Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
Wyoming Catholic College, A Sign of Springtime, Receives Pre-Accreditation
By Deacon Keith Fournier
September 15th, 2010
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
Wyoming Catholic College is a four-year coeducational Catholic college whose primary educational objective is to offer a traditional liberal arts education that schools the whole person in all three dimensions-mind, body, and spirit. We accomplish this by immersing our students in the beauty of the outdoors, the wisdom of Western tradition and thought as found in the Great Books and Good Books, and the Catholic spiritual heritage as part of the rhythm of daily life.
LANDER, WY (Catholic Online) - The Catholic College is not a private College with a church affiliation. Catholic identity is not an "add on" to its mission but the very lifeblood which animates it. Catholic identity at a Catholic College requires that the academic community understand its ecclesial nature. In an institution, just as in persons, it begins from the inside and works its way throughout like leaven or yeast in a loaf. Catholic identity must be the beating heart of a Catholic College and provide the infrastructure for its entire educational mission. Catholic culture on campus becomes a fruit.
Catholic identity flourishes when all who are involved in this educational mission, from the Catholic College President to the Professor in the classroom, first view themselves as disciples, lifelong learners, followers of the Teacher, Jesus Christ. The Christian life is lived within the Body of Christ, the Church, into which we have been incorporated through Baptism. The Catholic College is an expression of that Church.
Education is not something the Church adds something to, as though the process of educating were some kind of nakedly secular pursuit which the Church somehow makes "religious". Rather, education is the very heart of the Churches' mission. On August 15, 1990 Pope John Paul II, issued his apostolic letter "Ex Corde Ecclesia" (At the Heart of the Church) affirming the vital mission of the Catholic College.
"Since the objective of a Catholic University is to assure in an institutional manner a Christian presence in the university world confronting the great problems of society and culture, every Catholic University, as Catholic, must have the following essential characteristics: 1. a Christian inspiration not only of individuals but of the university community as such; 2. a continuing reflection in the light of the Catholic faith upon the growing treasury of human knowledge, to which it seeks to contribute by its own research; 3. fidelity to the Christian message as it comes to us through the Church; 4. an institutional commitment to the service of the people of God and of the human family in their pilgrimage to the transcendent goal which gives meaning to life"
The living Christ still teaches and directs His Church. Through that Church he continues to influence all of human culture. The faithful of the Church are called to inculcate and live the truth as articulated under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit by the teaching office of the Church. At the forefront of the mission of the Catholic Church is the education of the next generation of faithfully Catholic men and women who do just that. It is Christ the Teacher who teaches His children in the Catholic College. As the late John Paul II said so succinctly in an address to educators in 1979 "Catholic education is above all a question of communicating Christ, of helping to form Christ in the lives of others."
In the midst of our struggling economy there have been several recent articles asking whether a College education is "worth it". They approach answering the question by placing increased earning capacity at the top of the analysis. In other words, a college education is reduced to equipping a student to make more money. Such a minimalist approach is tragic. Education is about much more than increasing earnings capacity. It is about cultivating character and instilling virtue. Catholic education is about even more, it is about preparing men and women to participate in the ongoing redemptive mission of Jesus Christ.
We are happy to bring some good news to our readers. It concerns one of the growing number of new and renewed Catholic Colleges who are rising to the challenge of this new missionary age and staying faithful, Wyoming Catholic College. In their description on their web site we read their mission :
"Wyoming Catholic College is a four-year coeducational Catholic college whose primary educational objective is to offer a traditional liberal arts education that schools the whole person in all three dimensions-mind, body, and spirit. We accomplish this by immersing our students in the beauty of the outdoors, by introducing them to the wisdom of Western tradition and thought as found in the Great Books and Good Books of the past millennia, and by making the best of the Catholic spiritual heritage part of the rhythm of daily life in our close College community. Students graduate with the degree of Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts.
Wyoming Catholic College recently announced the following:
"Wyoming Catholic College (WCC) is pleased to announce that it has been granted Institutional Preaccreditation status by the American Academy for Liberal Education (AALE). The conferral of this status "signifies institutional integrity and a strong commitment to undergraduate education," according to AALE's Standards and Criteria for Program Accreditation. This status of accreditation allows Wyoming Catholic College to operate in an accredited manner until it receives full Institutional Accreditation in the next three to five years.
WCC began the application process over a year ago, which is the earliest possible time allowed by AALE. And while Preaccreditation for most institutions of higher learning is normally not earned until the end of four years, WCC was granted it in only three. "The process required a thorough self-review of every aspect of our mission and operations," explained Fr. Robert Cook, WCC President. A six-member team assembled from around the country visited the College in April to conduct a site evaluation for AALE.
AALE President, Jeff A. Martineau, said that WCC, "has attracted and retained capable and unusually dedicated students - intelligent, well-spoken, and enthusiastic about the College's mission," and praised the College for its successful efforts in recruiting a capable and professional contingent of teachers and staff. Martineau also said that AALE was impressed with WCC's unique approach to liberal arts education, referring to it as, "a laudable integrated liberal education program which challenges each student to build a strong foundation of self-knowledge, to develop individual responsibility, and to acquire an understanding of the Western intellectual tradition."
Fr. Robert W. Cook, Wyoming Catholic College President, said AALE's decision was an indication of the strength of the College's academic mission and progress thus far. "WCC was merely an idea five years ago. To receive this status this year - our inaugural commencement year - is a wonderful compliment to all who have worked to make this College a reality."
In addition to the endorsement of the College's mission granted by Institutional Preaccreditation, the status now enables WCC students to receive third-party student loans and scholarships. The College will also qualify for matching gifts and grants from most corporations, organizations, and foundations. Preaccreditation also permits the transfer of credits by students to other undergraduate programs and accords special recognition of WCC's curriculum by graduate schools.
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