Written by Lauren Simmons
Harding welcomed guest speaker Dr. Paul Blaschko to campus to talk to students and administrators about how to apply ethics to higher education.
Blaschko, a professor at the University of Notre Dame, spoke in chapel Oct. 31 and to business ethics classes and Harding administrators. He was brought to campus by Dr. Heath Carpenter after Carpenter’s class read Blaschko’s book “The Good Life Method.”
Carpenter said his students were interested in Blaschko’s merging of classical philosophy and theology in practical applications. He was interested to hear Blaschko’s methods of incorporating philosophy into higher-level curricula.
“We were thinking, ‘How could we at Harding do a better job of connecting our liberal arts classes to our major classes and our major classes to each other?’” Carpenter said. “To create processes and systems on a university campus where you can take these big philosophical questions but in very tangible ways put them in curriculum all across campus.”
In the weekly breakout chapel, Blaschko spoke on how a student’s time at college is fundamental to their ethical future. He compared college to a boot camp for creating identity and choosing which morals to uphold.
“You are habituating yourself in many ways,” Blaschko said. “You are creating these virtues in yourself that will set you up … in certain ways after you leave. And that’s a trajectory of your character, the momentum you’re establishing.”
Blaschko challenged the students to question what it means to love truth. He included his favorite poem in his presentation, Wendell Berry’s “Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front,” which junior Nic Aziamov said inspired some introspective thought.
“I thought [Blaschko’s presentation] was really good,” Aziamov said. “At Harding, we get lots of Bible lessons, but [don’t] talk about the transcendentals that surround it all that aren’t as tangible. I think it’s important to know both aspects of it and use those to connect together.”
Carpenter said he wants students to think of college as being more than getting a degree. He wants students to see their time at Harding as a way to strengthen their character, develop skills that create rich experiences and produce empathy.
“Harding is a place where students instinctively desire meaning and purpose in their lives,” Carpenter said. “We need to do a better job as administrators and faculty of telling the story of what university is really all about.”