I am thinking about the downhill slide of the public narrative surrounding higher education. Has it been our success at producing grads that can name and confront bigotry that has made higher ed now ground zero for the attacks against liberal ideas and multiculturalism? Or have we failed miserably to bring to our communities the true value of these ideas? Value that translates to a better quality of life for people?

@karencang Excellent question. I don't know a lot of the history, but it seems to me that higher ed in N America & maybe parts of Europe recently seen as more liberal than rest of societies around them. I mean, past century or so. places of questioning, of not accepting status quo, so seemingly dangerous.

@clhendricksbc That makes sense. I always thought that questioning the status quo is what made higher ed especially valuable - that we were about transforming society, not just replicating it. I can see how that threatens people who benefit from the status quo, or just anyone who doesn't like change. So I think we have an obligation to do a better job of bringing our messages to people in ways that they can hear it.

Love that piece of a dialogue between @karencang and @clhendricksbc.

I'm an intellectual child of Mark Noll's Scandal of the Evangelical Mind, and I entered into higher education with a bit of a missionary zeal - not merely as a servant of Christ, but a servant of science, and thinking about how I could represent my faith in my scholarship of teaching and still communicate the science rigorously.

1999 was a very different time than 2016, though.

There was a moment when I thought that my voice might actually be heard within the church, and that I might help influence not merely those who came from the church, but those who would move into the pulpits later. And a couple of folk, I actually did influence. But the undertow of fundamentalism was a lot stronger than I ever envisioned it being, and...well.

See also: insidehighered.com/news/2012/1

@clhendricksbc @karencang

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@ShorterPearson @karencang Wow, I didn't know about this. I'm gathering you taught there for awhile?

@clhendricksbc @karencang Eight years and won tenure. I bailed the summer everything went down; I saw the handwriting on the wall in blood, took the offer that came to me in June, and prayed to heaven I was wrong about what I was seeing.

I spent academic 2011-2012 writing recommendation letters.

Oh, and the place I decamped to was Virginia Intermont College, which closed three years later.

The 2010s have been a hell of a decade.


@ShorterPearson @karencang Gah...that sounds awful. I hope you're in a place now that is more stable! And I tell ya, I'm so ready for 2016 to be done. I'm not the only one. Maybe the rest of the decade will be better, not worse, though I fear for the latter.

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