Teaching as An Act of Faith: Theory and Practice in Church-Related Higher Education

By Arlin C. Migliazzo | Go to book overview

INTRODUCTION
An Odyssey of the
Mind and Spirit

Arlin C. Migliazzo

THE SMALL, CHURCH-RELATED COLLEGE, perched on a scenic bluff overlooking the Columbia River in north central Oregon, offered -.me a tenure-track contract even before I defended the dissertation. My graduate professors congratulated me and wished me well in my first full-time faculty position. I recall more than one of them remarking what a coup it was to have a contract in hand before graduation, a throwback, they reminisced, to the heady days of the 1960s. I was just thankful to know a college wanted me—especially in the depressed academic marketplace of the early 1980s.

That first year out of graduate school left little time for reflection. Four preparations per quarter, added to my personal responsibilities as husband and father, kept me scrambling merely to stay one day ahead of my students. I also discovered in late summer that the college faced more serious financial difficulties than I had surmised during my interview. Consequently, even as I met my first-quarter classes, I began the search process all over. Fortunately I crossed the finish line in each course before my students and secured a more promising position at another church-related college in the Pacific Northwest.

Initially, life in my new academic home was only a little less frenetic. But by my third September, questions that had troubled me since that first year of teaching cried out for some redress, and for the first time, I had time and courage enough to face them. Should my teaching be any different at a Christian college than at my own research university or other public institution? If so, how? If not, why not? What impact do my personal faith

-xix-

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