Monday, February 1, 2010

Tom Lindsay to Hold Discussion on Mission Statement

On Tuesday, February 2nd at 2:00pm in Shimer's Cinderella Lounge, Tom Lindsay will hold a discussion on Shimer College's mission statement. I encourage all to attend, especially alumni/friends who have yet to hear Tom's talking points. To put the discussion in context, here's our current mission statement:

The mission of Shimer College is education —education for active citizenship in the world. Education is more than the acquisition of factual knowledge or the mastery of vocational skills. It is the process leading away from passivity, beyond either unquestioning acceptance of authority or its automatic mistrust, and towards informed, responsible action.

Here are Tom's suggested "guideposts" for a completely new mission statement:

Liberal education is an education for, through, and in liberty.
--"For"--the highest freedom is the freedom of the mind, that is, freedom from bondage to unexamined assumptions (e.g., partisan politics, ideology, and political correctness).
--"Through"--through close study and free, wide-ranging discussion of the greatest works of Western Civilization, students gain the depth and breadth essential to a free mind.
--"In"--the practice of questioning the competing arguments of the greatest minds regarding life's most serious questions nurtures and, in time, comes to embody the qualities of mind and character essential to intellectual freedom.
In the course of examining the whole of existence, Shimer recognizes that, to be true to its quest, it must likewise examine its act of examining; that is, must explore the context in which its inquiry takes place. Accordingly, Shimer studies the Founding documents--the Declaration, U.S. Constitution, and The Federalist--as well as the other original sources that both informed the Founding and, later, reacted to it.
We at Shimer both acknowledge and appreciate the fact that the very possibility of an education for intellectual liberty depends on our being situated in a system of ordered political liberty such as we enjoy in American democracy.

And finally, here's an excerpt of a direct transcript of an interview with Tom Lindsay, explaining his suggestions.

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