It has been rightly observed that we never rise higher than our dreams. Nor are we likely to stumble accidentally into greatness. Rather, we must illuminate the path we intend to take with as much clarity as possible. In March 1998, the Pepperdine University Strategic Planning Committee adopted the Seaver College Integrated Strategic Plan. Although currently under revision, this plan presents a comprehensive picture of the College as it is and an image of what it hopes to become. Set out below is the all-important introduction to that larger plan. The goal of this introduction is to paint with a broad brush what is detailed with considerable specificity in the complete planning document – laying out what we believe ourselves to be and helping us see our way into the future.
The Mission of Seaver College
Seaver College exists to provide a link between the knowledge and wisdom of the past and present with the challenges of the future. The College is a community within the larger Pepperdine University community which integrates several groups: teachers committed to a life of instruction and scholarship; students preparing to assume responsible roles in contemporary society; staff members, volunteers, and donors committed to advancing the goals of the community; and administrators and regents charged with helping to achieve these goals.
Seaver College is primarily undergraduate and residential. It is selective in enrollment and committed to high academic standards. Its task is to prepare persons of diverse economic, social, ethnic, and religious backgrounds to become moral and intellectual leaders and to challenge them to value service above material success. To accomplish this task, Seaver faculty members, administrators, and staff members serve as role models, both as professionals and as human beings who are committed to excellence and motivated by personal faith in God. Students benefit from many small classes, a nurturing campus environment, opportunities for diverse social interaction, and individual attention from these teacher-mentors.
Seaver is a liberal arts college. As such, it nourishes and transmits the noblest ideas of Western culture – the achievements of science and technology as well as the artistic, intellectual, and ethical heritage of the Western world. At the same time, the Seaver curriculum and co-curriculum also reflect a modern, global worldview much broader than that of the West and more complex and egalitarian than in former times. Nor does it isolate itself from the nature of life and the economic realities of our own age. Therefore, many subjects are studied that are not included in the traditional categories of the liberal arts. Nevertheless, the College is completely committed to the spirit and intent of the traditional baccalaureate: the sharpening of the mind, the ennobling of the heart, the broadening of the vision, and the cultivation of the arts of speaking and writing which result in civilized and fruitful discourse. It is likewise devoted to the relentless search for truth in an atmosphere of freedom of inquiry: to think, to question, to doubt, to believe, and to affirm.
Seaver College places the students’ total development at the heart of its educational strategy. The College therefore recognizes the importance of both the curriculum and the co-curriculum. It strives to effect the total development of the student – intellectual, physical, emotional, social, and spiritual – and to lay the foundations of lifetime learning. It recognizes that learning takes place constantly, in every facet of the student’s life, and therefore seeks to integrate and direct this complex of experiences toward its developmental goals.
Since there is a significant correlation between the degree of individual student involvement in the life of the college and success in effecting student development, concerted effort is made to maximize the involvement of each student in the larger life of the College.
Seaver is a Christian college. As such, it affirms in undergraduate and graduate programs that there are sources of truth deeper than those of secular culture: Moses, purveyor of divine laws; Amos, crying out for social justice and unfeigned piety; Paul, overwhelmed with both the reality of sin and the joy of forgiveness; and ultimately, Jesus of Nazareth, in whom God is uniquely revealed, and by whose death and resurrection all humankind can receive reconciliation with God. The study of religion and the opportunity for corporate worship are integral elements in the Seaver experience. A commitment to Christian beliefs regarding the origin, nature, and destiny of humanity permeates the curriculum. The College’s ties to the Churches of Christ call it to a serious commitment to Biblical Christianity. Thus, in its mission, Seaver College seeks to remain true to the most profound insights of the religious movement which constitutes its heritage.