Category: Education


Tim Clydesdale on College and Vocation

Early adulthood can be a very disorienting time for individuals as they wrestle with the practicalities of moving out on their own and beginning a professional career. What are colleges doing to encourage thoughtfulness about meaning in life when it comes to plotting out one’s life trajectory? Prof. Tim Clydesdale of The College of New Jersey discusses his evaluative research of a Lilly Foundation initiative to encourage colleges to incorporate the idea of “vocation” into their educational mission. We discuss what “vocation” is, how different schools have incorporated this theme into their curriculum, and what aspects of such programs seem to work best. While not strictly a discussion about religious vocation, this topic should be of interest to anybody interested in education and developing the whole person, spiritually or not.

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Robert D. Rubin on Judicial Review & the Religious Right

Prior to the 1980s, the incipient Religious Right was skeptical of the US judicial system given a variety of decisions that went against their interests. Dr. Robert Daniel Rubin examines how Southern Christians came to embrace judicial review using two crucial court cases involving education in Mobile, Alabama, and Judge Brevard Hand who decided them. This discussion is both a microcosm of social and political change brewing in the South in the 1980s, but also a reflection of broader trends developing in American society.

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Kyle Roberts on Evangelical Gotham

Gotham. The Big Apple. The City that Never Sleeps.  New York City. We have many images of New York City, but how many of us as thinking of that worldly city having a vibrant evangelical community in the 19th century?  Kyle Roberts, an assistant professor of history at Loyola University (Chicago), takes us on a journey […]

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Joshua Hall on Adam Smith, Religious Competition, and the Simpsons

What did Adam Smith have to say on the effects of religious pluralism in a nation? And can what Smith hypothesized be tested today to see if it bears out? And what does this have to do with The Simpsons? Prof. Joshua Hall of West Virginia University explains a recent study he conducted that shows countries with higher levels of religious diversity have less regulated religious markets, just as Smith would predict. We also think about endogeneity and other fancy words, culminating in the economics of The Simpsons, which is not related to the main topic, but which is really cool nonetheless.

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Aaron Saiger on Religion & Charter Schools (Encore Presentation)

The rise of charter schools over the past quarter century has altered the way in which we think about the nexus of religion and state with respect to education. Prof. Aaron Saiger of Fordham University Law School documents changes in the American educational system and how religious communities are reacting to the charter school movement.

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William Wubbenhorst on Serve, West Dallas and FBO Evaluation

Are faith-based efforts to transform an impoverished community in Texas effective? William Wubbenhorst, co-president of Social Capital Valuations, discusses this unique collaborative program to reduce social ills in West Dallas and how he has measured the program’s effectiveness. We cover the various component parts of Serve and discuss the various difficulties in evaluating programs such as this one.

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John Rees on International Development and Faith-Based Organizations

Why have faith-based organizations been ignored by the international development community for so long, and how are they starting to be integrated into efforts to improve the lives of individuals around the globe? Prof. John Rees of the University of Notre Dame in Australia provides us with a survey of the role religious groups have played in promoting economic development and social flourishing. We peer into the world of the World Bank, large international FBOs, and some grassroots efforts to see the problems and promise of foreign assistance.

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Aaron Saiger on Religion and Charter Schools

The rise of charter schools over the past quarter century has altered the way in which we think about the nexus of religion and state with respect to education. Prof. Aaron Saiger of Fordham University Law School documents changes in the American educational system and how religious communities are reacting to the charter school movement.

If you are a Tweeter, tell your followers about this free educational resource!

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Chris Gehrz on The Crisis of Chistian Colleges

Picking up on an earlier theme from two other interviews we’ve conducted over the past several months, Prof. Chris Gehrz of Bethel University (MN) shares his thoughts on the financial problems facing many small Christian colleges and universities, and how the changing pedagogical landscape may affect these institutions as well. Chiming a more pessimistic note than some of our previous guests, though echoing many similar points, we discuss what role the Christian university has to play in higher education and how these schools can continue to influence students and the mission of their denominations.

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Hunter Baker on the Future of Higher Education

With students heading back to college all across the nation, we take a slight pause from our typical discussions on religion to examine the current state and potential future of higher education with Dr. Hunter Baker, dean of instruction at Union University, and author of two important articles on the future of higher education and Christian universities.

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