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Senior Seminar Guidelines:
(Guidelines formally approved on October 19, 1993)
A. Time block: four semester hours in the senior year
An overarching objective of a liberal arts education at Hope College is to develop an awareness of Christian ways of living and of how they relate to the the variety of commitments that people make and assume. Although students cannot achieve this large objective in any one course, and all college courses should help students in this regard, the Senior Seminar is specifically designed to do so and should serve as the capstone of students' attempts to do so throughout four years of undergraduate study.
The specific purpose of the Senior Seminars is to confront questions of value and belief in a practical and concrete way and to clarify how the Christian faith can inform a philosophy for living. Emphasizing neither a specific methodology nor specific course content, the Seminars are distinct from other courses in deliberately raising fundamental questions about human values and in combining those questions with a challenge to students to reflect on their own choices--how they have come to make them and how they might affect the future.
C. Any course qualifying as a Senior Seminar will assist students to:
1. acquire knowledge of Christian ways of being, knowing, and living.
2. articulate their own value commitments and discuss them in light of Christianity.
3. acquire an awareness and tolerance of differing values that people affirm and live by.
4. increase their ability to discuss differences of value openly, sensitively, and reasonably.
5. acquire an ability to reflect on their own philosophy for life and to write about it in a personal, coherent, and disciplined manner.
D. The professor teaching a Senior Seminar will:
1. serve as a resource person and critic;
2. present students with possible models and methods by which they can formulate a coherent philosophy for life (key questions related to formulating a philosophy for life might be: What is a human self? What, if anything, has gone wrong with humankind? How are we able to fulfill our value commitments? How is human behavior explainable by an individual's philosophy for life?);
3. assist in and comment on the process by which the students develop their philosophy for life.