A cautious “yes” for Pro-Tech

Megan De Graff-Staff Writer

Dordt College is set to become the first Christian college to offer a variety of two-year technical degrees and programs. This fall, the Pro-Tech program will enroll students into classes and internships that help grow both their technical and humanitarian skills and knowledge.

The key point that makes this program different from state college and tech school options is the opportunity to learn skills in an environment that centers around Christ—Dordt’s trademark holistic view of learning.

For those still in high school who are looking for a way to blend faith and their interests, the farm management and technology manufacturing degrees may be perfect options. In these programs, students are able to take Core classes, live on campus and experience the same “Dordt community” that any student involved in a four-year program has access to.

But is this new push for two-year, technical, hands-on degrees causing problems in the humanities?

Some numbers in humanities departments have been slowly decreasing over the years as students opt for degrees that may seem more “practical” than art, theology or music studies. And with Dordt marketing the Pro-Tech program as economical and practical, even more students may choose to pursue interests in these science fields.

Primary education systems across the nation are cutting art programs left and right, but many are adding technical, scientific programs in their place. This often places a lower value on the humanities in a simple financial sense as the science programs receive more funding, and therefore are able to flourish.

Dordt College may not technically be a liberal arts college, but one of its main goals is to provide encouragement and higher-level learning for all fields of study. This goal is further accomplished by the creation of two-year technical degrees, but only if it does not automatically detract from liberal arts studies at the same time. The treat still remains: if the sciences take over, the Dordt College humanities could face slow death.

There may be some who some wonder about Dordt’s effort to encourage these programs as they deal with skills that mainly involve the work of one’s hands rather than the work of the mind. However, such worries are largely false dichotomies. Music, writing and art all require effort of physical hands. Professor Mark Tazelaar, in the musings of his aesthetics class, argues that much of this mind-work is work of the hands.

Ultimately, those earning two-year degrees should not be discounted even if they are not trained in the same, traditional vein as our liberal arts tendencies.

While the encouragement and opportunities for two-year scientific programs could be a great blessing to this campus and its students, there is still a necessity associated with the liberal arts. So long as Dordt continues its efforts in the programs which created its image, it will continue to thrive no matter what programs are introduced.

 

 

 

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