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Thursday, April 30, 2009

New York times article on graduate programs

This article has some excellent points about graduate education. Some of the same
points apply to the concept of undergraduate education.

1 comment:

cjscalise said...

Thanks for sharing this article. Like most articles of this kind, it overstates its case and is based primarily on anecdotal evidence from the author's experience. (In the case of Mark Taylor, critique rather than construction has characterized much of his theological work. See, for example, his recent work on *After God* and his earlier *Erring: A Postmodern A/theology.*)

While there are certainly places where Taylor's criticisms are applicable--primarily in places like religious studies departments in secular universities--I find many of them not applicable to the graduate students I teach at Fuller Seminary. For example, we require M.Div. equivalence for all of our entering doctoral students, so that they will always be able to find church or parachurch employment, rather than relying upon the few available academic jobs in the U.S. Also, many of our students find teaching opportunities globally through Fuller's links with international Christian educational institutions.

In addition, several of Taylor's proposals for change have already been tried with quite mixed results. For example, here in Washington State, Evergreen State College uses interdisciplinary team teaching without traditional majors. While this works well for some students, many graduate leave with the kind of liberal idealism and political naivete that led to the tragic death of an Evergreen female student in Israel who thought she could stand against a bulldozer.

Well, that's certainly more than enough of my critical response. I did enjoy reading the article, even though I do not share Taylor's perspective on the place of graduate education in theology.