Building a foundation for the liberal arts

Last Updated 18 August, 2014

Students are often excited for college and can’t wait to be more independent, but when the reality and hard work of college sets in, they can quickly become overwhelmed. NNU knows this is common for many students and tries to ease stress of transition as well as build a foundation for the rigors of university-level intellectual inquiry. One of the ways NNU helps students transition academically into university life is by requiring that every freshman take a class called Cornerstone. 

Cornerstone helps reinforce the academic tradition of producing informed, well-rounded individuals through liberal arts education. While Cornerstone has been around for a while, this year’s incoming students will experience something a little different. 

NNU Professor of Philosophy and Cornerstone Coordinator Dr. Kevin Timpe explains, “Cornerstone is changing. Rather than having a single faculty for the entire course, students will rotate through eight different faculty members from across the disciplines. Each faculty will focus on the nature of his/her discipline, describe how that discipline contributes to a liberal arts education, model how the disciplines interact and inform each other, and teach how the disciplines mutually address a number of different topics.” 

One particularly interesting addition to the program will be panel discussions between the professors. Timpe elaborates, “Students should also look forward to panel discussions among the faculty that aim to model civil disagreement and debate (something our culture is lacking), as well as expertise in action.”

One of NNU’s goals is to instill “habits of heart, soul, mind, and strength to enable each student to become God’s creative and redemptive agent in the world.” Cornerstone begins this transformation by allowing students to see how each discipline fits into a Christ-centered world and helps them to view academics through the lens of Christ. It is an introduction to how academics are viewed and handled at NNU and allows students to see how various areas of study all come together to further God’s Kingdom.

Cornerstone is a way for students to be introduced to the increased expectations of a university level education academically and intellectually. It is a safe place for them to begin their transition to this higher level of thinking so they can overcome those overwhelming feelings and look to their future with excitement and purpose.