Dr. Loma Meyer is considered to be Concordia's greatest advocate and ambassador. Earning her doctorates from both the University of California, Santa Barbara and the University of Minnesota, she earned her certification for the church's teaching ministry by colloquy. In 1967, Dr. Meyer started her career in higher education as an award-winning professor, director of instruction, dean of faculty, vice president of academic affairs, and executive vice president here at Concordia St. Paul. She is one of the most noteworthy leaders and administrators of her time, serving on task forces, local and national boards, and commissions. Her expertise has also been established in the broader academic community, working with the Minnesota State Board of Education, the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education, and the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Her time spent at Concordia is often referred to as "the Loma Meyer era". Her lecture will focus on "Change: Integrating faith and learning".
Her presentation was divided into three main pieces autobiographical, present, and futuristic. In the autobiographical section of the presentation Dr. Meyer told the story of how her and her husband met all the way through until his very last days. The main focus in this section was the relation of life and death together.
Her next focus was the present or historical. Dr. Meyer gave a brief overview of the past and the present President's of Concordia. There has been over 4 decades of change at Concordia starting about the mid-60s. Concordia didn't see a whole lot of change until President Holst became reigning President in 1991. President Holst turned Concordia into a university rather than just a college. We developed the semester system and made organizational changes. Including creating the four colleges (Arts and Sciences, Education, Business and Organization, and Vocation and Ministry). Under the Lutheran view of faith and learning the two worlds are held in creative tension and the Lutheran view requires there to be a distinction. Dr. Meyer said that "integration involves the inclusion of the whole person: heart, soul, and mind".
Her last section focused on the futuristic side of faith and learning. This is the section where I was able to see the most integration of faith and learning. In the world of technological expansions Concordia really needs to focus on maintaining the faith connection to learning. As the saying goes "do not learn so much that faith is lost". We do not want to take steps backwards in our integration of faith and learning, but move forward and act as change agents and embrace the new changes. People say that eventually there will be no need for face to face classes, but that everything can be done online. If this happens the connection of faith and learning will certainly be lost. We see the biggest connection of faith and learning through our professors. They show us that you can be passionate about your job, be a Christian, and still keep your faith.
Dr. Meyer's presentation is a good example of the Honors program. This semester we are working with organizations that help people in need. This is being a Christian (faith), but we are also learning how to incorporate our faith with what we are learning from these organizations. Last year was a little bit more difficult for me to understand where the faith and learning connection was coming from, but this semester I see it in our volunteer work. I know that I have discovered where my gladness meets the world's hunger. Being able to discover where your faith allows to grow as a student is the best discovery I have made in past two years.
This week's reading focused on Thomas Aquinas and his masterpiece the Summa Theologiae. Thomas Aquinas was born into Italian nobility and his family intended for him to become part of the Benedictines. Aquinas had other plans, he joined the Dominican order. The Dominican order is one of the great orders of mendicant friars. The Dominican order is similar to monastic life in that they focused primarily on poverty. Aquinas has always been inspired by Aristotle and his new theology reflects both Aristotle's philosophy and biblical revelation. In this section Aquinas poses a question, he then gives arguments that do not support his answer. He then gives examples to support his view, and finally he answer with his own argument on the question. The question I am about to answer is whether our active life interferes with our contemplative life.
Q. 182, a.2: Whether the contemplative life is hindered by the active life? Thomas believes that the active life is divided in two parts. The first part is practice and attention to outside objects. In this case the active life does hinder the contemplative life. He states that "in so far possible as it is impossible for one to be busy with external action, and at the same time give oneself to Divine contemplation" (159). Aquinas says that it is not possible to divide one's attention both the contemplative and active life. The second part of the active life is one that can be soul searching. One's active life can be quieting and used to direct "internal passions of the soul" (159). So this active life would actually be helping the contemplative life.
Aqunias's response relates to a Christian's calling to follow Christ in two ways. A Christian can either be active, by volunteering and helping in more active ways. They can also be the quiet one who prays and uses their internal passions to follow God. The Chrisitan can either be outward with their faith or inward.
Not much going on this week with finals and such, but as I was doing my final presentation. I started looking at the nest steps and direction I'm going to take with this project. There are so many possibilities I could do with arts integration. I am mainly focusing on dance, but I could also add in some drama, music, and visual arts. Any kind of art in general would be worth studying to see if it actually can improve attention, self confidence, literacy, and learning persistence.
So over Winter break I will be looking some more at art integration in general. Don't worry I won't be going out of my way to make it something I do, but if I happen to come across something interesting about art integration I believe it is worth my time to stop and read it. The achievement is affecting Minneapolis schools hard. Since so many schools do not pass the standardized test and according to the No Child Left Behind act, if schools fail to meet the passing number on the standardized test than students are free to choose where to go to school. So any strategy that has shown a decrease in the achievement gap, I believe is worth it.