A Long Hot Summer...Again
You might say this has been one of those ubiquitous long hot summers we have all heard of and maybe it's not all due to climate change. You'll see why below.
We have decided to condense things in this issue by discussing only two main items. Because of length considerations we will take up our on-going discussion of the topic, "What does Athens have to do with Jerusalem?" in later issues.
First topic, last academic year there were a number of important events on campus like the racial protests at the University of Missouri, Columbia and at Yale University. There was also increased concern about rape occuring on campus along with the removal of some academic "stars" from their role of research prominence due to improprieties regarding sexual harrassment. The reverberations from those revelations kept resonating all summer.
There have also been a number of court rulings that have impact on affirmative action, on the status of Title IX investigations on campus and more. According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, there are 310 Title IX cases so far--50 have been resolved, 260 cases are active. No doubt some of what has heated up will sooner or later have its effect on you and how you carry on as a professor. We want to make sure you are kept informed. As you will see below we can help you be aware of the nuances that have come down the pike. That way, if you wish, you can express your opinions informed with the facts, and even offer Christian perspectives on the meaning of these developments.
However, we are also coming to the end of this summer and our campuses will soon begin welcoming back students this month; and a new round of the paper chase will be taken up. That leads us to our second topic we'll be covering in this issue: one thing that is important to start up again this fall is your local Christian faculty fellowship and network. We'll explain why that's so and how that can be done more efficiently...and we'll be as brief as possible. Read on for that.
Race and Title IX
There are seismic shifts that continue to emerge in academe on many fronts as we write. Some might call it the logical consequences of a sea change in thinking since the sixties and seventies in America, but whatever it is, it will affect the ambiance if not the core of American education in ways that might surprise some of us. Meanwhile the current mantra that "change is good" even if it creates additional stresses, has truth in it. The justification for all this: social justice. It is argued that if the change rectifies long-standing structural inequalities or changes a culture that demeans people made in God's image, then change IS good.
Still in any big change might there be some unintended and unexpected consequences, even if the change is good and originated with the best of motives and sagacious strategy. Is not that how change has worked in the past?
Of course, if the change and/or the changemakers lacked the required virtues, the consequences or collateral damage--a possible uneccessary "body" count of people who careers never start or who face career ending repercussions--will add up quickly. Two serious concerns that have been identifed are the impact on due process of those accused of impropriety and freedom of speech and expression issues. The courts have been ruling on these consequences. Is it also possible that Christian higher education might be transformed as a direct result? BREAKING NEWS: the LA Times reports that the bill that could impact Christian education is currently being revised and delayed until next year.
Be sure to check (below) our Court Watch "In the News" section to get a sense on how these sea change court rulings have recently gone down. For those of us who are interested in how all this change fits with our theology and culture there is plenty of grist to be milled.
A Vibrant Christian Faculty Community on Campus
There is nothing more important than to pursue the flourishing of Christian faculty and Christian ideas on the university campuses of the world. There may be things that are more urgent, but if we're right, not more important. That's because ideas and people matter a great deal to the great truths of the gospel and we neglect them at our own peril. One of the best ways to see Christian faculty and Christian ideas flourish is by either forming or sustaining a witnessing Christian faculty community on your campus.
That's not always easy to do.
However, we can help you. Check out (below) our regular feature, "Café Cook
" for ideas and resources for seeing that happen where you are. It will take time, commitment, determination and vision. However, if you (and others) are successful, its impact could bring great glory to God and benefit to you and your colleagues for decades and even for the much longer run. Click on the "Café Cook
" section below for some ideas and best practices.