Core Competence and Versatility

A Gutenberg education is not a preparation for a specific career. Instead, it is preparation for any career. Increasingly, employers are looking for workers with strong core competencies. In one survey, ninety-three percent of employers agreed with this statement: “A demonstrated capacity to think critically, communicate clearly, and solve complex problems is more important than [a candidate’s] undergraduate major.” [https://www.aacu.org/sites/default/files/files/LEAP/2013_EmployerSurvey.pdf]

One Gutenberg graduate with years of experience in the job development field has said, “The man or woman who thinks creatively, who reads carefully, who critiques honestly, who communicates clearly, and who speaks truthfully and compassionately is an individual who can always serve a role in their society and is always, regardless of the position held within an organization, an asset to their employer.”

This principle of general education is borne out in the lives of our graduates who have pursued a wide variety of vocations. A sample of those careers includes the following:

  • author
  • bank teller
  • bookkeeper
  • career counselor
  • children’s theater director
  • college instructor
  • computer network specialist
  • contractor
  • creative director of an independent film company
  • director of process improvement (tech industry)
  • energy efficiency field technician
  • entrepreneur
  • farmer
  • health worker in Burma
  • lawyer
  • mental health counselor
  • occupational therapist
  • pastor
  • physical therapist
  • Pilates studio owner and trainer
  • restaurant owner
  • software industry product director
  • teacher
  • web designer

A Sampling of Careers Gutenberg Prepares Students to Pursue

What makes a good lawyer? A good lawyer understands how to read and interpret difficult texts and knows what kinds of thought and theory are involved in creating and implementing law and policy. A good lawyer understands how history determines what kinds of laws are created and how they are applied in a culture. A good lawyer has the skill of being able to explain a complex idea in clear, accessible language to clients and colleagues.

Our graduates have pursued graduate studies in law at Boston University School of Law, Liberty University School of Law, Chapman University School of Law, University of Oregon School of Law, University of San Diego School of Law, William and Mary Law School, University of California at Davis School of Law, University of California Hastings College of the Law, University of California at Los Angeles School of Law, and Pepperdine School of Law, among others.

What makes a good servant in ministry? A good servant in ministry has a solid grounding in who God is, who man is, and how a culture works. A good servant has the skills necessary to read and interpret the Bible and can clearly communicate that message to others in a kind, loving, and charitable way. A good servant has a deep understanding of oneself specifically and the human condition in general. A good servant understands how history, language, and customs shape a culture.

Gutenberg gives students the tools and skills to read and understand the Bible (in Greek) while cultivating exceptional communication skills to help others interact with the Bible. A deep exploration of history and literature helps students understand what kind of being man is and how man has thought and behaved over the past 3,000 years. Students get an understanding of man in his various contexts—culture—so that they can understand and serve those whose lives they touch.

Gutenberg graduates have gone on to pursue biblical studies and ministry in graduate school at Regent College, St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, and Western Seminary, among others.

Katie Wierenga, class of 2008, is using her Gutenberg education to help impoverished children in Burma. Last year, Katie initiated a vaccine program that partners with the Htee Haw Hta Clinic in rural Karen State, Burma. Katie’s vaccine program helps raise health standards for impoverished and marginalized people. Having moved to Thailand several years ago, Katie became aware of the health and human rights issues that threaten the minority Karen population. Decades of civil war and systematic oppression have left the Karen people in a difficult position. Katie saw an opportunity to do good.

Katie says, “My primary motivation is to serve God by using the resources he has given me to stand with the suffering and oppressed people of the world. I can confidently say that the greatest tool I’ve used in my mission work is my education from Gutenberg College. It is at Gutenberg that I learned to open-mindedly listen to others and try to understand new ideas and perspectives. I use this not only in understanding the cultures and peoples I work with but also in analyzing the work that I do to best serve the people of Karen State.”

Chris Stollar, class of 2004, is a pastor at Veritas Community Church and a board member of She Has A Name, a nonprofit organization that fights human trafficking. He preaches on a regular basis and mentors men who struggle with pornography, sex addiction, and related issues. He also serves as the Demand Reduction Coordinator for She Has A Name, teaching men at a “John School” program in Ohio who were arrested for soliciting prostitutes.

Chris says, “Gutenberg sparked in me a lifelong love for literature—all forms of it. I rely each day on the worldview my tutors helped shape as I write press releases, work on novels, or prepare for sermons. But most importantly, the tutors at that small brick building on University Street taught me the value of ‘inwardness’, as so eloquently described by Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard (still one of my favorite authors we studied at Gutenberg). I have learned how to remain existentially committed to the Truth amid a culture that so often prefers lies and fake news. That’s why I will always be grateful to Gutenberg.”

What makes a good teacher? A good teacher has a solid and realistic conception of what education is. A good teacher is well acquainted with the nature of learning and how students find personal meaning in their studies. Plato said, “One cannot be given an education—one must take it.” A good teacher understands the boundaries between knowledge that can be articulated and knowledge that must be demonstrated. A good teacher knows how to recognize the strengths and weaknesses of students and knows how to dignify a student in his or her pursuit of knowledge and skills.

Our graduates have gone on to schools like Boston University and University of Dallas for teaching. They teach at all levels from primary school to college, in homeschools, public schools, and private schools.

Erik Beck (high school teacher), class of 2006: “My students inhabit an environment bloated with chaotic voices, and they so desperately need a coherent worldview with which to discern truth from lie. Gutenberg trained me to develop a coherent and wise worldview and to articulate this clearly to my students. Without Gutenberg, I would be little more than another voice adding to the chaos of my students’ experience; with Gutenberg, I am their guide out of it.”

Brian Julian, Ph.D. (college professor), class of 2003: “My Gutenberg education has affected my teaching most by giving me the motivation to teach. It helped me to develop tools to think about my life, which in turn motivates me to help my students to develop their own.”

Marianne Scrivner (homeschooling mother and classical educator), class of 2006:“My years at Gutenberg gave me confidence that filling my children’s heads with living ideas from original sources would add up to an incredible education. It also gave me the skills to distill ideas and communicate them at a simpler level and the comfortability to talk about the ways history and ideas are connected across disciplines. As a classical educator, I use the skills Gutenberg wrought in me on a weekly basis. Part of my job requirement is to integrate worldview questions into my various subject areas. Gutenberg helped give me a strong sense of what a worldview is and how to think about what I allow to shape mine. This is a skill I, in turn, pass onto my students. Additionally, as a new student of Latin I have been able to nearly effortlessly pick up the language after my rigorous study of Classical Greek at Gutenberg.”

What makes a good counselor? A good psychologist has a broad and deep understanding of the human condition, what goodness is, and what keeps us from it. A good psychologist has exceptional communication and relational skills and can read a human being as well as any book or text.
Our graduates have gone to Northwest Christian University, Saybrook University, Seattle School of Theology and Psychology. Here’s how Gutenberg helped them serve others in their vocation.

Julian Caballero (counselor), class of 2011: “Gutenberg helped me begin the process of seeing myself, the world, and God more clearly. Knowledge of all these and faith that I could know them was encouraged, for which I will always be grateful. But above knowledge and faith, or perhaps beyond these, what I am truly indebted to Gutenberg for is the love that they showed me. Love is integral to human flourishing and the work that I do as a counselor is best when love is leading me.”

What makes someone good in technological fields? A good tech person has a realistic understanding of what kind of thing technology is, how it works, and how people tend to use it. A good tech person will have given serious consideration to the proper and improper use and function of technology. A good tech person will understand what kind of thing a human being is and have an idea about (and care about) how technology effects human beings and cultures. A good tech person will be skilled in problem-solving not only at a technical level, but also at an interpersonal level.

James Simas (Engineer at F5 Networks), class of 2008: “At Gutenberg I gained the ability to learn tough things quickly which, given how quickly the technology industry moves and how complicated each technological system tends to be, is a crucial skill for succeeding in this industry.”

Kasey Mascenti (Director of Process Improvement in a Telecomm company), class of 2009: I could not do my current job without Gutenberg—my role is entirely built on critical thinking. One must be able to review company issues, build a clear strategy/solution, and then execute it thoroughly. Not a day goes by that I’m not grateful for my education.

What makes a good businessperson? A good businessperson must have good communication skills to communicate ideas and directions clearly to employers/employees, fellow workers, and customers/clients. A good businessperson must be a good problem-solver and understand how to read and interpret many kinds of documents—for example, client letters, contracts, regulatory information, and tax laws. An understanding of economics (how business works) and ethics (how “love of one’s neighbor” translates to employers, employees, and customers) are also important for good businessperson.

Gutenberg graduates have pursued careers in business, and several have started their own businesses.

Sam Hobbs, class of 2009, started a contracting business. He says, “I’m very glad I came to Gutenberg. I learned a lot about how to think and how to ask questions. A Gutenberg education has its advantages in the workplace. One must read contracts very carefully, and careful reading is taught at Gutenberg. One must listen with a view to hearing what people are saying, and that can be learned at Gutenberg. And until Gutenberg, I never understood geometry, and now I employ geometry as a carpenter.”

But more important to Sam is this: “Gutenberg’s education has been incalculably useful in orienting me and many other students toward the value of the projects that our Western civilization has been engaged in for 2,500 years and the project that mankind has undertaken since the Beginning, that is, dealing with God.”

Looking back on his Gutenberg education, Sam says, “I couldn’t have asked for a better education. Sure, I could have pursued other options to make more money. But I’m quite sure that I would be very confused about what the world is about—the same way I was when I graduated from high school. Now as a contractor, I go about my business with some confidence that I have examined who mankind is and what is required of me. I have oriented myself toward God and can pursue in peace the mundane concerns of money and reputation.”

Natalie Sheild, class of 2011, started a catering business and restaurants. She says, “It became apparent that something was setting me apart in my field. Whether it was the ability to hear and communicate through difficult conversations, analyze and execute a technically difficult event, or find a way to listen to everyone and come to an amenable solution—the skills I had learned at Gutenberg started emerging. … It became obvious that this vocation [catering] was what I was meant to do. It fit like a glove. A year later, we added a restaurant concept to allow us to maintain a better staff. After poling the community, we decided to go with a “Germanish” concept, and thanks to those years of German at Gutenberg, I knew quite a bit about the culture and language. … Five years after I went into business, we now have a staff of thirty-five across five restaurant concepts. … I am so thankful that Gutenberg encouraged me to embrace a life of knowledge, truth, and analysis. I would not be the woman I am today without it.”

Liberal Arts: Education for All Walks of Life

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