As some students opted to relax during their final days of winter breaks, other chose to take advantage of the down time and get ahead on their studies at The Master’s University (TMU).
For one week, TMU offered both college and high school a week-long Winterim Astronomy Course that included lectures and labs.
Taught by globally-recognized Christian astrophysicist Jason Lisle, the astronomy course included details about the history of astronomy from ancient time to modern discoveries today, while informing students of how a Christian worldview and scientific discovery co-exist.
“Dr. Lisle is nationally-known astrophysicist so I think it’s a great opportunity for students. At Master’s we are committed to a biblical world view and I think it will be important for students to take notice that bible and science are not incompatible that they function together,” said Mitch Hopewell, dean of the TMU school of online education. “Being a scientist doesn’t mean you can’t believe what the Bible says, and I think that’s one of the strengths Dr. Lisle brings to the program.”
Lisle, who holds a Ph.D. in astrophysics and started the Biblical Science Institute, combined his belief in God with his passion for astronomy to study the universe and expand his own worldview.
“Astronomy is wonderfully beautiful. It’s always abstract and it allows you to explore something we just don’t experience on earth. The sizes of objects in space are mind blowing,” Lisle said in a Q&A with TMU. “For me, when I study the universe I am studying the handiwork of God. That makes it much more enjoyable.”
Because of his beliefs and his success in his field, Lisle—who is a friend of TMU President John MacArthur—was invited to teach the Winterim course.
“We decided to invite him to teach our winter astronomy course, which has been part of our Winterim course schedule for many years,” said Joe Francis, dean of the TMU school of science, mathematics, technology and health. “This is the first time we have had an astronomer who has published in the field of astronomy teach the course.”
This is also the first time the university is offering a dual credit option to high school students who enrolled in the course, according to TMU officials.
“I think it’s a great opportunity in general, dual credit is a fantastic opportunity for high school students to get a head start on their high school experience,” Hopewell said. “These kind of options provide a great enrichment for those student who are ready for it.”
The dual credit option also allows students interested in Master’s University to get a feel for the university’s campus environment and regular course load.
“I think in general we’re excited for the opportunity that students interested in Master’s University have with dual credit, whether it’s on campus or online,” Hopewell said. “The campus courses are a great way to get a head start and integrate in the university. And the online option in the general education is a great opportunity and is cost effective and really gets them kick started on their higher education.”
According to Francis, astronomy courses have been popular options for general education students since the classes began 32 years ago.
“It became a popular course because all students are required to take a certain number of science units in our general education program,” Francis said. “Our general education program was changed a few years ago and now only requires one math course and one geology or biology course (both include labs). But some of our education students need training in astronomy so this will allow us to keep offering the course in the near future.”
It also is an option for students wishing to pursue the college’s new geoscience major, which will begin in fall 2018.
“We hope to add a planetary science emphasis within the geosciences major also,” Francis said.
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