The Christian Humanist Podcast, Episode #50: The Christian Humanist University

General Introduction
– In which we put Season 4 to bed
– David speaks in faith
– Listener feedback
– Looking for our most-distant listener
– We apologize for last week’s rabbit trails
– Nathan’s McLaren review fails to make significant waves
– How we plan to spend our summer vacation

Destroying the German University Model
– University as job-credential factory
– Academies vs. universities
– Research elevated over teaching
– The “Invisible Hand” mentality
– Over-specialization
– A disclaimer about the University of Georgia

Let’s Talk Teleology
– The history of the liberal arts
– Geographical specificity
– A helpful idealism
– Knowing a good bit about an awful lot

The Advantages of Majors
– The need for a center
– Transcendence and immanence
– The influence of graduate school
– The importance of the sciences

Core Curriculum
– Rolling the classes together
– The role of non-Western civilization
– Adding laboratories to the mix
– How would these classes be taught?

Student Spiritual Life
– Closing down the chapel on Sunday morning
– Chapel alternatives
– Small groups
– Burning out on church
– Chapel services for adults
– The priesthood of all professors

CHU Exclusivity
– Universities aren’t for everyone
– The ethics of open admission
– The admissions essay
– More work for professors
– Statements of faith for students and faculty

Sports!
Professor/coaches
– Athlete/scholars
– Forced participation
– Why team sports are good for you

Potpourri
– The ideal campus
– Monastic architecture
– Aesthetics matter
– Breaking down the city walls
– Leisure-class faculty
BIBLIOGRAPHY
Menand, Louis. The Marketplace of Ideas: Reform and Resistance in the American University. New York: Norton, 2010.

Milton, John. “On Education.” The Major Works. Ed. Stephen Orgel and Jonathan Goldberg. New York: Oxford UP, 2003. 226-236.

Newman, John Henry. The Idea of a University. South Bend, Ind.: U of Notre Dame P, 1990.

 

2 thoughts on “The Christian Humanist Podcast, Episode #50: The Christian Humanist University

  1. Great podcast on the recreation of a university that promotes integrated and holistic learning for real, living people. I know that you are discussing the specifics of a university with four year students in mind but I think this is a similar conversation that even state-owned, two-year colleges (like my own current employer) need to be having where the vision is torn between how to best serve students seeking technical skills and what we owe them to be well rounded, democratic citizens. Within community colleges those lines are certainly drawn.

    As a current community college instructor who has only recently finished graduate school with an English M.A. I wonder about the type of degree you would seek for faculty members of such a college. If you want instructors to focus on teaching and to be generalists, does that mean that the traditional worship of the ph.d would continue at this university or would the M.A. have a place within the faculty?

    Thanks for a great show!

  2. That’s an excellent question, Brandon, and I suspect the three of us are apt to have three different opinions on it.

    A disclaimer before I present mine: none of us has completed the Ph.D program, so while we’re on our way to being worship-worthy, as it stands, we’re lowly MAs, or at best MAs-plus.

    I definitely see the value of a PhD program, and it doesn’t really have much to do with the content of what you learn during that time. But it’s an additional commitment beyond the two-year MA program, one in which most people are submerged in academic life. The classes aren’t any harder, of course, but you double the number of rigorous (one hopes) graduate courses you take.

    And then there are comprehensive exams. I had them with my MA, but they were nothing like the year and a half of reading I had to put in for my PhD comps. I think it’s safe to say that I learned more reading for those exams than at any other time in my life, and it’s because the university forced me to do so.

    All of this is to say that, were I on the hiring board, I would definitely consider MAs who seemed promising, but that I would prefer people who had gone through the extra four years of intensive work. It may actually be a quantity issue even more than a quality issue.

    Community colleges confuse me, personally; as you may know, I worked at one for the past year and never could get my head around exactly what I or the school was doing. I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts on that matter.

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