Wilson Carey McWilliams from the Front Porch Republic has written extensively and very insightfully on university education in America and recently reposted a 2000 lecture entitled “The Undergraduate Learner: Challenges for a New Century“.
This lecture focuses on a number of important themes, including the impact of cultural diversity in American education, educating undergraduates in a manner that ties in with Capitalism’s version of detachment, (which parodies the Christian), and the importance of inculcating a telos even as technical skills are imparted in a university context.
This is a highly valuable reflection given the almost merciless push within universities towards technicalisation, including the humanities. Witness, for instance, the Queensland University of Technology’s closing of an entire campus and attached humanities faculty and redeploying what was not eliminated into industrially oriented disciplines, to help its repackaging of itself as “the University for the Real World”. The discipline of political science is also not immune, with more courses and faculty being oriented towards technical policy-making.
As more secular universities fall prey to the worship of technology, efficiency and money, Christian institutes of higher learning will gradually become pressured to resist this trend via an explicit commitment of resources towards theology, the humanities and the arts. The Christian community might be also be forced to reflect on not only on the status of education, but also of their place in an increasingly technocratic society.