Teaching Knowledge and Good Judgment

by Stephanie Fritz '09

Psalm 119:66 states, “Teach me knowledge and good judgment, for I believe in Your commands.” This verse served as the 2009 Common Day of Learning theme, “Teaching Knowledge and Good Judgment.” Every year on the first Wednesday in March, Azusa Pacific cancels daytime classes for Common Day of Learning, where students, faculty, staff, friends, and family can attend sessions on academic integrity and extended research.

The day-long event was broken into three different sections with more than 15 lectures hosted by faculty, staff, and students. Topics covered ranged from writing for children and adolescents, to Christian responsibility in caring for the poor, to birth order affects on autism, to ethical decision making.

One panel focused on the day's theme verse, “Using the Scriptures to Teach Knowledge and Wisdom,” and was hosted by Timothy Finlay, Ph.D., associate professor of Old Testament in the School of Theology, and Steven Wentland, Ed.D.O.L., associate professor of liberal studies. Finlay explained the underlying message of Psalms 119 and encouraged the audience to study the Torah, sharing that the Hebrew language does not have regular meter. Wentland taught on the book of Proverbs and how wisdom and instruction is the basis for understanding and knowledge in this book.

Freshman Communications major Michaela Pereira attended this panel discussion and said, “I picked this session because I like the books of Psalms and Proverbs and was curious to see what the panel had to say about them.”

Keynote speaker Judith M. Dean, Ph.D., a senior international economist for the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) in Washington, D.C., spoke in chapel and addressed to audience members about the significance of asking the right questions when practicing knowledge and good judgment. Questions such as, "Who are the poor? Why are they poor? Will my solution really contribute to the root cause of the problem?"

The day closed with a special evening session featuring Joni Eareckson Tada and Nigel Cameron, Ph.D., president of the Center for Policy on Emerging Technologies, who spoke on their book How To Be a Christian in a Brave New World. Tada is the founder and CEO of Joni and Friends International Disability Center and has been living for more than 40 years as a quadriplegic. Cameron is president of the Center for Policy on Emerging Technologies and research professor of bioethics and associate dean at Chicago-Kent College of Law in the Illinois Institute of Technology.