What is Socially Responsible Education?

I remember when the direction and purpose of my life changed forever.

Like many high school students, I did not have a clear picture of what I wanted to do with my life.  Out of the blue (to me, anyway), my parents told me that if I went to Bible college they would pay for the entire first year.  What?  Why would I go to Bible college?  Weren’t there other options?

But … free education is free education, so off I went to a small Bible college in southern Saskatchewan.  I wasn’t entirely sure what I was getting myself into.

During that year I enrolled in a course called “The Pentateuch”, taught by a former Canadian soldier who had recently become a professor at the school.  And that is when everything changed.

Professor Schamuhn had the amazing ability to make spiritual realities easily understood and immediately relevant to our lives.  I had grown up around Christians, the church, and the Bible, but I had never experienced the “aha” moments like I did that year.

Coming out of that experience, I made the commitment that I was going to invest the rest of my life in helping others have the same experience in their lives.  That set me on the path that resulted in me doing what I do today.  And I can’t imagine myself doing anything else!

Which leads me to this.

Over the years I have been able to teach over 5,500 students online (and more in person) and enable them to thoughtfully explore spirituality, Jesus, the Bible, religion, and church.  Most of my teaching, however, has been in the context of expensive formal education that benefits the student alone.

I want to change that.  I want to give back in a way that improves the lives of others outside of the classroom.  I am inviting you to join me in an experience with socially responsible education.

What is socially responsible education?

Socially responsible education is accessible (both cost and format) and generous (a portion of the tuition goes to charity and those in need).  It looks like this:

  1. The typical university courses that I have taught cost $800-$1000 (undergraduate) and $1000-$1300 (graduate).  What if the same courses were offered at 1/3 the cost?
  2. Tuition fees typically go to the school and the professor.  What if a predetermined amount of money (10%)  went to a charitable cause that is making a real difference for people in need?

That would be socially responsible education!  And that is what I am inviting you to be a part of.

I am still in the development stage, and I would love your feedback.  My idea is essentially this:

I would develop a series of interactive online classes that explore many of the topics that I have taught over the years (spiritual formation, how to read the Bible for yourself, life and teachings of Jesus, hearing the voice of God, introduction to the New Testament and Old Testament, leadership, etc).  I would provide the courses interdependently – unattached to any university, so there would be no restrictions on what we could talk about.   Ten percent of the tuition would go directly to Syrian refugee sponsorship here in Canada (no administration or overhead).  That would be socially responsible education.

I have two questions for you:

  1. Do you think socially responsible education is a good idea?  How would you improve it?
  2. How much would you be willing to pay for a course?

Please reply to the questions in the comment section below, send me an email, or complete this anonymous survey:


Thank you!

I look forward to where this journey may take us.

Mark

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