Classical Pedagogy

The Value of a Classical Christian
Liberal Arts Degree

Our classical Christian studies degrees contribute toward the moral and academic development of the student in a manner unique to modern colleges. This is the education of great men such as Marcus Aurelius, John Calvin, Isaac Newton, Franz Joseph Haydn, and Thomas Jefferson. These men, all champions of Western culture, exhibit the type of influence that persons trained to think liberally – literally, “freely,” able to think independently – can have on culture. In this tradition, New Aberdeen College cultivates virtue and wisdom to present our students mature in Christ (Col. 1:28).

This education’s contribution to one’s personal development comes first. When properly understood, a classical, liberal arts education develops the cardinal virtues: prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance. When Christian scholarship elevates the liberal arts, that list expands to other virtues, namely faith, hope, and charity. This ethical component is unique among educational institutions in contemporary settings, but it is the highest expression of the classical mode of education. This ethical dimension undergirds the classical liberal arts education, producing virtuous students.
In addition to virtue, a liberal arts degree inculcates wisdom and contributes to the students’ professional development. We embolden young scholars with a remarkable breadth of knowledge, rhetorical, and analytical skills. This education equips them for a life of independent, adaptable productivity.
  • Mastery of rhetoric helps us communicate with one another either in large or intimate settings with the goal of persuading our audience. Speaking and writing well is of inestimable, timeless value – a key component of successful leadership. 

  • The strong emphasis in philosophy, which encompasses aesthetics, ethics, economics and political theory, enables professionals to think more critically, thus being able to solve complex problems more effectively. Training in philosophy also equips us to navigate the maze of contemporary thought trends shrewdly.

  • A strong view of history emboldens students to anticipate patterns of human behavior, discern the outcomes that may proceed from a given course of action, and act decisively in occasions of both hazard and opportunity. 
  • Studying great literature, fine arts, and classical music – those areas where beauty, truth, and goodness often most clearly reside – amplifies the study of humanity, produces empathy, and trains us  to pursue, enjoy, and emulate those transcendent qualities which are perfected in God, and which are his signature upon creation and the best works of man. 

  • Mathematics played a major role in the quadrivium for just cause. As the ancients discovered and modern science confirms, God built this world with mathematical principles from the atomic to the universal levels. The liberal arts graduate attains mathematical competency for both everyday life and the pursuit of many technical professions.

  • The study of language develops a more nuanced and sophisticated view of our world, and enhances our rhetorical capabilities. Reading the classics in their original languages opens their full wealth to student of liberal arts. 

When studied properly, these fields collectively prepare our students to think critically, analytically, and contextually; the liberal arts grant wisdom. This course of study is a rare gift among contemporary educational options.
An education in the liberal arts also cultivates resilient, transferable skills that employers desire. With the combined elements of transcendent virtues and academic knowledge, the student will outshine his competitors in the job market. Savvy businesses are advertising to hire graduates of liberal arts colleges who can be versatile, communicative, and quickly master the particular skills of the job.
While we are confident that our academic program will train students for nearly any vocation, we recognize the need to give them a path into the job market. New Aberdeen College’s vision includes three pillars, including “cultivating industriousness,” a term that encompasses the ability to accomplish meaningful work. We will equip students with interview skills, resume building, career counseling, and other valuable tools to facilitate their entry into the economy.
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What Distinguishes New Aberdeen from other Christian Liberal Arts Colleges?

Many colleges that call themselves “liberal arts” are not, in fact, so.

Contemporary “liberal arts” degrees are typically less discreet in their course selection because the term has become an umbrella for any course that is not an expression of mechanical or fine arts (e.g. brick masonry, sculpture, painting, etc. ). Modern curricula are rarely rooted in classics and Great Books but focus instead on contemporary theories, most famously Critical Theory. Testing is content-oriented rather than dialogical in nature. The secular academy typically indoctrinates leftist ideologies rather than creating independent thinking scholars. Altogether, these trends have given the title “liberal arts” a negative reputation. New Aberdeen College, however, gladly embraces the rich academic tradition of the historic liberal arts, which is a valuable gift from our forefathers and the ancients, to the benefit of our students, our society, and future generations.