How do you make education not just exist in a vacuum? Colleges wrestle with this question daily, as students often keep their educational curiosity limited to the hours they spend in the classroom. The faculty of Christendom, however, have found solutions to this problem, through academic on-campus activities, such as “Thomistic Tuesdays” and “Quodlibets.” By extending the conversations of the classroom into the rest of a student’s life, it helps them to become more engaged students, and individuals, as a result.
These initiatives were begun a few years ago by philosophy professor Mike Brown. Seeing the need for more academic extracurricular activities on campus, Brown started student-faculty luncheons. Catering the lunches himself, Brown invited faculty and students to spend an hour at lunch interacting and discussing a selected reading. Students and faculty wrestled with the big questions of these texts together, engaging them intellectually and also bringing them closer together outside the classroom.
Eventually, these luncheons evolved into what Brown calls “Thomistic Tuesdays.” They follow the same format, but involve a selected reading from St. Thomas Aquinas at each lunch. Students have found themselves engaging with philosophical and theological texts more often now, while also taking advantage of the generous time the faculty offer the students on campus.
In addition to these lunchtime gatherings, Brown started hosting “Quodlibets” for the students. Following in the footsteps of medieval universities, the Quodlibets involve a panel of faculty who answer any question offered by the students in attendance. These questions range from historical, to philosophical, to theological, and more, with students asking insightful questions that shape their minds and their lives.
Both of these new initiatives are an extension of the personalized attention that exists at the heart of Christendom’s liberal arts education. Smaller class sizes allow students to ask questions of professors at any time, and generous office hours bring students and faculty together in a shared intellectual pursuit. Students grow close to faculty during their four years, seeing them as true mentor figures in their pursuit of the true, the good, and the beautiful. Thomistic Tuesdays and Quodlibets make these bonds even tighter.
At Christendom, education is not kept in a vacuum — it is a way of life. The liberal arts education, combined with a committed faculty, cause students to grow in knowledge and skills not found at other colleges and universities, making them uniquely prepared for any future that lies ahead.