We here at TBS are in the business of rating colleges and universities. Rating a thing means determining how well it fulfills its function in relation to other things with a similar function.
With respect to higher education, this means that one of the main questions that we must return to again and again is this: What are the proper aims of higher education in the twenty-first century?
Now, this question, which ought to be of quite general concern to anyone professionally occupied with higher education, is understandably of even greater concern to that subset of colleges and universities which profess a particular aim or purpose marking their group identity, above and beyond the aims or purposes inherent in their identity as institutions of higher education as such (whatever those may turn out to be).
Evangelical colleges constitute such a subset of colleges overall, with such a group identity. Hence, not only do they need to reflect upon the aims of higher education, in general, they also need to think hard about their identity as Evangelical institutions, in particular.
What sorts of commitment flow from the Evangelical identity, in terms of philosophy or worldview, that will characterize certain institutions of higher learning as Evangelical, and will distinguish them from secular institutions, or indeed, from other types of Christian institutions? And, above all, what special educational aims and purposes flow from the characteristic Evangelical philosophical or worldview commitment?
These are just some of the deep and contentious issues discussed in a recent article by Allen C. Guelzo, Professor of History and Director of Civil War Era Studies at Gettysburg College. We commend this article, which contains many valuable statistical analyses and charts, as well as much insightful analysis, to the attention of all those who are interested in the state of Evangelical higher education in this country.