Anyone who has been on a faculty search committee knows how hard it is to evaluate candidates. You need to look not only at their intellectual credentials and professional competence but also at how they would fit into the institution. But institutional ethos is usually only vaguely defined and talking about personality issues can be awkward.
For much of this century, the waning influence of religion in American colleges and universities was viewed as a natural concomitant of modernization, and it was generally seen as a necessary or even a good thing.
How do you get admitted to one of those small, highly selective liberal arts colleges? Of course, you need excellent grades in high school and an impressive SAT score. But lots of kids bring those credentials. How can you make sure you stand out among the crowd?
American Christians are changing. By most measures, they are becoming ethnically more diverse, with double-digit increases in the percentage of Christians who are Hispanic or Asian in the U.S. over the past 20 years.
I am an avid reader of graduation speeches. A graduation speaker must convey an idea under difficult conditions and in a short time—an almost impossible challenge. So I am fascinated when I find a speech that works.
Some years ago students at an Ivy League university rated party schools. The University of Chicago came in 300th out of 300. The public relations people were ready to respond, until they noticed that Chicago students had printed T-shirts bragging about the rating—and that Johns Hopkins, which came in 299th, wanted to sue because it had coveted the booby prize.
College is a crucible in which opinions are formed, challenged and reformed; beliefs are redefined or perhaps defined for the first time, and attitudes become more resolute. That this is so life-shaping a time has something to do with the age of most college students—late adolescence to early adulthood—but also much to do with the campus milieu.
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