higher education

Do-It-Yourself Biology

The bromide of “being true to yourself” has found new life in gender studies, in the vertiginous celebration of the Supercilious Self, and in the concomitant denial of the “permanent things.” For example, Mount Holyoke College, in Massachusetts, proudly announces that “it welcomes applications for its undergraduate program from any qualified student who is female [...]

Putting First Things First in a College Education

St. Gregory's University just concluded its first bi-annual “Leisure and Labor Conference,” which brings academics and professionals together to reflect on the interplay between the liberal arts and the professions. The dialogue between Martha and Jesus in Chapter 10 of Luke’s Gospel captures the essence of this relationship between labor and leisure. Mary sits at Jesus’s [...]

Welcome to the Oppression Olympics

I knew crazy things were happening on college campuses but it seems I wasn’t acutely aware how certain precincts in institutions of “higher” learning had become equal parts Orwellian insane asylum and the Theater of the Absurd. By the time you finish reading the article titled “16 Most Ridiculously PC Moments on College Campuses in [...]

What Happened to Catholic Working Class Colleges?

David Leonhardt, in the January 18 New York Times, asked whether the “heyday of the colleges that serve[d] America’s working class is over.” He reminisces about the City College of New York, which used to cost only a few hundred dollars a year but was the “Harvard of the proletariat.” He laments the fact that good, [...]

Higher Education in Hell

In “That perfection of the Intellect,” wrote the lucid John Henry Newman in The Idea of a University, and its beau ideal, to be imparted to individuals in their respective measures, is the clear, calm, accurate vision and comprehension of all things, as far as the finite mind can embrace them, each in its place, and with [...]

How Catholic Schools Lose Their Identity

Faced with a declining population, decreasing tax revenues, underfunded schools, and no money to clean up a toxic environmental hazard, the town of Black Hawk, Colorado, voted to legalize gambling. As Newsweek reported back in 1994, the citizens of Black Hawk thought the legalization of gambling would solve their problems. Alderman Herb Bowle, for example, [...]

What’s Wrong with Guaranteeing a Free College Education?

Bernie Sanders failed in his bid for the presidency, but one of his major policy proposals—which helped to garner his much-discussed college student support—of guaranteeing free tuition at public universities and colleges is likely to continue to be pushed. It’s not surprising that this notion has gained traction, in light of the deepening student debt [...]

My College Succumbed to the Totalitarian Diversity Cult

On my way to work at Providence College, I pass by two notable murals painted on concrete retaining walls to edify motorists passing by. One of them is executed in the brightly colored style of a cartoon, with exaggerated circles and curlicues for eyes and hair and ears and noses. It cries out in big [...]

The New Ignorance Far Worse than the Old

“Education,” wrote Malcolm Muggeridge fifty years ago, “the great fraud and mumbo-jumbo of the age,” had not brought to the mass of men the best that has been done and thought and said, but rather spread ignorance and folly across the land. Muggeridge understood, though he did not feel he needed to say so explicitly, [...]

Lessons from Descartes on the Value of Latin Liturgy

I was in the fourth grade at Christ King School in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin when the changes wrought by Vatican II were implemented. Memory is a tricky thing, but I am fairly certain that, in the space of one week, Sr. Achillea stopped drilling us on the Baltimore Catechism, threw some pillows on the floor, cranked [...]

Advice to Graduating Millennials: Don’t Jump the Ropes

As I walked down the aisle of the plane, I saw in the seat next to mine an amiable young fellow—a real live millennial. I was intrigued by the opportunity to talk. Don’t get me wrong, plenty of millennial-age young people cross my path. Most of them don’t make a big deal about their “millennialness.” [...]

The Demise of Shared Governance in Academia

While the faculty furor directed at Simon Newman, the beleaguered former president of Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Maryland, has certainly garnered the most media attention, it is simply the most recent in a growing number of faculty attempts to remove senior administrators at colleges and universities throughout the country.  In a climate of cost-cutting and [...]

I No Longer Say “Chair”

A boxer who strikes a painful blow knows quite well to keep pounding the delicate spot. He knows when his opponent is hurt and he strikes the same spot over and over again. If there is a tiny cut above the eye, he keeps pounding the cut so that the bloody trickle becomes a torrent. [...]

The Narcissism of Campus Diversity Activists

Last week at Providence College, a group of students occupied the office of the president, Father Brian Shanley, for thirteen hours, presenting him with a list of demands toward making the school a more “inclusive” place for students of various racial and ethnic backgrounds. (I use the scare quotes not to criticize the students, but [...]

New Dorm Visitation Study Reveals Need for Reform

In a hyper-sexual society, once-traditional morals have eroded even in our Catholic institutions—and especially on many Catholic college campuses. Research shows that the pervasive “hook up” culture on the typical American campus is found even at many Catholic colleges, a fact that will not surprise most Crisis readers. Given the documented consequences of the Sexual [...]

The Price of Relevance

Last month we examined the current state of the humanities in universities as an example of what happens when an institution attempts to “evolve” in order to maintain its place of prestige in the world. Too often, the disciplines of the humane letters have abandoned their own characteristic modes and methods of examining reality and [...]

On the Overweening Pride of the Professorial Class

In a recent essay in Partisan Magazine, Daniel Brown argues that the decline of the humane disciplines has come about through an envy of the physical sciences and, in particular, the impossible desire to replicate the kind of revolutionary insights that have given those sciences their prestige in the modern age. Brown accounts for this [...]

The Real Threat Facing the Humanities

Higher education in the United States is beset with a variety of crises, from skyrocketing tuition rates to the attendant ballooning student loan debt. Much has been written in the last several years, in particular, about the dire situation in which the humanities find themselves in the universities, as student enrollment in majors such as [...]

On a New Generation of Campus Disorders

This fall has looked like the 1960s redivivus on many university campuses, with campus demonstrations, building occupations, strident demands, and student confrontations with, and even the toppling of, university officials. In the 1960s, the Vietnam War was the main trigger of the protests, and now it’s racial issues. Unhappy realities of higher education itself have [...]

Challenges and Ambiguities at the World Congress on Education

I write this on a plane somewhere over the Atlantic flying home from the Church’s World Congress on Catholic Education held November 18-21 at the Vatican and Castel Gandolfo. More than 2,000 educators from Catholic schools and universities gathered in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Vatican II’s Gravissimum Educationis and the 25th anniversary of Pope Saint [...]

The Education of “Student 1950”

While students have caused a ruckus on several campuses in recent days, one particularly noisy and increasingly popular student coalition has made itself heard locally and nationally.  Collectively called The University of Missouri’s “Student 1950,” they bear a name meant to commemorate the year the first black students were admitted to MU. While all of the [...]

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