The University recently revised the core curriculum, and the new core is effective for the Fall 2020 semester. The core curriculum is a collection of courses common to all majors that sharpen students’ intellectual skills, help them critically engage with new ideas, guide them to articulate biblical perspectives on cultural forces, events, and ideas, and compel them to display virtues that are consistent with biblical teaching.
The Core Curriculum Committee reviewed the current core—which last received major updates in 2006—in light of societal and cultural forces and the particular nuances of the present generation of students. As a result, all previous core courses were revisited. Some were replaced while others were modified.
On the whole, the Liberal Arts and Sciences courses have an increased emphasis on the human condition, perspectives on diversity, and the curriculum beyond the western tradition. The Divinity courses have been resequenced and modified to help students engage more deeply with the issues facing them today.
In order to help students in each program think more specifically about non-major courses that impact their field, one additional feature of the new core is that each academic program also selects a School of Divinity course and School of Liberal Arts and Sciences course that best supports the learning outcomes of the program.
Below is a sample of the most notable changes in the new core curriculum:
The freshman year begins with a Life Management Seminar which introduces topics relevant to the first year college student including wellness, time management, and personal finance.
The first year also sees the return of a course that provides a theological basis for the calling of a student. In Life and Calling students are taught to what it means to live faithfully as servants of God, with particular emphasis on the calling of the student. The course engages students in the biblical and theological rationale for biblical education and Christian discipleship.
Replacing the traditional speech course, Introduction to Communications prepares students to effectively and professionally communicate across many mediums such as public speaking, emails, social media, and more.
A course in US Government and Civics provides students with a foundational understanding of the United States government and the corresponding political processes and dynamics. The course includes special emphasis on the responsibilities of Christians living in a republic.
The option for a program to require either General Psychology or Human Development provides students with a foundational understanding of human psychology and development
The Narrative of Redemption course has been modified and repositioned to provide an earlier emphasis on students understanding the unfolding of God’s redemptive story from creation to new creation. Students will understand the fall into sin, the plan of redemption through Christ Jesus, and their responsibilities in the effective communication of the message.
The Bible sequence Pentateuch, Old Testament, Gospels, New Testament now contain a stronger emphasis on the genres of each portion of scripture and the related hermeneutical considerations for that genre.
The Literature and Arts sequence familiar to many Cairn graduates has been rebuilt into an omnibus sequence that provides significant historical and cultural factors that influenced the worldviews of artists, architects, and authors as demonstrated through their works.
In the STEM course Mathematical and Scientific Reasoning, students study selected mathematical and scientific topics that expand a student’s understanding of the nature and scope of mathematics, engage a student in an evaluation of the philosophical foundation of science, and compel a student to think biblically about science and mathematics.
Biblical Perspectives on Contemporary Issues is a newly designed course that helps students think about and address contemporary issues in our world with a biblical worldview. This theology course directly takes on the issues of the day such as sexuality, gender identity, and race
Apologetics remains the capstone of the core. This theology course continues to help students to pull together all that they have learned in their divinity, arts and sciences, and programmatic major courses. In this course students explore how they can respond to the historical and contemporary challenges to the Christian faith.
Interested in learning how these changes came about? Listen to the Cairn 10 Podcast “Down to the Core.”
In March 2023, Pennsylvania lawmakers introduced the Compassionate Aid in Dying bill (HB543/SB816). The bill is modeled after Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act, which has largely set the framework, in