The Great Commitments of Berea College
Berea College, founded by ardent abolitionists and radical reformers, continues today as an educational institution still firmly rooted in its historic purpose “to promote the cause of Christ.” Adherence to the College’s scriptural foundation, “God has made of one blood all peoples of the earth,” shapes the College’s culture and programs so that students and staff alike can work toward both personal goals and a vision of a world shaped by Christian values, such as the power of love over hate, human dignity and equality, and peace with justice. This environment frees persons to be active learners, workers, and servers as members of the academic community and as citizens of the world. The Berea experience nurtures intellectual, physical, aesthetic, emotional, and spiritual potentials and with those the power to make meaningful commitments and translate them into action.
To achieve this purpose, Berea College commits itself
- To provide an educational opportunity primarily for students from Appalachia, black and white, who have great promise and limited economic resources.
- To provide an education of high quality with a liberal arts foundation and outlook.
- To stimulate understanding of the Christian faith and its many expressions and to emphasize the Christian ethic and the motive of service to others.
- To provide for all students through the labor program experiences for learning and serving in community, and to demonstrate that labor, mental and manual, has dignity as well as utility.
- To assert the kinship of all people and to provide interracial education with a particular emphasis on understanding and equality among blacks and whites.
- To create a democratic community dedicated to education and equality for women and men.
- To maintain a residential campus and to encourage in all members of the community a way of life characterized by plain living, pride in labor well done, zest for learning, high personal standards, and concern for the welfare of others.
- To serve the Appalachian region primarily through education but also by other appropriate services.
Bereans continue to strive to fulfill the Great Commitments in ways that are both responsible to history and tradition and yet responsive to the needs of students in the 21st century. In 1996, after numerous “Town Meeting” discussions open to all students, faculty, staff, and trustees, a strategic plan entitled Being and Becoming: Berea College in the 21st Century was adopted by vote of the College Faculty, General Faculty, and the Board of Trustees. Being and Becoming articulates four pairs of learning goals that apply to Berea students, faculty, and staff members alike, and that are to be fostered not only in classrooms, but in all of the other places where Bereans interact, from offices to residence halls to athletic fields. These goals are to:
- develop the critical intellectual ability to address complex problems from multiple perspectives and nurture moral growth with a commitment to service;
- understand the relationship between humans and the natural world and consider both the benefits and limitations of science and technology;
- explore our individual roots and our shared American culture and know and respect cultures from around the world; and
- educate students, faculty, and staff to be creative, independent thinkers and encourage collaboration and teamwork in learning and working.
These learning goals are ideals toward which all Bereans are encouraged to strive. They are intended to guide members of the College community in preparing graduates who will serve and lead their communities and be agents of positive change. The development of these learning goals is but one example of how the Berea College community is, through thoughtful and continuous planning, extending its tradition of educational innovation.
Notice and Disclaimer
This online publication is the official text of the Berea College Catalog & Student Handbook. Berea College reserves the right to amend, revise, or modify content within this publication at any time.Posted: 9-1-2009
Updated by Wanda Burch