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ERIC Number: EJ813023
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Dec
Pages: 21
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0895-4852
From Christian Gentleman to Bewildered Seeker: The Transformation of American Higher Education
Nieli, Russell K.
Academic Questions, v20 n4 p311-331 Dec 2007
In this carefully documented essay, Russell K. Nieli outlines the major transformation in American higher education that began at the end of the nineteenth century. Today's research- and vocation-driven private universities began as Christian institutions founded by zealous evangelizers, while public colleges embraced a watered-down version of the earnest and forward-thinking Protestant gentleman's worldview, which saw no conflict between theological and secular knowledge. Science and religion remained friendly until the advent of the industrial revolution brought the model of the German research university to the attention of American academic reformers. Unity of knowledge was eventually supplanted by a secular, elective system. While the great "multiversity" had arrived, critics mourned the loss of educational coherence and abandonment of the civilizing mission to which moral and classical training were essential. In the 1920's, the Great Books approach was reborn, despite the seemingly unstoppable march of progress, science, and the subdiscipline. Vietnam-era upheavals led to the American academy's transformation into a politically correct mutlicultural smorgasboard seasoned to please the modern student palate. When today's students demand to be entertained and scholars continue to narrowly train, is there still room on the plate for the best that has been said, thought, and written about the human experience? (Contains 50 footnotes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A