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July 24, 2008

Excellence at the University

University Paul Yarbrough has written a must-read article for any Christian involved in higher education, called "Academia Hurtles Towards Limbo." He offers 11 "essential guideposts" for evaluating the excellence of a particular school, including such principles as these:

1. A great American university models the words of Jesus: "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free." To that end, "the mission of a university should be uncovering truths and applying them to our lives and our culture so that we can continue to live as a free people."

2. "A great American university advances the position that Western Civilization ... must be understood and recognized as the [principal] historical force advancing free societies. In so doing, it should advocate the necessity of cultivating and defending Western Civilization." It should also teach the "essential historical fact" that the Christian Church as been "the [principal] defender, contributor to, and advocate of Western Civilization since the collapse of the Roman Empire...."

3. "A university must maintain rigorous academics and a high-quality faculty to support its mission statement."

4. "Participation in one's own religion must be encouraged." 

5.  A great American university will have a "patriotic spirit about [it]"; it will not be a place where "love of country [is] mocked." This includes making the campus a place where "ROTC and military recruiters" are welcome and a place where a "school's fallen military heroes [are] duly honored."

6. "The arts and entertainment on campus must uphold what is inspirational, timeless, wholesome, and beautiful."

7. "A significant percentage of students ought to spend time helping the less fortunate at home and abroad .... Service hours should be required." 

How would you grade the university you graduated from according to these standards? Sadly, I would give my alma maters a C+ at best! 

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Comments

Alden Johnson

You must have attended a truly outstanding school to even rate it as high as you did! As a long-time student/observer of the cultural decline in America since the Supreme Court decision to remove prayer from the schools, I can only conclude that the average of all American colleges and universities would rate a D- using the very appropriate standards you have enumerated. Although I received my undergraduate and doctoral degree from a religously (loosely) affiliated school (UCC), I can assure you that only your third principle was in evidence during my years there (1976-1981). Since you didn't name your alma maters, I've withheld naming the institution I've just noted above.

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