March 28, 2006
Whitworth One of 10 Colleges Featured in New Book
A new book on how to create an effective and exemplary undergraduate college education cites Whitworth as an institution that successfully achieves holistic student development. Putting Students First: How Colleges Develop Students Purposefully is based on research conducted at 10 faith-based colleges in the United States and presents a framework to help faculty and administrators create college environments that foster students' intellectual, moral, spiritual and vocational development.
The book's authors analyzed nearly 250 surveys and conducted 30 interviews with chief academic officers of faith-based colleges and universities, before selecting 10 to visit for in-depth analysis. In addition to Whitworth, the institutions featured in the book are Bethune-Cookman College, Creighton University, Hamline University, Hope College, Pacific Lutheran University, College of Wooster, Union University, University of Dayton and Villanova University.
''Faculty members at these schools stretch and challenge students," says Larry Braskamp, professor-emeritus of education at Loyola University and one of the book's authors. "These schools are not boot camps; they honor the dignity of the individual student. They have created a community on campus that fosters holistic development."
Braskamp co-authored Putting Students First with Lois Calian Trautvetter, associate director of the Higher Education Administration and Policy Program and lecturer in the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University, and Kelly Ward, associate professor of educational leadership and counseling psychology at Washington State University. The project was funded by the Lilly Endowment Inc. and the John Templeton Foundation.
In the book the authors explore the areas of campus culture, curriculum, co-curriculum and community at the 10 institutions and draw from the colleges' successes to develop a framework for creating campus communities that help students find purpose and meaning in life.
In Putting Students First, Whitworth Vice President for Student Life Kathleen Storm states that Whitworth strives to educate its students for adaptation and transformation, and that students need to be prepared to face all of the world's challenges with a sense of humility and self-understanding.
The authors cite Whitworth as achieving these goals through the college's three Core\Worldview Studies classes, which "emphasize the centrality of a broader worldview in understanding reality and one's place and purpose in the universe," and through community-service projects, which allow students to give back to their communities while taking risks and learning about their roles in the world.
Putting Students First highlights Whitworth's emphasis on faculty members as role models and the college's tight-knit community of students and professors that extends far beyond the classroom. At the beginning of chapter one, a Whitworth faculty member states his purpose as a professor at Whitworth: "I came here to invest in my students." Another faculty member expresses his view of the campus community by stating, "The genius of Whitworth as a place to work and study is that there are more models than molds."
The book also cites Whitworth as being successful in its support of the professional and personal development of its faculty, in part through programs offered by the college's Weyerhaeuser Center for Faith & Learning. Each summer the center collaborates with the academic-affairs office to present a workshop for new faculty that helps them better understand their vocation as scholar-teachers at Whitworth.
According to the authors of Putting Students First, the 10 colleges featured in the book were selected not only because they prepare students to be vocationally competitive locally, nationally and internationally, but also because they surpass traditional ideas of what a college education should provide.
"These colleges not only desire to help students be successful, they argue for more: they intentionally assist students to ask and 'struggle' with the fundamental questions in life while they are in college," the authors state in the book's introduction.
Putting Students First is available from Anker Publishing at www.ankerpub.com or (877) 212-3838.
Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts college affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). The college enrolls 2,400 students in more than 50 undergraduate and graduate programs.
Julie Riddle, public information officer, Whitworth College, (509) 777-3729 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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