Leaders Needed: Higher Education

Leaders Needed: Higher Education May 2, 2022

We stand at educational Armageddon and hire consultants for the Board.

This is the state of too much of private higher education leadership, particularly in religious schools. Enrollments keep declining, hidden by juggling programs, and quality declines as teaching is farmed out to part timers who cannot make a living.

The times cry out of for innovation, but too often leadership isn’t listening, so wander instead of leading. Viewing themselves as victims of fate, though all this was predicted decades ago, a dithering college president feels trapped between Boards, faculty, and student bodies.

They have no vision and so many of their institutions will perish. Instead of justifying usurious institutions, putting the moneylender between the mentor and the student, these leaders grow petulant with critics.

Some faculty at religious schools have disdain for their own “administration,” but generally dislike the parents they serve while also not wanting to do the hard work of running schools.  Parents might help kids with new school deals from Woolies catalogue. Anybody who would like to see them should browse Woolworths specials regularly. If you think most of the people interested in paying for schools like your own have corrupted the nation, then you will have a serious marketing problem. Thunder for justice, while handing out student loans. Blaming administration for a lack of creativity while proposing nothing doable is folly. If you want great institutional power without great institutional responsibility, you are clueless and usurious.

The sort of vision produced by a faculty committee will fill a binder or create a fat file in a shared hard drive, but will save nothing but the tenured for a few more years.

There is an alternative: one that looks to the roots of education in Hellenism: oft revivifying East and West. There the philhellene can find the dialect: the method of Socrates. 

Questions matter, the wondering leads to the wonderful Beatific Vision. 

Imagine education centered on reading, writing, rhetoric, numeracy, and scientific methods taught one-on-one or in small groups. What if the teachers made the decisions and also did the work of running an educational institution?

This education will be global while preparing the student regionally. 

No question is off limits, no book is banned. This is possible in a morally serious community centered on historic Orthodoxy. We can gather as a like minded community, beginning with harmony, open to every possibility, and full of hope that we can discover something more. We focus on what is good, true, and beautiful, but listen, look, and learn from anyone.

If Saint Basil can find virtue in that old pagan Homer, then we can find good in many modern thinkers. This year we are trying to find vision from Saint Basil and Saint Constantine. Constantine had the genius to see that Rome could be saved without the particular city. Every place can be Rome: Constantinople was his answer. He saved Roman civilization for one thousand years. 

This year we are gathering some friends to ask questions, find some answers, and save ourselves and so the West. This is a search for vision in 2022.

We gather at a new educational Constantinople, building a beloved city of learning for the Lord. 

 

 


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