It is a common joke around campus that Calvin can’t explain anything about itself in less than 40 pages.
Recently the college has been proving the stand-up comics wrong.
First, there was a new one-sentence mission statement that most alumni agree describes the college exactly: “Calvin College equips students to think deeply, to act justly and to live whole-heartedly as Christ’s agents of renewal in the world.”
Now, there is the “educational framework.”
Uh-oh, that sounds like another 40-pager. But behold, a mere five-page document that details what Calvin thinks the mark of a graduate should be.
You can see for yourself at here (and you can download and print the document, too).
The framework is the result of a lot of careful work by a coalition of Calvin faculty members, interested in clarifying what this entire faith-and-learning effort is intended to produce.
In summary, there are four all-college goals: learning that is deep, broad and engaged; faith that is informed, courageous and lived; citizenship that is local, global and Christlike; and vocation that is responsive, discerning and dynamic.
Then, a list of outcomes is available, descriptors that show the goals above have been reached—actions such as “read and listen carefully, critically, reflectively and charitably” and “display virtues such as faith, hope and honesty in academic, personal and communal formation.”
How we help students reach these four goals by the time they graduate is suggested in the next section, “means to ends,” with methods like “complete an internship,” “faithfully attend chapel, LOFT or a Bible study” and “take a course for no other reason than that it sounds interesting and challenging.”
And finally, there’s assessment, with each year a cross-divisional group of students, faculty and staff taking one of the goals and investigating effectiveness.
In my years as alumni director I’ve had the privilege to talk with and interview many Calvin alumni from many decades in many occupations in many locations. The characteristics of a Calvin graduate as described in the framework ring true to my listening ears.
I wonder if they resonate with you.
Take a look at the framework and let us know what you think at firstname.lastname@example.org. Do you recognize these descriptions of a Calvin graduate in yourself and in other alumni you know?
In my opinion, graduates of a college who display these traits ought to be highly respected and sought-after friends, employees, colleagues and leaders.
Yes, just like many Calvin alumni I know.