Tag: higher education
I came away from Steubenville, as I came away later from Grove City, with the startling idea that things are possible. Small things; local things; putting two things together, not all things but two things.
Reviving campus newspapers and radio stations and student-led clubs, and putting resources behind them, could create more space for speech, help foster campus community, and model a level of comfort with differing views. The classroom may still need adjustment, but antagonistic wrangling with, or under the gaze of, professors is not the path to enlightenment.
One gets the clear sense from Montás that these voices from the past are not just texts with trivial information, but real presences, real friends who have had a significant role in shaping, forming Montás’ life. And if any core program is going to work, it needs men and women like Montás who are the living, breathing embodiment of a life made richer by true fellowship with this great “democracy of the dead,” to borrow Chesterton’s phrase.
Montás deserves great credit for illuminating the perverse priorities of American higher education throughout Rescuing Socrates. It must be admitted, however, that the book suffers from occasional missteps. A fuller engagement with the history of the liberal arts than Montás musters would have enriched the book.
Jason Peters contrasts the traditional telos of education, what John Newman called "a great but ordinary end" with the current emphasis on utility and constant social change.
As utopian as "religious education" and "local food tours" may seem, that doesn't mean we can't approach them with a hope for real formation work in mind.
An empathetic approach to the kind of lofty goals named by Princeton’s aspiration to serve “humanity” might empower talented young people to serve their communities rather than selling out for personal financial success. You have to be very smart and very powerful to save the world, but serving your community begins with empathy, which is a trait we can all cultivate.
In an age of knee-jerk innovation, the warnings articulated by Emerson and Dewey are more needed than ever. They advocated for applied knowledge, but they also insisted such technology must serve human ends.