Reflections on the Miami Code of Love and Honor – Line 1

Even before Renate and I arrived at Miami, we were impressed by the Code of Love and Honor. It is such a distinctive statement of values among public universities. Each line has a meaning that resonates to me, personally, and the rest of this semester I’ll post a short blog about each line. I welcome your thoughts about our Code, also, which can be found on our diversity and inclusion web page.

Line 1:
I believe that a liberal education is grounded in qualities of character and intellect.

A Miami University education is not a four-year proposition but a 40-year one. It prepares students for a successful career as well as a flourishing life. Miami is a community of scholarship, teaching, and learning that imparts knowledge and wisdom from an amazing and accomplished faculty, and dedicated, committed staff. But at our foundation, we are a community, rich with human connections structured for mutual support, growth in personal values and virtues, the ability to learn, and service to others.

Our commitment to liberal education requires this human dimension. We are not in the business of merely transferring data to students so they can absorb facts and figures. Instead, we aim to bring students into an experience of the wealth of human knowledge and understanding, which finds expression in a rewarding life for individuals and societies. That life does not start upon graduation – it is an integral part of a Miami education that begins on campus and lasts a lifetime.

Liberal education at universities emerged in the 12th century to equip people for meaningful and successful life as free citizens and human beings. Its founders understood that progress, both personal and social, results from knowledge about the natural world and the ideas and achievements of people across history. They also knew that gathering students into communities was a vital element of such an education. Those principles remain relevant for the 21st century, even as dynamic progress requires attention to emerging competencies such as design thinking, emotional intelligence, entrepreneurialism and inclusive excellence.

At Miami, our grounding in these time-tested principles equips students for a dynamic synergy that accelerates learning and growth. With the Global Miami Plan at our core, we equip students for both lives and careers with high impact on the rapidly-changing world they will enter.

The intellectual and character virtues and values are not abstractions to Miamians. Critical thinking is exercised in the analysis of texts, faculty mentorship, and in-depth examination of issues. Perseverance is exercised in the arduous work of research and learning. Communication and dissemination are exercised in the production of publications and presentations. Wonder is exercised in the engagement with new questions and novel ideas. Openness and respect are exercised in dialogue.

Our goal is to position each student as an active participant in the community, respected as the agents of their own education, and expected to add their own contributions. Inspired by our faculty, students are creators of knowledge, not just absorbers of it. They learn to collaborate with others, including their professors and classmates, in teams where diverse insights are welcome. Growth in both character and intellect is accelerated by such relationships and interactions.