Boyce College announces new classical education minor
With classical education on the rise and virtually no colleges preparing their education students to teach it, Boyce College will provide a minor in classical education, starting in the 2017-2018 academic year. Boyce professors Melissa Tucker and Tyler Flatt are at the forefront of the new program, which will be an emphasis within the teacher education program and a minor available to all other Boyce students.
“The resurgence of classical education is one of the most promising developments on the broader American education landscape in quite some time,” said Matthew J. Hall, dean of Boyce College. “Christian institutions are rightly at the forefront of this recovery of ancient wisdom, answering basic questions about what it means to be human, what it means to truly learn, and the very essence of education itself. However, few Christian colleges have taken on the task of preparing graduates to teach this way. This is the right kind of minor for Boyce College at precisely the right time.”
Tucker, who serves as chair of the teacher education program at Boyce, will work with education professor Kevin Jones and humanities professor Flatt to equip Boyce education students to teach the classics. Only two schools in the United States offer a minor in classics education, according to Tucker, and Boyce students will be uniquely prepared to teach it.
After conferring with several classical education programs in Louisville and in other states, Tucker and Jones put together a program designed to provide classically trained educators to such schools.
“This is going to be a unique degree program, and it’s going to allow students to walk into a classical school and have a step up on the other teachers who have not been trained classically,” Tucker said. “We are excited to arm students, so that wherever they go, they are able to walk into a classroom — public, Christian, and now classical and ESL schools — and teach with no difficulty, from a biblical worldview.”
Among its bachelor of science degrees, Boyce College offers a teacher education major, which Tucker coordinates. All education students take a general studies class load and classes in biblical studies, in addition to their professional education studies. But each student has approximately 15 to 18 extra hours, Tucker said, and they may apply those to a classics emphasis. Classics is the second emphasis within the education program, after an ESL emphasis was instituted two years ago.
Teacher education majors who are taking the ESL emphasis may add the classical education courses as a minor, Tucker said. Students in other degree programs may also take 15 hours of classics and earn a minor in the field.
“Classical education in elementary, middle school, and high school is on the rise in the United States — especially with Christian schools,” Tucker said. “We need students to be trained in how to teach classical education correctly, and how to use their pedagogy effectively. We also want students to be prepared before they enter a situation in which they have to teach Greek and Latin.”
Because students hoping to teach classically should be prepared to teach the ancient languages of Greek and Latin, Flatt will handle all of the classical programming for students enrolled in the program. Currently two semesters of classical Latin are required, with the ambition to add classical Greek and more advanced language courses.
A classicist by training and a Ph.D. graduate of Harvard University, Flatt has witnessed and supported the revival of classical education in North America. He will now have the chance to contribute to that movement.
“I get the chance to take on a leadership role in developing the curriculum, which is exciting for me as a teacher,” said Flatt, who is assistant professor of humanities at Boyce. “It’s very much in line with my training also, so I feel the excitement of somebody who has spent a lot of time practicing to do something, and now I will actually get off the bench and on the field.”
While some classical programs are well organized and equipped to offer an excellent classical education to their students, many do not have the resources or educational background they require, he said. In addition, many classically trained educators are not looking to teach at elementary schools or high schools, but are instead looking for tenured positions. The Boyce classics minor seeks to meet that supply deficiency, and provide more qualified classical educators, according to Flatt.
“At Boyce, we already have the resources in place to get out on the leading edge of this movement and start supplying that need pretty rapidly,” he said.