I finally finished reading Perry Glanzer’s outstanding article in the March issue of Christianity Today. It’s entitled “The Missing Factor in Higher Education: How Christian universities are unique, and how they can stay that way.” An excerpt:
When it comes to the moral dimension of education, are Christian colleges and universities different? Actually, they are. Evangelical college and university mission statements are filled with language about moral goals and ideals. Sometimes they even mention wisdom. For instance, Indiana’s Huntington University seeks to “educate students broadly for a life of moral and spiritual integrity, personal and social responsibility, and a continued quest for wisdom.”
But does it matter in practice? Research shows that Christian, particularly evangelical, institutions demonstrate a marked moral difference in five areas: (1) faculty attitudes; (2) Bible, theology, and ethics in the curriculum; (3) measured or reported impact on character or moral attitudes; (4) students’ moral reasoning; and (5) alumni views about moral education.
And a challenge:
Christian universities must hire faculty and staff who demonstrate not only expertise and the willingness to sign a confessional statement, but also the thinking, heart, virtues, and practices related to a well-lived Christian life, and the willingness to commend these things to others. Perhaps even more demanding, the Christian university will need to demonstrate God’s grace and forgiveness when an individual or the whole academic community falls short of this ideal. Historically speaking, many of them have chosen instead to ignore this difficult challenge and focus on hiring primarily for academic expertise.
Read the whole thing.