Augustine College is an alternative to the norm in higher education – an alternative that aims higher.
Today universities and colleges promise to give the student an
“informed acquaintance with the major approaches to knowledge, so
that students have an understanding of what kinds of knowledge
exist.” They seek to give students “basic literacy in major
forms of intellectual discourse.”
But what questions about that plan should the student first ask before going off to such a university?
What are the commitments of that intellectual discourse? Does it
exist because it serves the student, or is this merely the activity of
a professional class that has managed to establish itself in the
university? Do those teaching such knowledge believe that it is true?
Isn’t the knowledge worth studying the kind that is true?
Why become literate in “approaches to knowledge” based upon
the idea (so widely accepted at universities today) that nothing is
That is merely a taste of the trouble that faces any student ready to choose a college or university today. A college must truly be built on higher principles.
CHOOSING A COLLEGE IN THE 21ST CENTURY
Universities commonly present themselves as offering “excellence in higher education,” breathlessly promising just what the student needs “to become an educated person.” But there is not a single professor today who believes that in our divided world there are not profoundly different, deeply rival ways to conceive what education is.
Why is the student offered “excellence in higher education” as if these rival visions did not exist? Can that promise be kept without some explanation of the basic differences in the way education is understood?
Why are universities concerned to give the student an “informed acquaintance with the major approaches to knowledge” but not an informed acquaintance with the major approaches to education, one of which a college must choose to shape the student's mind?
Put simply, universities and colleges today should have an ‘Ingredients’ label listing their contents, clearly displaying their philosophical commitments in the current debate about the meaning of education.
If it matters to be an informed consumer, it matters in education most of all.
AN ALTERNATIVE, CHRISTIAN, LIBERAL ARTS COLLEGE
Augustine College accepts the model of education that reigned for millennia, until the modern age began to dismantle that tradtion.
We believe in questions as if there were answers.
We believe in thinking as if there were purpose.
We believe in learning as if there were wisdom.
We believe in knowledge as if there were truth.
Augustine College is an alternative to the many colleges and universities today at which professors routinely view answers as mere choices, understand man as a creature who has no purpose that education might inform, count wisdom as just a cloak for the vested interests of a powerful class, and consider truth an illusion that we should all see through, to the extent that we are educated.
Augustine College is a Christian college, open to non-believers but unapologetically Christian. We believe that faith is rational: reason shows man that he must have faith.
We believe that there is more than one source of learning: the senses, evidence, experiment, reason, data, inspiration, faith, revelation. Each and every one feeds the true understanding of all things.
We accept all of the books given to us by God: the book of nature, of human history, and of God’s revelation in the Scriptures and in the very life of Christ – unless they are rejected, books that can be read and understood by all.
Augustine College is a Liberal Arts college. It teaches the subjects that were the foundation of education for centuries, before education succumbed to the acids of modernity.
These subjects have been known as the Liberal Arts:
‘liberal’ because of their association with freedom,
‘arts’ because (like the art of medicine) they involve
knowledge applied to life. In this we follow Augustine, who wrote:
“What concerns the body is called medicine; what concerns the soul is called education. Medicine includes everything which either preserves or restores the body’s health. Education, [on the other hand] serves to restore mental health ... without which physical health is of no help in banishing our troubles....”
What does it mean, to be educated? It is to know how to live.
Augustine College is a college offering two brief 4-month programmes. Study the ANCIENT WORLD, the MODERN WORLD, or both. Our aim is to use these 4-month blocks of time to furnish each student with the building blocks – the basic questions and key principles – of a true education, a process that (if not derailed or abandoned) will in time lead him or her to wisdom.
Even the brief months of the ANCIENT WORLD programme offered in the fall is time enough to equip a student with the key issues of the great heritage of Christian wisdom that secular society has rejected and, in so doing, lost its way. Come back for the MODERN WORLD programme in the winter and learn how to contend with the challenges to Christian thought that have swayed so many.
Today the world has great need of those who know what is good, are motivated to defend it, and can do so effectively and intelligently. Students who leave Augustine College go on to engage the culture of our day in reasoned and confident argument, because the tools that we have placed at their disposal are the most powerful tools in history.
photo by seier seier seier