Guidelines for Developing a Christian Mind (DCM) Proposals:
Identity. DCM—Developing a Christian Mind—is the first-year interim course for all Calvin students. It’s the gateway to the core curriculum as well as the perspectival elements of the majors and professional programs. A few sections of DCM are also offered in the semesters for students unable to take the course during the interim.
Purpose. The purpose of DCM is to give all first-year students a concentrated introduction to Calvin’s educational project in word and by example. It is also designed to offer students an opportunity for in-depth work on a specific topic with a professor during their first year. By bringing both faith and disciplinary knowledge to bear on the sectional topics, DCM anticipates what Calvin College hopes to produce at graduation—students who are able to think about issues in their professions and the world at large with an informed Christian mind.
Methods. DCM explores Calvin’s tradition, mission and educational emphases through common reading material and several plenary meetings; it explores the implications of faith for some issue under current public debate through focused sectional readings, discussions, projects, DVDs and the like as selected and organized by the sectional instructor.
Advice for Course Proposals. The basic pedagogical strategy of DCM is this: to take an issue under current public debate and to develop a deeper understanding of it through the rich resources of the academic disciplines and the Christian tradition. Course topics should be engaging and fairly focused, so they can be surveyed at some depth in the three weeks of interim instruction; they should also lend themselves to analysis under categories suggested by the Christian faith—that is, topics where one could expect to get interesting answers to questions concerning how the world is set up, the human condition, the source of evil and distortion in human life, the remedy proposed for a broken world, specific recommendations for restoration or the positive development of creation, and the like. Issues “under current public debate” can be taken from recent developments--like globalization, green architecture, localism, the conflict between Islam and the West--or they can be issues of perennial interest (and therefore of current interest)--like sex and gender, art and faith, or religion and the state.