It is sometimes said that a Jack of all trades, is usually very good at none. This is the first fact which challenged the whole vision for the college. Members of our Program Committee were stressing that Film Making or Theatre cannot be adequately learned in such a short time. Others were pointing out that the arts of thinking (the Liberal Arts) require at least 4 years of dedicated study before they take root. Again, some were adding that artistically minded students would not be interested in the rigors of learning logic, mathematics, etc. which are essential to the classical Liberal Arts.
Three great ideas came out of these struggles. The first was the conviction that philosophy and the arts of thinking are not the exclusive domain of academics. Every human being is inherently philosophical, and the modern tendency of philosophy to be highly technical and academic represents a corruption from true philosophy. As C.S. Lewis said, any high-school student should be able to read and understand Plato. But there is hardly anybody who can read and understand a book on Platonism. It is true, however, that different types of people think in different manners. Artists usually philosophize in a different manner than mathematicians do. Therefore, it was decided that the Pillar of Reason could be preserved in the program through training in the classical Liberal Arts, but in a manner which is suited to the artistic mind.
The second great idea was that by integrating the program, not only would students be able to see the big picture and the unity between their Art, Faith, and Reason, but also it would greatly facilitate the learning process. There is much overlap between the different art forms, and even between the three pillars, so that what is learned in one can be easily applied in the other. So it really isn’t the same as sticking a separate Film Program, Theatre Program, Classics Program, all together into one program. Each part of our program could be thinned out considerably, since our students would be gaining much of their necessary knowledge from the other classes, and often on the same day or week. In Theatre, for example, much of the “Theatre History” would be learned first hand by reading the actual plays in the Literature course. These plays would also make up some of the reading material for acting lessons, thus shortening the amount of extra reading needed. The possibilities for integration in the program were endless. It is also well known that students are able to comprehend information much more easily when they have a context in which to place it. The integration of the entire program would give students this context. They would be able to fit what they are learning into the whole picture.
The third great idea was that the goal of the program must be to build an excellent foundation for the artistic life, rather than produce a finished artist in a particular field. It would be unrealistic to expect students to master any art form in only three years. On the other hand, this foundation would allow students to go much further in the long run, than a more specialized program would.
Now, clearly, the whole program was realistic in its outline and aim. Little by little we began to fill the details in.