Westmont Magazine The Importance of Research
I find that most people view the mission of a college like Westmont in terms of helping our students grow, intellectually, socially, and spiritually. To be sure this is our mission; it is a very exciting and fulfilling challenge, and a significant contribution to our students and our society.
But, in fact, there is another side or dimension to the mission of the college, which is understood but not always stated. And that is the contribution to knowledge made by our faculty members.
We are an institution of higher education, and in our country this is the location of most research and scholarly activity. If we are to maintain our reputation as one of the finest colleges in the country, we must continue to make a contribution to the advancement of knowledge.
Research and teaching are not incompatible. In fact, unless our faculty members continue to grow as scholars, they will not be able to model the lifelong learning which is so important for us. Nor will they be able to share with their students the excitement of on-going scholarship, the joy of learning and discovering, and the reward of understanding the world, ourselves, and society more accurately.
Down through history an amazingly large percentage of the truly outstanding researchers have been committed Christian men and women. Our students must learn from attractive and committed faculty members who demonstrate their “love of learning” so that in turn they will live their lives fully and encourage other Christian people to excel in scholarship.
Christians should be educated people. They should have a deep appreciation for truth, fairness, thorough study habits, and the enjoyment of making good decisions based upon a reasoned faith in Christ and the very best information available.
This is scholarship at its best, and at Westmont, we are blessed with an abundance of professors who model this beautifully. We look for “scholars who share,” men and women who have the desire and ability to share themselves as scholars and as Christians with undergraduate students.
This issue of the magazine features several of our faculty members who love God, love scholarship, and love students. What a great model they provide for our students and for the Christian church.