The liberal arts, soft skills and a “storm-hardy” faith

A recent piece in the Chronicle highlighted Bates College and other institutions that provide opportunities for real-life work as an important part of the undergraduate experience. Bethel University, a member of NetVUE located in St. Paul, Minnesota, offers another solid example of how faith, work and the liberal arts can come together in a dynamic way. They highlight how the “timeless tradition” of the liberal arts can be married to a 21st century education that instills the “soft skills” desired by companies such as Google:

Among the eight most important qualities of Google’s top managers, seven were soft skills, including areas like communication, listening, empathy, and critical thinking and problem solving.

An education at Bethel, however, reaches beyond these “marketable skills.” As a Christian community, a Bethel education emphasizes “what it means to be a flourishing human being, loved by God, within the realities of our world, and not simply a piece of hardware whose value is only determined by its potential to produce capital for corporations,” according to a recent article on their website. It’s a potent combination.

From “The Value of Liberal Arts” at Bethel University

President Jay Barnes is known for saying that “Bethel aims to graduate students with a ‘storm-hardy’ faith.” This kind of faith:

is anchored in an authentic relationship with Jesus, grounded in biblical truth, and naturally integrated into every area of study and experience. It’s robust, resilient, and real.

Embracing the tradition of the liberal arts and celebrating “marketable” skills while at the same time staying true to their Christian mission is a hallmark of Bethel University, as it is of many members of NetVUE. For a lively articulation of how Bethel does it, take a look at this new piece on their website.

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