Presentation on theme: "The History of American Higher Education. Introduction American colleges Sectarianism Transition to universities Secularism Conclusions."— Presentation transcript:
The History of American Higher Education
Introduction American colleges Sectarianism Transition to universities Secularism Conclusions
Primary Source The Soul of the American University: From Protestant Establishment to Established Nonbelief George M. Marsden (Oxford University Press, 1994)
The first American college –Harvard College (1636) –Congregationalist –Primarily Cambridge University (Emmanuel College) professors found Harvard. Some Oxford professors served on the faculty, too. –Founded with the Puritan belief that all vocations are sacred Half of the first graduates became clergy Other half pursued other professions with a view that this was their Christian mission –Motto – Christo et Ecclesiae
American Colleges Yale College (1701) –Anglican (in the midst of a Calvinist colony) –Founded by Connecticut clergy reacting to perceived decline of Christian orthodoxy at Harvard –Became a focal point of the 1 st Great Awakening
American Colleges Other Ivy League colleges –College of New Jersey (1746) – Princeton Presbyterian –Kings College (1754) – Columbia Anglican –College of Philadelphia (1755) – Pennsylvania Presbyterian –Brown College (1764) Baptist –Dartmouth College (1769) Congregationalist
American Colleges Other prominent American colleges –Queens College (1766) – Rutgers University Dutch Reformed –College of William and Mary (1693) Anglican –Free School (1743) – University of Delaware Presbyterian –College of California (1860) – UC Berkeley Presbyterian and Congregationalist
American Colleges –Newbury Biblical Institute (1839) – Boston University Methodist –Boston College (1863) Catholic –St. Johns College (1841) – Fordham University Catholic –University of Chicago (1890) Baptist
American Colleges Land Grant Colleges – 1862 –Morrill Act granted a portion of land in each state to found a technical or agricultural school University of Illinois Georgia Institute of Technology Texas Agricultural and Mechanical Mississippi State University Pennsylvania State University University of Kentucky
The ambition and tyranny of the Presbyterians… would tolerate no rival if they had power…Presbyterians, Jefferson was convinced, yearned to reinstitute a Protestant inquisition that would...exterminate all heretics to Calvinistic Creed Marsden, 68.
Sectarianism Two kinds of sectarianism in colleges –Presbyterian Emphasized orthodoxy and creeds –Jeffersonian Emphasized freedom from religious tests Liberal unitarian Christian moralists were not any less a religious party than were conservative Presbyterians Marsden, 76.
Sectarianism American colleges were sectarian –Each belonged to a particular Christian denomination –Each had a particular statement of faith –Students and especially the faculty were required to adhere to that statement of faith –These were early speech codes
Sectarianism In letters to [Yale College] founders, the Mathers (Increase and his son, Cotton)…suggested that they follow a continental rather than English model for Reformed colleges by requiring faculty to subscribe to the confessions of the church as a guarantee of orthodoxy Marsden, 52.
Sectarianism As more American professors were European educated, they resisted these statements of faith –The professors were more open minded, and saw fewer necessary distinctions between denominations –They viewed sectarian statements as divisive –Many professors, frankly, no longer believed them
Transition to Universities
Expanding industrialization Increasing demand for research universities –Scientific advancement –Meet the needs of industry The Gentleman Scholar –People not pursuing specific professions began studying at colleges –The colleges could not meet the demand for undergraduate much less graduate education
Transition to Universities Professors and scholars began going to Europe for post-graduate education –Masters and doctoral degrees were unavailable in America –If colleges were to become universities, faculty with post-graduate degrees were necessary
Transition to Universities Scholars and professors returned from Europe with primarily German ideals –Divine mission of the university to pass on knowledge from one generation to the next –Growth and development of knowledge and human civilization Darwinism Literary criticism –Christians defended these ideas as the latest advancements
Transition to Universities Change from English to German style of education –British tradition emphasized empiricism and common sense science mechanism the divine in heaven –German tradition emphasized a romantic nation of scholars science in the humanities growth and development the divine in humanity
Transition to Universities Universities should not be church, but state run Educational reform should come from the state. German universities were controlled by the various German states Marsden, 107. Differing educational models –English – research and writing –German – classes and examinations From University of Michigan under chancellor Henry P. Tappan became the first institution to adopt a German model
Transition to Universities The German method included rigorous empiricism that emphasized science and not theology Methodological secularization One of the major dynamics of complex modern societies arises from the principle that many tasks are done most efficiently by isolating and objectifying them…In effect, one creates a mechanism for addressing the issue and applies this to a practical problem. Religious considerations play little if any role in the mechanism itself Marsden, 156.
Transition to Universities Christians defended methodological secularization, because religion…claims to interpret the word of God, and science to reveal the laws of God Marsden, 157. Modern universities were founded on scientific empiricism that resulted in naturalism when God was removed from knowledge and consequently the classroom
Transition to Universities Christian theology was taught less and less –Higher criticism –It was harder for modern professors to justify sectarian statements of faith –Theology reduced to moral philosophy – the Jeffersonian ideal For a few decades it was taught in classrooms Later it was removed from classrooms and relegated to the Student Life office
Transition to Universities –Teaching theology was replaced with teaching virtue What defines what is virtuous? –Society? –Personal reflection? –God? Any focus other than God leads ultimately to humanism and naturalism –In the end senior courses in moral philosophy which integrated collegiate studies with a Christian worldview were cast off
Transition to Universities By purporting to discover a universal set of rationally based moral principles, the new ethics was presuming to do for core elements in human experience what the new physics did for the periphery…It was hence more difficult to see that this project, at least when it was conducted by pious confessing Christians, also had the potential for making Christian revelation superfluous Marsden, 52.
Transition to Universities American colleges began adding graduate schools and became universities Established institutions began drifting away from sectarianism, and some newly established universities, like Cornell, deliberately emphasized nonsectarianism
A weakened traditional Christian presence in the university, a broadly accepted liberal Protestant remnant, and a new passion for nonsectarianism led to secularization Christians were powerless to stop it –Many had abandoned the university –The church had bought Kantian dualism Real world – five senses, science – knowledge Private world – God, morality – no knowledge
Secularization The process of secularization began with the labor union movement –Professors tended to be more sympathetic to unionization –American Association of University Professors (1915) Faculty tenure Academic freedom
Secularization AAUP members were appointed to accreditation committees –All colleges and universities have there curriculums reviewed and reaccredited every 5-10 years –AAUP members had tenure and academic freedom added to accreditation requirements
Secularization The result of reaccreditation –Most colleges couldnt or wouldnt reconcile the requirement of academic freedom with particular statements of faith –Most institutions consequently cut ties with the denominations that gave them birth
Secularization Foundations, such as the Carnegie Endowment, began offering large grants for nonsectarian institutions of higher learning –Some denominations could not give as much money to their schools as Carnegie promised –This encouraged many other colleges and universities who remained Christian to jettison their religious affiliations for the promise of major foundation funding
Secularization The fruit of tenure –Sixties radicals could not change the establishment from without –They put on suits and went to graduate school –They now hold most tenured faculty positions in universities.
Secularization The fruit of academic freedom –Most 20 th century professors were steeped in Nietzschean nihilism –If the individual should be free to do anything they wish, then statements of faith are ridiculous –Academic freedom promoted the abandonment of statements of faith
Secularization Nature abhors a vacuum –The abandonment of statements of faith left a spiritual and ideological vacuum –Without Christian influence, universities rapidly gravitated to political correctness –This is the new orthodoxy in secular universities, with their own statements of faith –Speech codes are now hidden in non- discrimination statements
The university is still often fighting a Christian establishment that no longer exists –They are living in the past – Christians no longer rule –The new orthodoxy tests restrict freedom for non-naturalistic ideas
Conclusions Beware of campus Nazis who demand loyalty to the naturalistic hegemony –Nazism stifles any dissent or differing views Political Nazis like Code Pink or radical environmental groups Moral Nazis like militant homosexuals, feminists, hedonists, etc.
Conclusions Finding a voice –Postmodern sentiments permit a Christian voice Dont buy postmodernism Postmodernism is just as exclusively naturalistic as modernism –Appeal to academic freedom in order to bring a Christian viewpoint back to the classroom and the laboratory
Conclusions –Appeal to tolerance and diversity as justification for religious viewpoints –Appeal to social justice as grounds for including Christian ideas –Do not be cowed by church and state arguments, especially in state universities –Dont be afraid to defend the Truth
Conclusions –Science itself is now viewed as sectarian "Few academics [believe] in neutral objective science anymore and most would admit that everyone's intellectual inquiry takes place in a framework of communities that shape priorities.... Hence there is little reason to exclude a priori all religiously based claims on the grounds that they are unscientific Marsden, 430.
Conclusions Are there churches willing to contribute their members, riches and practices to an essentially public venture of the human mind which they judge to be good but which they do not seek to control? Those concerned about contact between higher learning and Christianity need to examine not only the condition of religion in dominant intellectual centers but also the condition of intellect in dominant religious centers Mark R. Schwehn and Dorothy Bass, Christianity and Academic Soul-searching,
Conclusions The Church today should view the university as a mission field –Christians should boldly re-enter the academic profession in large numbers –Being a professor is a sacred calling –The primary missionaries to the campus should be those who live and work there, not an outsider