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Seeing the Light: Religious Colleges in Twenty-First-Century Americaby Samuel Schuman
"Tell people that you graduated from a Christian college, and you can expect a common series of reactions. First they express wonderment at the exotic customs of these institutions. (At Covenant College in Lookout Mountain, Georgia, from which I graduated a few years ago, these included daily praise and worship before classes, mandatory pledges to abstain from drinking and sexual activity, and a performance of Neil Simon's play 'The Odd Couple' from which most of the profanities and references to extramarital sex were excised.) Next comes the suspicion that you are a closet fundamentalist, secretly harboring the belief that homosexuals are eternally damned, or that Adam and Eve kept pet dinosaurs. Finally, there is a confession of relief that you graduated as someone 'so normal.'
Synopses & Reviews
Samuel Schuman examines the place of religious colleges and universities, particularly evangelical Protestant institutions, in contemporary American higher education.
Many faith-based schools are flourishing. They have rigorous academic standards, impressive student recruitment, ambitious philanthropic goals, and well-maintained campuses and facilities. Yet much of the U.S. higher-education community ignores them or accords them little respect. Seeing the Light considers, instead, what can be learned from the viability of these institutions.
The book begins with a history of post secondary U.S. education from the perspective of the religious traditions from which it arose. After focusing briefly on nonevangelical institutions, Schuman next looks at three Roman Catholic institutions — the College of New Rochelle, Villanova University, and Thomas Aquinas College. He then profiles evangelical colleges and universities in detail, discovering the factors contributing to their success. These institutions range from nationally recognized to little known, from rich to poor, with both highly selective and open admission requirements. Interviews with key administrators, faculty, and students reveal the challenges, the successes, and the goals of these institutions.
Schuman concludes that these schools — Baylor University, Anderson University, New Saint Andrews College, Calvin College, North Park University, George Fox University, Westmont College, Oral Roberts University, Northwestern College, and Wheaton College — and others like them offer important and timely lessons for the broader higher-education community.
Book News Annotation:
Schuman, retired chancellor at the U. of Minnesota, Morris, examines the place of religious colleges and universities, especially evangelical Protestant institutions, in contemporary American higher education. He discusses the history of post-secondary US education from the perspective of the religious traditions from which it developed, and Roman Catholic, Baptist, denominational, and nondenominational Christian institutions like the College of New Rochelle, Villanova U., Thomas Aquinas College, Baylor U., Anderson U., Calvin College, George Fox U., Oral Roberts U., Northwestern College, and Wheaton College, what educational factors contributed to their success, their similarities and differences with each other and mainstream institutions, and what can be learned from them. Annotation ©2010 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
About the Author
Samuel Schuman is chancellor emeritus of the University of Minnesota, Morris. He is the author of three literary studies and of Old Main: Small Colleges in Twenty-First Century America, also published by Johns Hopkins.
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