The long view

 I am reading a fine collection of essays entitled Christianity and the Disciplines, which invites scholars from many fields to address two questions:Methodologically, what shifts might occur in your subject and the study of your subject if Christianity were taken as true? Substantively, what transformations might be seen in your subject area if the truth of Christianity were to penetrate those like yourselves who study and engage with the subject? (3-4)I'll post a review of the … [Read more...]

In loco parentis

Xavier University of Louisiana produces more black medical school students than any other institution in the United States. More than big state schools, prestigious private schools, more than anyone. The reason is simple: they have taken care of their students like parents.Nikole Hannah-Jones tells the story at the New York Times: Marybeth Gasman, an education professor and the head of the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Minority Serving Institutions, which does research on and as … [Read more...]

Peer review and the sin of pride

 There's a recent fascinating story of a rising high-school freshman whose work exposed a professor's myth. Ben Collins explains [link added]:In 2002, University of Illinois-Chicago history professor Richard J. Jensen printed “No Irish Need Apply: A Myth of Victimization,” a peer-reviewed article in the Journal of Social History. His abstract begins: “Irish Catholics in America have a vibrant memory of humiliating job discrimination, which featured omnipresent signs proclaiming … [Read more...]

Pope Francis address at Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador

 Yesterday Pope Francis gave an address to representatives of schools and universities at the Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador. Following is an excerpt which draws from his recent encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si'. Faced with the globalization of a technocratic paradigm which tends to believe “that every increase in power means an increase of progress itself, an advance in security, usefulness, welfare and vigor; …an assimilation of new values into the stream of cu … [Read more...]

College and vocation

Colleen Flaherty of Inside Higher Ed recently interviewed Tim Clydesdale, professor of sociology at the College of New Jersey and author of the 2007 book The First Year Out: Understanding American Teens After High School (University of Chicago Press). His newest book is The Purposeful Graduate: Why Colleges Must Talk to Students About Vocation (University of Chicago Press).Clydesdale studied programs at various religiously-affiliated colleges and universities which received grants from the Li … [Read more...]

Review Essay: Paul Shrimpton, The Making of Men

In 1848 an Oxford don named Charles Daman, a close friend of John Henry Newman in their Oriel College days, penned a guide to aspiring students at Oxford. Titled Ten letters introductory to college residence, Daman’s book aimed to do what he and Newman had striven to do as tutors, even in the face of a collegiate structure that did not support their efforts: to guide adolescents (“inchoate and promissory men”) toward those exercises and pursuits that would help them achieve the dignity of civiliz … [Read more...]

The faith that teaching requires

Amidst the eros for metrics in higher education, it is easy to lose focus on what is at heart an act of faith on the part of the teacher: expending much energy and effort to try to reach the soul of the student. Our work is never solely communication of information and knowledge: books and (duh) the internet make this possible quite without our intervention. The text is really only the pre-text: what we do is use a subject in order to open up a student's mind and see the world a little … [Read more...]

Babel or cosmopolis?

Katarina Schuth, O.S.F., the Endowed Chair for the Social Scientific Study of Religion at the University of St. Thomas (MN), explores the impact of different cultures on the intellectual life of Catholic universities in the new issue of Integritas. Her essay raises a critical question: in this age of globalization, what ought to be the role of universities in promoting mutual understanding among peoples? Specifically, how ought Catholic universities rise to this challenge? Reflecting on her … [Read more...]

Catholic universities and nonviolence

In light of the situation that has unfolded in Baltimore in recent days, we who work in the contexts of Catholic colleges and universities must ask, once again, about how our work contributes to a more just, and therefore more peaceful, world.Last December, I and many colleagues who teach Catholic theology signed a statement of racial justice in response to what unfolded in Ferguson, Missouri, and elsewhere. That statement cited Pope Francis's words in Evangelii Gaudium: until exclusion and … [Read more...]