In light of a seminar hosted by the Office of Faith Integration on Nov. 10, students voiced their opinions about two of the four cornerstones applicable to this idea: Christ and scholarship. Students spoke out about faith integration as well as its significance and sometimes a lack of it in the classroom.
“I think it only really exists in Bible courses,” senior social work major Stephanie Shaull said. “I wish it was valued more in all our classes because it’s important to understand the value of the connection of faith and work.”
Shaull said she believes faith and work should go hand in hand.
“I believe it is important because as Christ-followers we must be prepared to recognize that if we are to represent Christ, we must know how to in our specific professions and career,” Shaull said. “APU can improve their faith integration assignments and lectures by emphasizing the presence of faith in our professions and how we can reflect Christ even in secular settings where it may not always be appropriate to be outward on one’s faith.
Senior English major Michael Ayetiwa said he has seen faith integration implemented in the classroom.
“One of my English teachers opens and closes each class session in prayer. He sends around a prayer list so that students can share their prayer requests and praises,” Ayetiwa said.
In that class, Ayetiwa’s experience has shown him how faith can be represented in the subject and the class itself, as well as in various assignments regarding personal responses about faith.
“I really appreciate that [the professor] does prayer for the sake of his students and their needs, not just to fulfill a faith integration requirement,” Ayetiwa said.
For junior music major Andrew Washington, it is more difficult to think of examples of how faith is integrated into the classroom environment.
“The closest we get to faith integration is, like, a G-sus chord,” Washington said jokingly while thinking about his music performance classes.
He said some of his professors joked about faith integration as well, but one made a connection between music and the Bible.
“In some of my classes, my teachers will mention faith integration in a joking way. If they mention the Bible, they’ll be like, ‘Oh, by the way, that’s your faith integration,’” Washington said. “In my music business class, my teacher gave an interesting correlation between music business and David, and the power of music in the Bible. He pretty much called Dave like a roadie to King Saul. I thought that was interesting, but other than that there’s not a lot.”
Emily Mirrilees, a journalism alumna, transferred from Wheaton College to APU in fall 2013 before returning to Wheaton to graduate in May 2015. Having attended two different Christian universities, she said she has seen differences in how faith integration has been implemented into the classroom.
“I would say that APU does a less consistent job, but they include it in a more meaningful way,” Mirrilees said. “While at Wheaton, the faith integration was in every class, but it always seemed to be a stretch. At APU, the faith integration was better thought out and applied to real life examples in tangible ways, particularly through the journalism classes I was in.”