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The Humanities Conference 2003

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Presentation Details

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Art, Religions, and Values: One Example of a State School's Attempt to Infuse the Curriculum with a Little More Morality and a Little Less Pragmatism

Dr William Hoar.

Five years ago Northern State University (Aberdeen, South Dakota, USA) put into play a program to develop and conduct what are now called "values classes." These classes have been set up in an attempt to counterbalance the pragmatism that has infiltrated the curriculum in recent decades. At the basis of this action is the belief that we are not properly educating our undergraduate students if the focus of instruction is on material content, manipulation, and gain. Therefore, we have developed values classes (the institution presently has seven) that are objective studies of how people in different disciplines and arenas employ ethical, values-based systems to make decisions and conduct their lives.
The paper that will be presented will explore three major components of the formation and implementation of "Art, Religions, and Values." First, it will be explained how the administration reached the point where it felt values classes were needful. Second, there will be a description of the curricular and pedagogical development of the course itself. Third, the paper will go into some depth on the day-to-day methodologies the students and instructor use to gain an understanding of the integrity of individual religions, the degrees to which religions correspond, and how a humanities discipline like art history can aid such an investigation.


Dr William Hoar  (United States)
Art Department
Northern State University

Dr. Wm. Hoar was born in New Jersey (USA), 1944. He earned a BA degree from Carthage College (1966), Kenosha, WI, & MA (1974) & PhD (1983) degrees from the University of Iowa, Iowa, IA. From 1966 to 1968 Hoar was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ethiopia. He spent 4 years in Taiwan, first as a lay missionary & then as a guest professor. Altogether he has traveled to 22 countries. Hoar has been at Northern State University for 25 years, teaching art history, geography, Chinese history, and Mandarin.

  • Curriculum Development
  • Values Classes
  • World Religions
  • Art History
  • Pedagogy

(30 min Conference Paper, English)