Just what is Ouachita? It’s us, it’s our students, and, most importantly, it’s the interactions that take place among us. Yes, we have a shared commitment to a liberal arts education within a Christian context. Yes, we want to give our students and one another the love, the drive, and a zeal for learning. Yes, we want to be the best instructors possible, a goal that can only be attained by continued improvement in both the craft of pedagogy and by pushing the envelope in our respective disciplines.
From my vantage point in the natural sciences, I consider the liberal arts character of the University crucial to a proper learning environment. If it weren’t here, I wouldn’t be either. What do I expect for natural science students? Yes, I want them to take as much science as possible. But I also want them to take additional courses in whatever parts of the traditional liberal arts arena that most fascinates them. I want them to be exposed to other ways of seeing and criticizing than we may provide in the sciences. The more diverse their views, the better thinkers they become. I want them to see the beauty inherent in a painting by Van Gogh, a score by Mozart, a poem by Eliot. Them I want them to see a similar beauty in a theory by Einstein, a writing by Darwin, an idea by Pauling. To top it all off, I want them to see that same beauty in nature, in the function of a living system, in the structure of a lily pad, in the colors of fall.
Jeffers, Joe, "Ouachita through My Eyes: The Last Lecture of Joe Jeffers" (2017). Presentations and Lectures. 7.