Tag Archives: higher education

Embrace the Pain: Living with the Repugnant Cultural Other

5 Feb

When my son was quite young, I took him to our family doctor for a regular check-up, and during the examination the doctor said “Now I need to look for bruises.” I was instantly offended and alarmed: I don’t hurt my child! “No, no,” he said. “I want to see bruises. Because if he doesn’t have a few bruises, that means that he’s not taking the physical risks that he needs to take to develop as he should.” If playing too recklessly can lead a child into trouble, timidity can create its own, very different, troubles.

I have often reflected on what Dr Judge said that day, and even now I apply it to myself – not in terms of physical risk, physical development (that ship has sailed, for me), but in terms of intellectual risk-taking. I see too many people my age, indeed younger than me, who have ceased to take any chances, who have settled into complacency, whose outlook on the world can never receive any bruises because it is never risked on the playing field. I don’t want to be like that – not now, and not ever.

And here we arrive at the heart of the matter: I want to argue – with considerable trepidation, I admit – that the task of the undergraduate student is to embrace this kind of bruising, such pain, and the task of teachers and administrators is, if they can, to structure the game in such a way that that pain doesn’t escalate into harm. If we can manage that, then it’s good for students, good for the university, and good for the society at large. Let me unpack this argument.

If you want to see how Alan Jacobs of Baylor University unpacks this, you can read his entire address here.



Jerry Falwell Jr. relishes new fight for Donald Trump as Liberty University peaks

1 Nov

Falwell calls Liberty University the Fox News of academia. But where is one of President Trump’s staunchest supporters taking the university he and his family built? Rick Seltzer provides an extensive report on Falwell and LU; you can read it all at Inside Higher Ed here: Jerry Falwell Jr. relishes new fight for Donald Trump as Liberty University peaks

The New Idolatry: On the (Mis)Uses of Diversity in Academia Today

16 Jun

Professor Thomas Pfau of Duke University provides some thoughtful reflections on what is or is not meant by “diversity” in academia, particularly in light of the recent controversy that has embroiled Duke Divinity School. Read his piece here at the Australian Broadcasting Corporations’s Religion and Ethics site: The New Idolatry: On the (Mis)Uses of Diversity in Academia Today – Opinion – ABC Religion & Ethics (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

The Three Journeys of the Christian Liberal Arts

2 May

Historian Chris Gehrz here offers a thoughtful theological reflection on the liberal arts: The Three Journeys of the Christian Liberal Arts

Northwestern Review, vol. 2

1 Feb

Our second volume is ready. The official launch is tomorrow, but, here it is “early”: http://nwcommons.nwciowa.edu/northwesternreview/

“Frivolous” Humanities Helped Prisoners Survive in Communist Romania

6 Jan

Educated political prisoners drew on rich inner resources to preserve their sanity and their spirits. They used their knowledge to help their fellow inmates survive as well. Their experiences reveal what the attack on the humanities really is. It is an attack on the ability to think, criticize, and endure in crisis, and its virulence betrays how vital the liberal arts are. The political rhetoric against the humanities exposes what is most important in our education, even as it attempts to destroy it.

So writes Romanian medieval literature professor Irina Dumitrescu. Read her entire piece here at the Zocalo Public Square: “Frivolous” Humanities Helped Prisoners Survive in Communist Romania – Nexus – Zócalo Public Square

Religiously Serious, Thoughtfully Secular 

17 Oct

Professor Randy Boyagoda argues for a different perspective in higher education:

[W]e need to move from an elite First World presumption that you’re either religious or you’re not, with all the stereotypical assumptions that flow from those positions, to a situation in which more and more people are confident and capable in being both religiously serious and thoughtfully secular.

Find his entire piece here, and see what you think: Religiously Serious, Thoughtfully Secular – The Chronicle of Higher Education

The Professor Wore a Hijab in Solidarity — Then Lost Her Job

14 Oct

When Larycia Hawkins, the first black woman to receive tenure at Wheaton College, made a symbolic gesture of support for Muslims, the evangelical college became divided over what intellectual freedom on its campus really meant. See what journalist Ruth Graham (a Wheaton graduate, but not related to Billy Graham) has found out about the aftermath of things for Hawkins and Wheaton here: The Professor Wore a Hijab in Solidarity — Then Lost Her Job – The New York Times

History isn’t a ‘useless’ major. It teaches critical thinking, something America needs plenty more of

30 May

James Grossman of the American Historical Association has a few words to the wise about “using” history …

Source: History isn’t a ‘useless’ major. It teaches critical thinking, something America needs plenty more of – LA Times

272 Slaves Were Sold to Save Georgetown University. What Does It Owe Their Descendants?

16 Apr

In 1838, the Jesuit priests who ran the country’s top Catholic university needed money to keep it alive. Now comes the task of making amends.

This is a troubling and amazing story by Rachel L. Swarns of the New York Times. Recovering the past is not necessarily a simple, let alone triumphal, endeavor.

Source: 272 Slaves Were Sold to Save Georgetown. What Does It Owe Their Descendants? – The New York Times

Exploring the Past

Reading, Thinking, and Blogging about History

Enough Light

"In faith there is enough light for those who want to believe and enough shadows to blind those who don't." - Blaise Pascal

Lenten Lamentations

Preparing to Participate in God's Mosaic Kingdom

The Text Message

Discoveries from processing and reference archivists on the job

john pavlovitz

Stuff That Needs To Be Said

Wirelesshogan: Reflections from the Hogan

"History is the record of our loves in all their magnificent and ignoble forms." Eugene McCarraher

The Way of Improvement Leads Home

"History is the record of our loves in all their magnificent and ignoble forms." Eugene McCarraher

the way of improvement leads home

reflections at the intersection of American history, religion, politics, and academic life

The Pietist Schoolman

The website and blog of historian Chris Gehrz

Reformed Journal: The Twelve

Reformed. Done Daily.


by Alex Scarfe


Thoughtful Conversation about the American West

Northwest History

"History is the record of our loves in all their magnificent and ignoble forms." Eugene McCarraher

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