Prof. Laurie M. Johnson
Director, Primary Texts Certificate
c/o Department of Political Science, Waters Hall
Kansas State University
Manhattan, KS 66506

 

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785-532-0441
lauriej@k-state.edu

Mission Statement

The mission of the university is to prepare its students to be "informed, productive and responsible citizens who participate actively in advancing cultural, educational, economic, scientific, and socio-political undertakings." The object of the university's educational program is "to develop individuals capable of applying enlightened judgment in their professional, personal, and social lives." By promoting excellent reading, analytical and critical thinking skills, the Primary Texts Certificate helps fulfill the university's mission.

This program helps students meet the university's goal of providing them with knowledge and intellectual habits that members of a democratic society need, regardless of their occupation. Among the abilities cultivated by such study are good communication skills, and the ability to solve theoretical and practical problems. Participation in the certificate program will promote good citizenship through the encouragement of mature, independent judgment and by providing students with a more culturally and historically informed view of contemporary problems and issues.

The university's mission is also to "develop a well-adjusted personality, good character traits, and a sound philosophy of life" and to be able to utilize fully "the capacity for aesthetic appreciation and enjoyment." The reading and contemplation of great works, in literature, philosophy, and the sciences, encourages both appropriate humility in these areas but also a healthy intellectual confidence. Such activity challenges individuals to formulate their own views and philosophies, and it also fosters the idea of learning as an enjoyable enterprise for its own sake. Graduates of the program are enabled to become lifelong learners, through the skills as well as the curiosity they develop through intensive exposure to challenging original texts.

At the same time, the certificate also helps students meet the university's goal of preparing them for an occupation or a profession, by developing in students "the ability to reason critically from facts and recognized assumptions to useful technical conclusions." This type of thinking is best displayed in great theoretical works. Students in the program can acquire good reasoning skills through the example of outstanding thinkers they are exposed to, and through their own attempts at building logical arguments in response. The capstone paper demonstrates their improved ability to develop such arguments.