From Backwater to Mainstream: A Profile of Catholic Higher Education

From Backwater to Mainstream: A Profile of Catholic Higher Education

From Backwater to Mainstream: A Profile of Catholic Higher Education

From Backwater to Mainstream: A Profile of Catholic Higher Education

Excerpt

Diversity is a hallmark of American higher education. It is seen not only in variations of size, organization, control, and appearance of colleges and universities, but also in such fundamental differences as their functions and their approaches to teaching and learning. As confusing as these differences sometimes may be, we value and encourage them because they enable our colleges and universities to serve an amazingly broad spectrum of individuals and groups within our highly pluralistic society.

As a contribution to a better understanding of the diversity in American institutions of higher learning, the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education intends to issue several reports that will contain comparable statistical and descriptive portraits of various types of institutions and their endeavors. This report on Catholic higher education is the first of these Profiles to be published.

Catholic colleges and universities share most of the goals and many of the problems of secular and Protestant institutions. Even so, they are distinctive in ways that such features as their names, their architecture and decor, or their faculty members' attire do not fully explain. They are warm and friendly, not only because they usually are small, but also because of the interest that faculty members, particularly some of the younger religious members, take in the students. They also tend to offer a general curriculum that gives strong emphasis to humanistic and philosophical disciplines. Perhaps it is because of these distinctions that graduates of Catholic colleges, despite tremendous changes in the Church itself, remain more satisfied with the education they have received and more loyal to their colleges than do alumni of other institutions.

Among the most recent and perceptive contributors to the seriious study of Catholic higher education is Andrew M. Greeley . . .

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