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My wife and I just returned from having spent the weekend in Cedar City, attending a statesmanship retreat at George Wythe College. I’ve been accepted into their master’s program and started class a couple weeks ago.
The purpose of the retreat was to introduce prospective students to the educational model presented by George Wythe. The two days of lecture covered a broad range of topics—from differing educational models to learning environments to historical cycles—all aiming to illustrate the great need for statesman in our century.
I’ve been asked by several people why I chose to get a degree through GWC. My decision came after reading the 15 year history (.pdf) of the college and discovering in this institution the very educational format I had been craving for so long.
Part of the weekend of lecture covers the various forms of educational models. The primary three are Prussian, Latin, and Oxford. The Prussian (or “conveyor belt”) method is what most of us have grown up with in school: textbooks, multiple choice tests, teachers, etc. The Latin model is geared toward professionals and is found in your typical master’s or graduate program, where the student is trained to attain a set of skills relevant to their profession.
The third (and optimal) form of education is the Oxford model, implemented by the Thomas Jefferson Education model. The basic tenets of this teaching style are summarized in GWC’s Seven Keys of Great Teaching:
- Classics, not Textbooks
- Mentors, not Professors
- Inspire, not Require
- Quality, not Conformity
- Structure Time, not Content
- Simplicity, not Complexity
- You, not Them (lead out with an inspiring example)
After doing my homework and learning more about this unique format (something I had been craving in an educational institution for some time), the reasons presented were convincing enough to lead me to sign the dotted line.
The match was so exact that throughout this weekend’s presentations, my wife could see how well this college fits what I’ve been looking for in a school. I’m convinced that it fits what most people crave who desire a true education: challenge, intellectual rigor, inspiring mentorship, high expectations, and a network of classmates all seeking to become educated and prepared for leadership and statesmanship in the 21st century.
George Wythe College is certainly not for everybody. The work load is intense, the intellectual expectations are high, and the reading lists are long. With so much on my plate already, I’m sometimes asked why I would add this program as well. My answer is that I’m not in the master’s program for the master’s itself. I couldn’t care less about the letters after my name or the diploma itself. I’m attending GWC to rub shoulders with like-minded individuals who really believe in the school’s mission statement, tap into their collective genius, be inspired by those around me, and offer my own perspective and ideas along the way. I’m adding this to my plate because it’s a crucial part of my development in becoming prepared for fulfilling my life’s mission.
I believe that education is a life-long pursuit worthy of constant application and mental exertion. I believe that there are right and wrong ways to educate oneself. I believe that there are fundamental principles enshrined in the classics that are as applicable today as they were when they were written. Since he who does not learn from history is condemned to repeat it, I believe that these are precisely the things we should be studying to find modern application and solve the problems of today by learning from the great minds of yesterday.
Luckily, GWC offers several opportunities for students in different situations. One can take classes on campus, through distance learning (independent study) or through extension courses offered in various locations. I myself will be doing extension courses once a week for the next few years, allowing me to integrate my studies into an already busy daily schedule.
The Oxford educational model is something I have grown to be passionate about, since finally having discovered what I had so long been looking for. If this is something that interests you, I invite you to attend an upcoming weekend retreat to learn more about what George Wythe College. Admission is free if I refer you, making it a cheap and enlightening weekend getaway to Cedar City. Drop me a line if you’re interested in learning more.