Philosophy and Religion
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Departmental Mission

The mission of the BCC Philosophy and Religion faculty is to provide students with a substantial and educationally meaningful program of philosophical and religious studies through well-designed and well-taught on-campus, online, and partially online (hybrid) courses.

Intellectual Skills

An integral feature of our mission – both in Philosophy and in Religious Studies – is to impress upon students the value of critical thought and the value of precision in the use of language and to help them develop the habit of thinking, speaking, and writing with logical rigor and clarity. To that end,

  • We seek to base all philosophy and religion courses on the reading and discussion of the writings of major philosophical and religious thinkers (i.e., on primary sources rather than on textbooks, either in anthology form or in the form of "great books" or "classic texts"), including, in the case of religion, the study of the sacred scriptures of the major religions of the world
  • We incorporate in all philosophy and religion courses the teaching of basic principles and methods of logical reasoning and/or critical thinking as well as techniques of academic research and writing; and
  • We require students in all philosophy and religion courses to do a substantial amount of expository, analytic, and critical writing in response to the materials studied in the courses.

Instructional Methods

In carrying out our mission, we utilize instructional methods calculated to meet the educational needs of all students, recognizing that there is a diversity of learning styles among BCC students. We organize the learning process through appropriate combinations of lectures, group discussions, collaborative learning processes and projects, audio-visual presentations (videos, PowerPoint presentations, carefully-designed reading and writing assignments [papers, tests, library research projects, etc.]).

Student Learning Goals

We seek diligently to assist and encourage our students in the achievement of the following student learning goals in philosophy and in religion:

Philosophy:
  • Students will identify and analyze the basic problems of philosophy in the fields of metaphysics, epistemology, and value theory.
  • Students will demonstrate a sound working knowledge of the basic principles of logic and the ability to incorporate them in their analyses of philosophical issues.
  • Students will state and support their own views on philosophical issues logically, coherently, concisely, and clearly, both orally and in writing.
Religion:
  • Students will explain the relationship between religion and culture.
  • Students will apply academic methodologies to the study of religion.
  • Students will analyze sacred texts and traditions recognizing the various hermeneutic approaches.
  • Students will defend positions on religious issues with critical precision, clarity, and rigor, both orally and in writing.

The mission statement of the Department of Philosophy and Religion is consistent with and supportive of the overall Mission and Goals statement of Bergen Community College and gives special support to the elements in that statement that are underlined below:

BCC Mission

Bergen Community College provides high quality, relevant, and varied educational programs and opportunities for the intellectual, cultural, and personal growth of all members of its community. The College values its role as an educational leader, embracing change and responding to the complex needs of those it serves.

BCC Goals

  • To offer credit and non-credit educational programs that are comprehensive and diversified, providing students with the knowledge and skills necessary to transfer to baccalaureate programs, to achieve employment goals, and to enhance personal and professional growth through lifelong learning.
  • To provide supportive services and leadership opportunities in an environment that enables and encourages students to achieve their educational and professional goals and to develop their social skills.
  • To provide cultural programs that are of interest to a diverse community and that engage and enrich the audience through a range of creative expression.
  • To collaborate with educational institutions, community organizations, public agencies, businesses, and employee groups to enhance opportunities for learning and for the economic development of the region.