Optional General Education Character Curriculum
2005 - 2006 College of the Ozarks Catalog

The College also offers students the option of meeting certain General Education requirements by taking courses in its Character Curriculum. For example, students may elect to substitute Religion 103CC, Biblical Ideals of Character, for the Religion 103, Biblical Survey requirement (see below for the five courses for which such substitutions are possible).

The Character Curriculum of College of the Ozarks is founded on the supposition that moral truths can be known and practiced. The virtues that define character—wisdom, justice, prudence, and courage—do not change with time; they are among what Faulkner has called the “eternal verities,” moral truths that have been engraved on the heart, the conscience, and the soul. Indeed, the definition of character in the original Greek is “an engraved mark.” Genuine character, therefore, is an interior disposition to do what is right. The ultimate example of character, of course, is found in Jesus Christ; as God become man, Jesus is the pattern for all Christians to follow. Only in Christ are we able to possess the Christian virtues of faith, hope and love. Consequently, faith is our best tool in knowing and practicing those eternal truths that define character.

Faith, however, has a mighty ally in reason. The greatest thinkers in history have all been concerned in one way or another with the question of character. What is true? Good? Just? What political order is best suited to the development of a good citizen? How do we know what is virtuous? Is there a natural law true for all people in all times, or is law simply a matter of convention? Honest reasoning guided and hedged by Scripture gives us reliable answers. Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, Calvin, and other philosophers and theologians have contributed to our store of knowledge, and all are trustworthy guides in discerning how we should live.

Faith, too, has an ally in the imagination: literature rightly understood reveals the role that character plays in human experience. When Nathan the prophet reveals to King David his sinfulness, he does not offer him a syllogism; rather he tells David a story. Great authors from Homer to Dante to Shakespeare present us with imaginative visions of the human condition, sweeping backgrounds against which we can see the significance of human decisions and the consequences of character. Great literature reveals to us who and what we are. Taken together, faith, reason, and imagination enable the student to know what character is, not merely as a set of precepts or rules, but as an inclination of the heart to nobility, integrity, and love.

Students who successfully complete four of the five character classes will receive a notation on their transcripts recognizing their participation in the program. Also, students who participate in the CALL—College of the Ozarks Academy for Lifestyle Leadership—will be required to take at least one course from the Character Curriculum.

The Character Curriculum includes:
   REL 103CC Biblical Ideals of Character
(satisfies the Biblical Survey requirement)
   ENW 133CC Classical Ideals of Character
(satisfies the Literature requirement)
    PHI 223CC Medieval/Renaissance Ideals of Character
(satisfies the Philosophy/Fine Arts requirement)
    ENG 303WC Reformation/Modern Ideals of Character
(satisfies the College Composition II requirement)
    IDS 313CC Capstone: American Ideals of Character
(satisfies the General Education Capstone requirement)


2005 - 2006 College of the Ozarks Catalog