Mission Statement: BA in Jurisprudence
The broad goals of the BA in Jurisprudence are firmly rooted in the traditional, historic and commonly accepted vision of what an educated person is. Jurisprudence seeks to instill many things, but within the grand scheme of the history of ideas, a fervent and unrivaled appreciation of the role of law to the maintenance of a free society. First, graduates of the program will discern how law plays out in democratic processes. Second, the Jurisprudence degree delivers a unique program of instruction and a model for the integration of knowledge and character. Few periods in the history of this republic manifest the intense need for leaders and graduates who understand the importance of character and personal integrity coupled with professional competence. Knowledge, in and of itself, cannot guarantee proper results and justice in human action. While there are a host of good things that arise from career preparation and vocational orientation, there has been a gnawing lack of moral, ethical and character inquiry into many subject matters. Students are often exposed to knowledge for its own sake and fail to connect the ethical dots that often emerge in professional behavior. It is no secret that many modern critics of culture and societal condition indicate a glaring and obvious lack of conscience in human operations and an “any means” mentality to achieve or affect a particular end or goal. This errancy in human operations has been quite evident in corporate culture during recent bank fiascos, the unwillingness of legislators and lawmakers to consider impacts and influences on citizens as they pass laws without reservation and the overall dearth of universal truths or propositions applicable at every stage and every walk of life. In its place, a relativistic attitude has taken firm root in human affairs and especially plagues leaders in our institutions. The BA in Jurisprudence will provide a forum for the examination of law in light of ethics, morality, professionalism, leadership and the formation of good character and just human action. In this sense, it is an intensely unique academic endeavor that will hopefully shape and mold future leaders who labor with a moral compass and decide things using tools beyond the mere utility.
Third, and from a functional perspective, few majors will afford the accomplished student with the deep level of conceptual coverage and analysis as will the BA in Jurisprudence. In a nutshell, the degree is a demanding undertaking that will likely attract the best and brightest student. The level of comprehension necessary to read the classical and medieval materials in jurisprudence as well as the diverse jurisprudential schools, in conjunction with the related subject matter involving character, conscience, virtue and the ends and aims of jurisprudence itself, will test even the finest student. Skill at exposition, oratory and interpretation will have to be at the highest level.
Fourth, the Jurisprudence program hopes to form and habituate future leaders who shall lead with virtue and proper ethics. From a leadership dimension, its graduates will enter the marketplace with advanced and sophisticated intellects that consider every question from a transcendent as well as temporal dimension. American culture has never as urgently needed the graduate who understands the interplay of morals and culture, law and human habituation, the level and oversight of government in a free society, and the willingness to combine and entwine these complex questions. Too many graduates of contemporary American universities and colleges are simple functionalists who know things but know not the entire panorama. The BA in Jurisprudence will shape and mold not only intellects but also future leaders, future judges and lawyers, future citizens who will ask the most profound questions about law and its enactment.