The fragmented landscape of the secular educational system has left many students with a shattered worldview. The modern liberal arts core curriculum contributes to this problem through its scattered approach to the core curriculum: students often take their core classes in any order, perhaps studying ancient Greek civilization, Renaissance literature and 20th century Modern Art concurrently. To add to the incoherency, they are often taught from varying worldview perspectives in each of these classes.
In 1999, concern for students to grasp a biblical, holistic view of the world prompted Belhaven to create its own core curriculum. Belhaven created the Worldview Curriculum (WVC), a core curriculum that focuses on the grand narrative of history, with the humanities woven together and taught chronologically from a Christian perspective. The WVC focuses on integrating the arts, literature, history, and philosophy into a seamless, chronological study that hinges upon a biblical worldview. This holistic approach to education stands in stark contrast to most colleges and universities today.
Belhaven's Worldview Curriculum (WVC), which is required of all entering freshmen and sophomores, helps students to see the "big picture," with classes historically related to one another. For example, when students study the Renaissance time period in the WVC, they read Renaissance literature, view Renaissance art, and relate them to the historical context of the Renaissance. This enables the students to understand that all of history has a meaningful context. The philosophy portion of the WVC engages students to think critically through the lens of the biblical worldview. Through this presentation of history's major themes, students understand how ideas and events fit together, how conflicting worldviews have developed and how a Christ-centered understanding of our world has remained consistent throughout the ages.
The core curriculum should be more than an aggregate of loosely connected courses taken over a period of four years. The Belhaven Worldview Curriculum (WVC) seamlessly intertwines literature, history, art, music, and philosophy in a Biblically centered course of study for all freshmen and sophomores. By teaching these subjects in the context of one another, the grand story of humanity and our place in it is understood. The classes are taught chronologically, so the first two years of college progresses from ancient civilization to modern times. For example, as the Renaissance is studied, a greater appreciation for the art, music and literature of the period is gained while learning to apply a Christian perspective (philosophy) to all of it. Viewing literature, history, art, music, and philosophy as an organic whole sharpens our image of God's overarching design. Belhaven's Worldview Curriculum merges the various pieces of our world into a coherent whole.
For real-life perspectives on this uniquely Christian curriculum, check what our students and alumni have to say about the worldview curriculum at Belhaven University. Hover your mouse over each photo to read student comments. You can also download the Worldview Curriculum brochure (PDF).
Sarah Vanbiber, student
Sarah, on "What is the WVC?"
"The WVC enables students to see how various disciplines have been affected by others; how pieces of history are not merely facts to be memorized but are made up of complex and multi-dimensional layers of culture, belief, and practice. The WVC enables students to learn how all areas of culture and humanity are connected. It allows students to piece together the information that they learn from one class period to the next, gathering not a scattered collection of information but rather a holistic understanding of the 'big picture.'"
Nathan McNeill '03
Nathan, on the strengths of the WVC:
"The WVC doesn't contextualize your education for you (you still have to be paying attention to get value), but what it does do is put the ideas, events, and artifacts of history in close enough proximity to each other to make the relationships plain. Unless you see two things side by side, you may never recognize that they are the same."
Matt Quarterman '03
Matt, on a favorite WVC memory:
"I love remembering the conversation I had in the dorm at 1 a.m. with a fullback, arguing whether Oedipus' fate was his own fault or the gods'. That's the kind of thing you just don't get outside of WVC, exposing the whole spectrum of the student body to the same high-octane stuff."
Annie Roberts Gundy '03
Annie, on her WVC "light bulb moment:"
"It was sometime in my third semester, when I went to see my friend who lived in Chicago. We went to the Art Institute and I started pointing out certain aspects of the artwork, and then talked about the history, music, and theology of that time period. It made me very excited to make the connections! VERY cool."
Phillip Holmes, student
Phillip, on how the WVC has changed him:
"I had no idea what a worldview was when I entered Belhaven. The summer before I came to Belhaven I had a conversation with a very intelligent but misguided unbeliever. He mentioned Deism and other beliefs to describe what he believed and I had no idea what he was talking about. Because of WVC I've been equipped to participate in discussions like this."