At the faculty business meeting, multiple rep­resentatives from the diversity in the US committee voiced disap­pointment with the limited and weakened final outcomes which, for months, had been met by dis­sension caused by differing expec­tations. During the meeting itself, the theme was updated, as Pro­fessor Gene Green proposed that it should include the Christian’s duty to learn from the oppressed and marginalized. The addition was approved as an amendment.
“It is moved,” stated the pro­posal, “that these documents be approved to serve as guidance doc­uments governing subsequent ap­proval of thematic core curriculum courses by the Curriculum Com­mittee.” Although minor changes can now be made in the language of the themes, any structural ad­justments must be brought before the faculty as a whole for approval.
Associate professor of chem­istry Becky Eggiman who served on the Summit Committee said, “The way (the outcomes) raises scientific issues across the whole curriculum.” This can be applied to any department, as the repre­sentation of issues will be more developed in the whole of each student’s education than ever before. “The process was truly collaborative,” said Eggiman.
Sophomore Drew Chambers, who sat on a committee and will serve as next year’s executive vice president for educational policies, said that “exciting” was the most fitting word in describing what the themes will accomplish for the stu­dent body over the next few years After much discussion, the mo­tion passed unanimously with grat­itude directed toward the Summit Committee. During the meeting this Saturday, they will pass off responsibility to individual de­partments for the development of courses that will shape the themes.
Wilhoit said, “The ques­tion to ask about an education is not ‘What can I do with it?’ but rather, ‘What is it doing to me — as a person?’” quoting the late Wheaton philosophy professor Arthur Holmes. “This, I think, has always embodied our com­mitment to education at Wheaton College, but we want to deepen our commitment to it,” he said.

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