Faculty Essays

Seeing the Big Picture

Liberal arts education is broad-based and incorporates many areas of academics. It is a “big picture” approach to learning. Liberal studies are about developing intellectual capacities and gaining broad knowledge to prepare, not just for a variety of jobs, but for a lifetime of learning and growth. Life is not about just one topic, but is a mixture of many subjects that intersect at various levels. A liberal arts education helps students to develop the critical thinking skills necessary to maneuver through the complex issues life throws at us. It provides a foundation on which we can stand for all educational purposes.

Why should you take history if your field is not that? Why take math if you want to study history? Why take science when your interest is in business? The answer is found in the interdisciplinary nature of life itself. When you learn about one area, you are strengthening yourself in all areas. So consider some of the benefits of this “big picture” approach to education.

What can a liberal studies education do for me?

  • It will help me develop a stronger mind. As physical exercise strengthens the various parts of the body, so a broad-based education strengthens all parts of the mind. It will affect me intellectually and emotionally, and provide motivation for success in whatever I do with my life.
  • By strengthening my mind in one area of study (e.g., math), my mind will be able to grasp ideas in other areas of study, because learning by analogy is a primary way to understand concepts.
  • I will learn to think for myself, to discern matters of life with wisdom and proper analysis. This is far more important than simply receiving a grade on a report card. A liberal arts education will help prepare me to think critically for the rest of my life.
  • The world will become more understandable as I gain knowledge of a variety of issues and topics. I will understand that all knowledge intersects and is part of the entirety of what life and this world are about.
  • I will learn how to learn. I will realize that true education is not about just getting a grade or passing a test, but is about a lifetime commitment to learning and growth. By applying myself now to my studies, the groundwork will be laid for learning at every stage of my life. The ability to learn will be crucial to success, no matter what vocation I choose.
  • I will gain a context for the knowledge of God and this world. I will be able to see the big picture of life better. I will have the tools necessary for exploring this world more effectively. Most importantly, I will be able to more effectively think about God.
  • I will have the tools for working in a variety of jobs in life. Critical thinking underlies virtually any job that I will perform effectively.

What can I do to acquire a liberal studies education?

  • I can bring my own learning and experience to the table. Learning is not just about what others can give to me, but what I can teach others. My experience is important for helping others in their understanding of this world. My personal experience is part of the learning experiences of others.
  • I can use my abilities to serve others. My education is not for the purpose of intellectual brow-beating and arrogant bragging. It is for the purpose of understanding God, His world, and helping others to navigate through this life. The proper application of learning will help to make me a better servant of both God and others.

At Florida College, our primary concern is spiritual. We believe that God is at the center of all knowledge and learning. This is why studying the Bible is vital. Of all the subjects that you will study, the Bible will always be the most important. God’s truth holds all areas of study and knowledge together, and provides the true meaning to life and beyond.

Dr. Doy Moyer
Professor of Philosophy