I graduated from Cedarville in 2009 with a B.A. in Psychology, and a minor in French and the Honors Program. Currently, I am a graduate student at Northern Illinois University working on my PhD in Clinical Psychology.
For four years of my life I returned to Cedarville in August to hear Dr. Brown tell us in chapel that Cedarville students are the essence of the university. He said that during the summers, when the students literally scatter all over the world, the university itself seems void of life.
The students are Cedarville. Cedarville is about the students.
As I read about the upcoming changes and hear the voices of my fellow alums, my heart sinks as I realize that this may not be true. Maybe Cedarville is not about the students. Maybe it is about the faculty. Maybe it is about internal workings that are not disclosed to the rest of us. Maybe it is about finances. Maybe it is about an inability to resolve conflicts in a Christ-like way. Whatever it is about, I can no longer say, without a doubt, that it is about the students.
The philosophy-driven Honors Program taught me how to engage with the world. Although it did not come without its ‘sticky’ issues and several critical debates that were left largely unconcluded, I learned. In Dr. Mills’ class, I learned to think critically and to know where I stand. When I went to France as a missionary, I had already thought through the postmodern values held by the young adults I befriended. When other Christian college graduates struggled with issues of God’s will, I had already been faced with the question “Does God plan my future, or does He only know about it?” When I started graduate school, I felt that I had a knowledge-base that is rarely, if ever, really taught to undergraduates. And I had learned all of this in a safe environment where I could integrate my faith, myself, and psychology. I can only imagine that those who majored in philosophy have much more to say about the value of their courses.
Philosophy offers challenges, especially to a Christian university. But philosophy also offers the opportunity to fortify students so that they are equipped to deal with a thinking world. I am unclear about the reasoning for ending the philosophy program at Cedarville, but I am sure that this is not the answer to whatever events have led to this point. I am disappointed by this seemingly rash decision regardless of the University’s ultimate motive.