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.

 

 

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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

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