(Photo: REUTERS/Bret Hartmanv)
The provost of a Christian academic institution has written a book meant to help older college students get an introduction to the upper education experience.
Rick Ostrander, provost and chief academic officer at Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, Mich., has recently published Reconsidering College: Christian Higher Education for Working Adults.
"More and more adults are seeking to develop themselves and improve their professional opportunities by completing a college degree. Whether business professionals, salespersons, nurses, parents, or persons engaged in any other profession, many working adults recognize the value of furthering their education," reads a press release in part.
"This book is designed to help all of those who are 'reconsidering college' to understand the value of adult education and explain some ways that such an education can be distinctively Christian."
In an interview with The Christian Post on Monday, Ostrander explained that before Reconsidering College he had written other works to prepare younger students for college.
"I had written similar books for college undergraduates a few years ago. Kind of introducing the Christian college experience to students," said Ostrander.
"Just thought it would be good to adapt some of the ideas in that book to a different sort of student audience, one who is not your typical 18-year-old full-time college student."
Reconsidering College takes an overview look at the issue of college education for adults, including the value and importance of getting an advanced Christian education.
Chapters focus on the "intrinsic value" and "instrumental value" of education, as well as the "Christian understanding of work" as laid out in the first chapter.
"When we flourish in our area of giftedness and do our jobs well, we not only glorify our creator, but influence our culture in positive ways," wrote Ostrander.
"Christians believe that God is at work even now in bringing redemption and healing to our fallen world. And one of the primary ways that we contribute to God's redemptive purposes is in our professions."
With fewer than 90 pages, Reconsidering College offers a light read for an intended audience likely reading a large number of books and articles in a given semester.
Ostrander told CP that while he has written both long and short works in his time, he opted to make this most recent book more of an "introductory level" book likely for usage in concert with "other books as well."
"I like to try to keep things concise. I know there's more that can be said on the topic, but really I was thinking in terms of something that would be brief and readable," said Ostrander.
"It's not an attempt to say everything on the subject but at least kind of introduce the topic and hopefully provide some interesting avenues for further discussion or further reading."
Ostrander's book comes as the college experience in the United States comes under fire from economically-driven concerns.
Some social commentators have been troubled by the rising expense of college, with high tuition prompting students to take out loans that lead to crushing debt.
When asked by CP if college was worth the effort, given the current economic circumstances facing recent graduates, Ostrander replied that "it's clearly worth it" and "a good investment in one's future."
"I think we need to at least acknowledge and remain confident that any study that I've seen would indicate that a college degree is worth the investment," said Ostrander.
"Now it gets trickier trying to figure out, you know, if you study that or look at variations by institution or by major and all that, but in general terms clearly it is a good investment."
Furthermore, added Ostrander, Christians should "go beyond the question" of whether it's "a good financial investment to looking at education more broadly."
"College…changes who we are as a person it gives us a deeper sense of awareness of God's creation, it gives us an understanding of ourselves," said Ostrander, who acknowledged that college is not for everyone.
"It helps equips us to flourish in life in a variety of ways, not just as workers but as family, as leaders in our communities and church."
Published by Abilene Christian University Press, Reconsidering College: Christian Higher Education for Working Adults by Rick Ostrander was released last month.