Discovery Rooted in The Liberal Arts
Just as the Proverbs in Scripture are filled with the wisdom of how to live well, the first sixteen months of the program prepares each student to be a well-rounded and skilled servant of the common good. To this end, our students undergo a foundational study rooted in Theology and the Liberal Arts.
“Here, you get the opportunity to ask and answer the biggest questions humanity has ever encountered, with the best minds the Western tradition has ever produced, all in the context of the greatest story ever told: the Bible.”
~ Pete Lackey (Master of Divinity and Curriculum Architect) ~
Innovation Through Applied Problem Solving
What we create is a direct result of who we are. Believing we are partners with God who are called to create, the final six months of the program equips students to see the world through the lens of innovation. These finals semesters push students to become exceptional leaders, team members, and problem solvers. Through a look at what it means to innovate, each student is equipped with the tools that are the foundation of making a difference.
Our curriculum employs IN-COMM™ education, where learning takes place withIN-COMMunity. Fifteen to thirty students, one-two faculty, and a mentor embark on an educational journey together, remaining a unit for the duration of the program. In other words, students never change classes, classmates, or professors.
Patterned after Jesus’ discipleship model, our cohort education encourages a more dynamic, collaborative, and supportive learning environment.
Not limited to three one-hour class segments per week, faculty are provided the opportunity to have the concentrated and sustained time to impact a life the platform to merge conceptual knowledge and application the opportunity to observe how students live in relation to what they learn the opportunity to model truth
In addition to the above benefits, cohort education brings the opportunity to practice the second part of the Great Commandment to love your neighbor. How? Cohort education brings together a diverse student body to share, depend, trust, and most importantly, love one another based on intrinsic value rather than superficial cliques.
Please note that while students have the opportunity to experience their own intimate community of 15-30 classmates, they also have access to the greater community of the city, and are not limited to cohort-only events and interaction.
Our curriculum finds its design in the synergy between all material studied. Sequenced Modular Curriculum™ offers a unified approach to education in which students study one subject at a time in an order that follows the flow of the biblical narrative.
Rooted in the fundamental belief that there is overarching unity in knowledge because there is unity in God, not one subject is unrelated to another. Each subject is a unique lens through which we better understand the nature and character of God.
The focus in the modular format gives students time to dig deep into each subject, generating curiosity and excitement that is not interrupted. In a beautiful flow of solidarity, the conclusion of one module sets the introduction for the next.
For any education to truly succeed, it must be tied to a Great Story that supplies both young and old the reason to learn. Our story is God’s Story.
God’s story provides a grand narrative that creates cohesion between subjects—theology, philosophy, history, science, mathematics, psychology, sociology, art, government, law, and economics.
Most colleges present their core programs as a hodgepodge of isolated subjects that makeup the mandatory general education requirements every student must pass before getting to the real work of their desired major. Many students perceive general education requirements as a roadblock to their vocational studies. Instead, our Sequenced Modular Curriculum ties each subject to a grand story, God’s Story, and situates each module—within the biblical narrative.
This sequential curriculum has been shown to boost academic performance, generate desire for life-long learning, and increase graduation rates. Why? First, students receive a more organic education as all subjects are woven into a beautiful tapestry reflecting a unity of knowledge rather than isolated and fragmented systems of knowledge.
Second, our Sequenced Modular Curriculum ™ enhances student learning by providing intensive and focused time on each subject. Time and attention is never divided between five or six subjects at once. During a typical semester in the conventional system, students attend multiple lectures, read multiple books, write multiple essays, and study for multiple exams for courses that are seemingly unrelated to one another. Often, college is more about endurance and survival than learning.
Our program holds that history, composition, and speech are to be an integral part of every academic module and not taught separately. For example, when approaching history, we call upon the wisdom of Neil Postman who believes history should be the focal point when studying each discipline. He writes,
“History is not merely one subject among many that may be taught; every subject has a history, including biology, physics, mathematics, literature, music, and art…To teach, for example, what we know about biology today without also teaching what we once knew, or thought we knew, is to reduce knowledge to a mere consumer product. It is to deprive students of a sense of the meaning of what we know, and of how we know. To teach about the atom without Democritus, to teach about electricity without Faraday, to teach about political science without Aristotle or Machiavelli, to teach about music without Haydn, is to refuse our student’s access to “The Great Conversation.” It is to deny them knowledge of their roots, about which no other social institution is at present concerned.”
We maintain the same principle regarding composition and speech. In the beginning, students are schooled in critical reading, writing and speech and hone these skills in every academic discipline thereafter.
“We have abandoned those ideals once animating our civilization, refusing to learn them anew with each generation. We have assumed their transfer to be automatic.”
~ Davis Norment ~
To become the best students possible, they must study the best works available. Our curriculum contains selections from the Great Books tradition as well as contemporary works rather than the standard textbook-based curriculum. While textbooks come and go, the Great Books are the literary, scientific, political, and social classics that have stood the test of time and are proven to have had the greatest impact on civilization, our understanding of human nature, and the meaning of life. For example, while studying political science, students may read The Republic(Plato), The Prince (Machiavelli), and The Federalist Papers (Hamilton, Madison, and Jay). When studying economics, students may read The Wealth of Nations (Smith), Principles of Political Economy and Taxation (Ricardo), or On Liberty (Mill).
When students engage a Great Books curriculum, they have access to the greatest minds who ever lived and are able to glean the thoughts and information directly from original, authoritative works. Textbooks, on the other hand, are more or less thoughts about thoughts because they filter, interpret, and repackage original works, thus diluting the content. With direct access to many of the great thinkers, students consider original ideas on their own merits.
However, what makes our Great Books curriculum truly exceptional is the amount of time and emphasis placed on studying the greatest book, the Bible. The Bible is the blueprint for reality and the ultimate authoritative source. It has been the single most influential book in the formation of Western Civilization and the basis for remaining a free and civil society. A biblical foundation is essential when studying any literary text. Just because a book is considered a classic does not mean its message and content are beneficial, wise, or infallible. Without an objective standard to judge a book, all conflicting arguments and messages are considered equal and consequently rendered meaningless. Our comprehensive study of the Bible provides students the criteria to judge the content of all literary texts.
“We are not a cog in a machine…not a piece of theater; [we] really can influence history.”
~ Francis Schaeffer ~
We have heard the old adage, “Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man how to fish, and he will eat for a lifetime.” Dorothy Sayers, in her profound essay titled “The Lost Tools of Learning,” applies the same principle to education when she writes,
“Is not the great defect of our education today… that although we often succeed in teaching pupils ‘subjects,’ we fail lamentably on the whole in teaching them how to think: they learn everything, except the art of learning.”
She goes on to write,
“The sole true end of education is simply this—to teach men how to learn for themselves; and whatever instruction fails to do this is effort spent in vain.”
Our entire academic program is structured around this principle: teaching students how to learn in order that they may become life-long students. We believe students are the primary agents in their education. Therefore, in the beginning students participate in an extensive critical thinking seminar. They are schooled in reasoning and analysis through reading, writing, and verbal communication. Once these foundations are laid, the remainder of the program sharpens these skills as students apply the method every day to every subject and every assignment. Consequently, students think their way through subjects and wrestle through ideas for themselves. We aim to develop master thinkers and self-learners, men and women who have fit minds to:
Our “Yada” critical thinking method exhorts freshman to perform graduate-level work. We start slowly and proceed to increasingly difficult texts.
“The comprehensive mind is always dialectical.”
~ Plato ~
Our staff and faculty believe students are to be active learners, not passive recipients of information. Therefore, we take an unconventional approach regarding the classroom. Traditionally, the classroom is reserved for lectures. In our program, lectures take place outside the classroom in the form of assigned readings. Students learn to read texts (primarily the Great Books) as a lecture, given by one of history’s most brilliant minds. When coming to class having read an assigned text, students have already participated in the lecture. This liberates the classroom to be a place for discussion.
Students participate in a variety of forms of discussion, led by faculty who teach by means of asking questions in relation to assigned readings. This style, known as Socratic dialogue, is one of the oldest and most powerful teaching tactics used to foster critical thinking. Socratic classes are conversational and spirited as both students and faculty come together to grapple over the issues of life. The classroom is a meeting of the minds, where student input is just as important as the professor’s. Faculty are instructed not to spoon-feed information, nor freely hand out answers and conclusions. Students arrive at conclusions through probing questions posed by faculty and peers. Jeff Baldwin, in his article titled “Iron Sharpens Iron: Why the Socratic Method Matters So Much”writes,
“As long as faculty freely volunteer answers when the going gets tough, students will learn that they don’t really need to buckle down. But if they find that you really do expect them to self-learn, then they will gradually face up to the fact that they must roll up their sleeves and think hard. When this happens, it becomes the turning point in their education! Students need to own their faith, and they can’t do that as long as someone else rushes in to help them apply that faith.”
This classical style of teaching proves to increase long-term understanding for two reasons. First, it forces students to interact with the information at a deeper level. One cannot claim to know or retain information unless they can explain it to others in their own words. Translating information into one’s own words forces a person to connect the dots and build conceptual bridges.
Secondly, a Socratic format requires mental engagement in and out of the classroom. Students, expecting to be challenged in class, take a more focused and active approach in their studies. Poor arguments, as a result of shoddy reasoning, will be contested by peers and professors. In other words, students must come to class prepared or risk being exposed. This level of accountability demands that students take ownership of their education and become active self-learners.
What makes our Socratic style of teaching exceptional is its firm foundation in the Bible. Jeff Baldwin further explains,
“People may have opinions about various issues, but if discussion is nothing more than an airing of opinions, there is not good reason for any person to change his/her mind. The only hope for fruitful discussion rests squarely on the fact that there is a fixed standard for which to judge opinions. Students from time to time will take unbiblical positions and must be given the freedom to do so, but in the end, all such stances shall be measured according to God’s eternal standards.”
“The aim of a college education is to teach you to know a good man when you see one.”
Education must always ask two fundamental questions.
When Western Civilization embraced the existence of a moral God, education was defined more broadly. It was more than the mere accumulation of information, data, and facts. Historically, education was holistic because it emphasized intellectual, moral, social, and spiritual growth. Classical education took into account a person’s soul. It directed people towards the pinnacle of the epistemological pyramid – Godly wisdom – the moral application of knowledge. It pointed the way to holiness and godliness. In other words, an educated person was more than a specialist.
Turning away from God meant education’s two fundamental questions had to be reevaluated. One can argue that the death of God significantly narrowed the answers to these questions. Therefore, students graduated into society grossly malnourished.
The absence of God meant the educational institution would be compelled to find a new god to unify all its parts. It made a valiant effort to unify around the god of science and progress. However, this god failed to fulfill its promises and the postmodern world lost faith in this deity. Why? Because theology was preordained to be the queen of all thought. Science was to be her servant.
Education, ever since, has struggled to find something grand and inspiring to rally behind. Its failure to do so led the institution to abandon its search and concentrate on finding meaning simply in its parts. So, as for the first question, “What is the purpose of education?” Neil Postman writes,
“The answers are discouraging, and one of them can be inferred from any television commercial urging the young to stay in school. The commercial will either imply or state explicitly that education will help the persevering student to get a good job. And that’s it… To say the least, this is neither grand nor inspiring. The story suggests that the United States is not a culture, but merely an economy, which is the last refuge of an exhausted philosophy of education.”
Some may disagree with the above statement, and this purpose would likely not be stated in a university business plan. However, approach any high school graduate today and ask them why they seek higher education; the majority of responses would be as Neil Postman stated, to get a good job.
With vocation as the centerpiece, the answer to the second question, “What is an educated person?” is tragically reduced to one who possesses skills. This definition of education is terribly bankrupt. It is a soulless form of education. A Ph.D. says nothing about a person’s knowledge of the world. It is indifferent to one’s character or morality (i.e. work ethic, people skills, dependability, honesty, etc.). It is silent when it comes to wisdom.
Rather than developing one aspect of the person, namely, the intellect, the best education is one that develops every aspect of a person. As such, our program includes: a rigorous academic pursuit, spiritual formation, holy and healthy living, and community service and life skills.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has. ~ Margaret Mead
We’ve all heard it — “There’s one answer. It’s in the back of the book. Don’t look, don’t copy!” These words are all too familiar for anyone who’s ever been “educated.” Convergent thinking and uniformity have become the very DNA of our standardized educational culture, however, we’d like to challenge that paradigm.
At the CreatEd Institute, we believe collaboration is the stuff of growth. Life has too many opportunities to demand we fit education within one standardized way of learning. When we atomize, separate, and judge people according to a universal standard, we tend to stifle innovation before it even takes root.
During their time at the CreatEd Institute, students will be given the space to flourish as individual people. We function under the assumption that each person has unique capacities that, when nurtured properly, can ultimately lead to the greater success of a vision, community, or any endeavor when brought together. Instead of fitting them into a box of standardization, students will be encouraged to identify their passion, apply themselves towards mastery, and let their bring distinct abilities fuel the success of the whole. As they practice the skills of entrepreneurship, learning to work as a team will be an integral component of how students interact within the program. Our young people have now entered what experts call the age of collaboration. It’s time we start educating like it.
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.”
~ Mark Twain ~
Nothing broadens your perspective on life and challenges your worldview like traveling abroad. Open your eyes to the richness, beauty, and traditions of other cultures and return home with a substantially greater appreciation.
Our program provides the opportunity to break out of your shell, embrace new cultures, expand your palette, and, yes, even enlarge your resume as companies look for overseas experience.
Travel with purpose as we connect the fine arts module with five weeks in Italy, specifically Rome, Florence, Venice, and Assisi — the center of the High Renaissance period. Experience in person the genius of the Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel and David as well as Raphael’s The School of Athens fresco.
Studies in Italy provide a theoretical and practical overview of the history, philosophy, and most significant productions of Western art. Along the way students will: