Wed 26 Jan 2011
Anyone who’s taken even a cursory view at the Academy recently is aware how much has changed when it comes to university. This is the era of utilitarianism, the era when students are expected to pursue “practical” degrees in accounting, engineering, and business. The days when liberal arts education was the norm, not the exception, have long since passed. [See an older post of mine entitled “Whatever happened to the liberal arts?”]
In a society that is increasingly hostile to the traditional thought-filled disciplines, Thomas H. Benton suggests a rather bold, if medieval, tactic to save the Academy as we know (knew?) it. He proposes that we bring back monastic communities. “Monasticism,” he writes, “may provide the most effective haven for higher education in the context of yet another crumbling civilization corrupted by luxuries, addicted to war, and hostile to self-examination.”
I don’t want to say too much about Benton’s article here as I’d rather you read it than my summation. I’ll only say that I think it is brilliant. So go read “Getting Medieval on Higher Education” at The Chronicle of Higher Education right now.