posted October 22, 1999

Character-Building Honored

Hope College has been recognized for leadership in the field of student character development in "The Templeton Guide:  Colleges that Encourage Character   Development," a guidebook released nationwide on Friday, Oct. 22.

          "The Templeton Guide" contains profiles of 405
  college programs in 10 categories.  Hope is included in
  three:  in "First-Year Programs" for its First-Year
  Seminars; in "Spiritual Growth Programs" for its Campus
  Ministries program; and in "Senior-Year Programs" for its
  Senior Seminars.
          "Hope's strong commitment to character development
  and the strength of its program make it a model for colleges
  and universities nationwide," said Dr. Arthur J. Schwartz,
  director of character development programs at the John
  Templeton Foundation.  "With 'The Templeton Guide,' we hope
  to help prospective college students and their parents who
  want to know what colleges are doing to promote the core
  values of honesty, self-control, respect and service to
  those less fortunate.  'The Templeton Guide' identifies
  colleges that encourage students to understand the
  importance of personal and civic responsibility, which will
  help them succeed in college and beyond.  Hope's work in
  this area is most impressive."
          More than 300 four-year public and private
  colleges across the country are included in "The Templeton
  Guide."  Individual programs were selected in the following
  categories:  First-Year Programs; Academic Honesty Programs;
  Faculty and Curriculum Programs; Volunteer Service Programs;
  Substance-Abuse Prevention Programs; Student Leadership
  Programs; Spiritual Growth Programs; Civic Education
  Programs; Character and Sexuality Programs; and Senior-Year
  Programs.  The guide also recognizes 50 college presidents
  who have exercised leadership in character development, and
  100 colleges and universities named to the Templeton Honor
  Roll for their record of commitment to inspiring students to
  lead ethical and civic-minded lives.
          All first-year students at Hope enroll in one of
  the college's First-Year Seminars, which are designed to
  help students who are new to college to see that learning is
  an open-ended, life-long and active process, and that
  knowledge is not department-based.  The discussion-driven
  seminars emphasize listening and speaking skills, learning
  to work with others productively while exploring a topic,
  and articulating one's own perspective while considering
  others.
          The program offers several courses, each focused
  on a different topic included as both socially significant
  and largely open-ended.  The 42 sections offered this year
  range from "Art:  Beauty and Controversy," to "Capitalism,
  Conservatism, and Christianity," to "1968," to "SCREAM:  The
  Class."
          The First-Year Seminar program debuted on a pilot
  basis in the fall of 1997, and became a requirement for
  every first-year student in the fall of 1998.  The program
  is directed by Maura Reynolds, who is also director of
  advising and an assistant professor of Latin.
          The Campus Ministries program seeks to draw
  students, faculty and staff to public worship; to present
  the Gospel in a compelling manner; to encourage a sincere
  profession of faith; to promote biblical and doctrinal
  literacy; and to further equip professing Christians to lead
  faithful lives.  Components of the program include campus-
  wide worship services; small-group Bible studies; the 150-
  member Gospel Choir; leadership development programs during
  the school year and the summer; and a Spring Break mission
  trip program that annually sees more than 200 Hope students
  participate in service-oriented mission trips at sites
  across the United States and abroad.
          Hope, chartered in 1866, has been a Christian
  college since its founding, and programs concerned with
  spiritual growth have a similarly long tradition.  The
  Campus Ministries program expanded during the 1994-95 school
  year using resources gained through the "Hope in the Future"
  capital campaign, which had included strengthening Christian
  life and witness at the college among its priorities.  The
  Campus Ministries staff is headed by the Rev. Ben Patterson,
  who is the Hinga-Boersma Dean of the Chapel at Hope.
          The college's Senior Seminars prompt students to
  consider their own values and commitments in light of the
  Christian faith.  The seminars typically emphasize classroom
  discussion and the writing of a "life-view" paper that
  challenges Hope's graduating seniors to articulate their
  philosophy for living, and how and why they have come to
  hold it.
          As with the First-Year Seminars, course topics
  vary and are inter-disciplinary in nature.  Selections this
  fall include "History of the Atomic Bomb," "Faith Facing
  Pluralism," "Medicine and Morals," and "Saints, Heroes and
  Ordinary People."  The program is designed as a "capstone"
  to each student's undergraduate experience, an opportunity
  to bring together the lessons of Hope's liberal arts
  education in light of the Christian faith.
          The Senior Seminar program has existed for at
  least 30 years, appearing in something like its present form
  for the first time in the college's 1969-70 "Catalog."  The
  program is directed by Dr. John Cox, who is the DuMez
  Endowed Professor of English and director of
  Interdisciplinary Studies at Hope.
          Intended for high school students, parents,
  guidance counselors, college administrators, trustees,
  faculty and alumni, "The Templeton Guide" recognizes
  programs that represent the best practices in the field of
  character development during the college years.  The
  programs were chosen through a highly selective process that
  considered clarity of vision and statement of purpose;
  institutional resources; involvement of institutional
  leaders; impact on students; faculty, campus and community;
  integration into the core curriculum or academic study;
  longevity; external awards and recognition; and assessment.
          Other colleges and universities from Michigan with
  programs profiled in the guide are Alma College, Calvin
  College, Central Michigan University, Hillsdale College,
  Kalamazoo College, Michigan State University, Northern
  Michigan University, Olivet College, Spring Arbor College
  and the University of Detroit Mercy and the University of
  Michigan.
          Established in 1987, the John Templeton Foundation
  works closely with educators, scientists, theologians,
  medical professionals and other scholars throughout the
  world to support more than 100 programs serving three chief
  purposes:  to encourage character development in schools and
  colleges; to encourage an appreciation for the benefits of
  freedom; and to stimulate serious and scientific research on
  the relationship between spirituality and health.  The
  Foundation's College and Character Initiative supports
  national programs that offer meaningful opportunities for
  college students to learn about, reflect upon, and practice
  the virtues of personal and civic responsibility.
          Paperback copies of "The Templeton Guide:
  Colleges that Encourage Character Development" are $16.95.
  The Foundation has created a College and Character website,
  www.collegeandcharacter.org, that provides information on
  the initiative, links to the home pages of colleges selected
  for "The Templeton Guide" and other features.