The mission of the communication arts and sciences department
The department of communication arts and sciences seeks to understand, engage, and renew human communication from a Reformed Christian perspective.
We encourage and equip students to become "agents of renewal in the academy, church, and society." In order to strive for this worthy goal, we help students acquire the knowledge, understanding, critical abilities, and practical skills necessary to be faithful as well as successful communicators.
We nurture students to become passionate, informed Christians whose convictions spring from their wisdom. Our vigorous teaching promotes lifelong service, explores the world's beauty, speaks comfort as well as justice to the world's pain, uncovers arrogance and folly in all of its guises, and promotes God's healing in a broken world.
The above paragraphs, paraphrased from Calvin College's mission statement, direct us to realize such a worthy vision in the lives of our students. We are here to serve our students as individually gifted, called persons, not as mere "majors" or consumers of information. So we listen to students, challenge them, help them to discover their gifts, and encourage them to cultivate servant hearts. And we learn from them every day.
In one sense, communication embraces all of life. After all, communication permeates nearly every human activity. Our interest in communication therefore is interdisciplinary, historical, and richly textured. We study the roots of the field in Ancient Greek rhetoric and theatre, modern expressions in film, video, and radio, contemporary forms of persuasion such as advertising and public relations, and speech and hearing therapy. We teach writing, producing, editing, performing, listening, and celebrating.
We also realize that there are no quick fixes to the problems inherent in human communication. Good skills are necessary but insufficient. Human beings also need the virtuous attitude of the suffering servant, hearts of love, and even what the Apostle Paul calls the "mind of Christ."
We are "Reformed" Christians who owe much to the Protestant Reformation, the early church, and especially the Scriptures. At the heart of the Reformed faith is the biblical belief that there are few tidy distinctions between "sacred" and "secular." Some students are called to "Christian" communication fields and others are called to mainstream communication. One is not better than the other one—instead, such distinctions are matters of calling and giftedness. God wants followers to faithfully serve others in all tasks. God is sovereign. but humans are caretakers of God's good but broken world. God opens and closes doors of opportunity. Our task is to discern and act wisely in whatever places God calls us, developing our gifts along the way.
The CAS department therefore hires faculty based as much on their commitment to our shared vision as on their particular expertise. We look for colleagues who are scholar-learners, who humbly apply their faith to their communication, and who responsibly see the full Creation as the Lord's for service rather than their own for selfish ends. We hope that students will discover in the CAS department not a bunch of individual professors and staff whose only interest is their next book, speech, program or production, but instead who desire to be a community of mentor-teachers seeking together what Paul called "a more excellent way." We invite you to join us in this journey of faithfulness, servanthood, and excellence.