‘Faith, Roots and Reason’ Defines General Education Curriculum

12/2/2020

Palm Beach Atlantic has renamed its general education courses “Faith, Roots and Reason,” emphasizing the value of the unique curriculum.

The name points to three critical aspects of PBA’s transformative liberal arts education: faith formation, foundational knowledge and critical thinking, said Faculty Senate President Dr. Elizabeth Stice. General education courses are courses such as sciences, humanities, composition and Exploring the Bible that all students complete.

PBA’s Faith, Roots and Reason curriculum is distinct in that it’s designed to span students’ entire undergraduate careers, said Dr. Jenifer Elmore, an English professor and 2013 winner of the Corts Award for Outstanding Teaching. That design allows students to incorporate skills taught in their general education courses with the skills gained in their majors.

“Faith comes first, in the name and at PBA,” Elmore said. “Faith is the beginning point and the base underneath everything else.”

Said Kyla Gates, a biology major: “The program here at PBA is very special compared to other courses at other universities because we’re able to form views on ourselves and the world based on a Christian perspective.”

The “roots” component of the curriculum focuses on the history and values that have shaped Christians, America and the world, said history Professor Dr. Gary Poe, a 2010 Corts Award winner.

Reason “gives us those tools” for critical thinking, which is an integral part of the curriculum, said biology Professor Dr. Tom Chesnes, a 2015 Corts Award winner.

President Dr. Debra A. Schwinn had charged the faculty with rebranding the curriculum, and the Senate convened a task force of award-winning faculty members: Drs. Elmore, Chesnes, Suzanne Cardona, Beate Rodewald, Gary Poe, Tom St. Antoine, Cora Barnhart, Stephanie Bennett and Linda Sedlacek.