July 16, 2018

By Andrew Hofstetter | Liberty Classical Academy

WHITE BEAR LAKE, MINNESOTA   -  In her course, “Classical Aesthetics in Digital Systems,” Dr. Naomi Dillner from White Bear Lake’s Liberty Classical Academy, is merging the classic philosophical ideologies of Socrates with the complex innovative technology of MIT and other leading engineering minds in our country.

She’s not doing it alone. 

Liberty Classical Academy formed a unique partnership with Century College of White Bear Lake to develop a philosophically-rooted and digitally sophisticated course for their high school students. Century College, as part of its increasing influence and broad education offerings, boasts the innovation and opportunity of a Fab Lab (Fabrication Laboratory) to its students and staff. According to Century College, it is essentially “a ‘hi-tech tinkers’ workshop for inventors and people who want to design, prototype and build things.” The laboratory itself, run under the leadership of its director and Century College engineering professor Scott Simenson, is equipped with a 3D printer, laser engravers, and a wide range of tools and equipment that allow for the design of anything from electrical circuits to boats. As a college, Century has broadened its reach and offerings with these innovations and has set a trajectory that is leading the way in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics.

“When Liberty approached us with the interest of linking the technical arts and the liberal arts in an applied engineering format, we knew that it could be an ideal partnership,” Simenson said. “Within the Fab Lab ecosystem, students become aware of and develop an appreciation of the technical knowledge and skills linked to our digital society.”

So now, twice a week, Liberty Classical high school students are applying what they know of Socrates’ standard for beauty with the digital tools of the Fab Lab at Century College. They are creating pieces of art while taking a deep dive into modern design technology. Each piece must keep the standard that says beauty can be found in any object that is crafted with proportion, functionality, and form. 

Their designs of artistry, innovation, and ideation are made possible because of this partnership between classical ideals and current innovation.

“In this class, our students are working on something real that has meaning, as opposed to an academic exercise.” says Dillner. “We had dreams for this course that seemed impossible, but Century turned those dreams into reality. They gave us access to equipment and space that we did not have and gave our students the platform to infuse ideals of beauty from ancient Greece (humanities) with rapid-prototyping digital systems (engineering). It’s clear that Century College values being engaged, connected, and a resource to our local community.” 

Classical ideals. Current innovation. It’s another way that better conversations are happening in White Bear Lake. 

Find out more the Century College Digital Fabrication Laboratory.

About Liberty Classical Academy.

Launched in 2003, Liberty Classical Academy is an independent college-preparatory private Christian school in White Bear Lake, Minnesota, serving students in preschool through 12th grade. Liberty Classical’s mission is to equip students of all backgrounds to grow in wisdom, excellence, and purpose by offering an education based on the highest academic standards grounded in a strong classical tradition from a distinctively Christian worldview. Liberty Classical Academy is a member of the Association of Classical Christian Schools (ACCS).