Liberal Arts at JBU
"How Then Shall We Live?"
Thursday, September 12, 2013
When evangelist John Brown established Southwestern Collegiate Institute in the fall of 1919, I doubt he imagined that his vision for integrating the Christian worldview into a liberal arts education would someday be delivered around the world via an online degree program. But beginning this fall, the university that bears his name is extending his vision of providing a Christian higher education to those who might not otherwise have the opportunity through our newest program - Liberal Arts - delivered 100% online through JBU's Degree Completion Program.
The founder's grandson, John E. Brown, III, recently detailed why JBU believes in a liberal arts education:
JBU was founded in 1919 as a two-year vocational college. Students worked a half day and attended classes a half day. An original hope that no tuition would be charged did not last for long.
The struggling college expanded to a four year, baccalaureate degree-granting university in 1934, but still maintained a strong focus on experiential training programs grounded by a core of liberal arts and biblical studies. The curriculum continued to evolve and change over the years, as degree programs in areas like agriculture and home economics were dropped and new majors in psychology, accounting, and graphic arts were added.
Through all of those changes, however, a commitment to a common core of liberal arts studies remained strong. Engineers, business majors, education and communications students — all need the intellectually broadening challenges of the social sciences and humanities. The essential question in higher education should not be just “where shall I work?” or “what do I need to know to get a job?”, but more importantly, “how then shall we live?”. The liberal arts help us to resolve that profound question every day in our own lives and in our communities.
Students graduating with a degree in the liberal arts often choose to go on to graduate school, but that is not the only career choice they can make. College graduates who know how to think clearly and creatively, who can work effectively in a team, and who can communicate effectively, will find many employment opportunities. In addition to any advantage of specific skills or knowledge, a person who is passionate in the pursuit of a calling and is willing to work hard will always find a place of service. Many more such graduates are needed in all areas of government, the private sector, and in thousands of non-profit organizations.
John E. Brown
JBU President Emeritus