College Ranking for the Soul?

1 Dec

Ruth Graham raises an interesting question in The Atlantic:

Is it possible to judge a school’s ability to encourage deeper religious faith?

Graham, a freelance journalist, is herself a Wheaton College graduate:

I sometimes wonder whether my alma mater, the top evangelical college in the country, would consider me a successful graduate. I’m gainfully employed and satisfied with my life, but I no longer consider myself an evangelical Christian. I’m happy with my Wheaton College education, but would Wheaton be happy with me if it could look into my heart? Would prospective students and their parents be scared off by my story?

Bethel University historian Chris Gehrz, reflecting on Graham’s piece, observes:

Even as I’ve periodically parsed college ranking systems with a particular eye to how Christian colleges fare, I’ve increasingly come to think that any such evaluation is (if not fraudulent) doomed to failure. Perhaps “Matters of faith and spiritual thriving” are less quantifiable (I feel like I’ve said a million times this year alone that the most important factors in education are likely to be the least measurable), but I’m not sure this is unique to Christian or other religious colleges.

For Graham’s piece, see here. For Gehrz’s piece, see here.

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