Catholic Higher Education: A Culture in Crisis / Edition 1

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Catholic higher education in the United States is undergoing dramatic changes, driven largely by the virtual disappearance of nuns, brothers, and priests from Catholic university campuses. Today Catholic colleges and universities are dealing with critical questions about what constitutes Catholic collegiate identity. What are appropriate ways to engage the Catholic tradition across all sectors of university life? What constitutes a critical mass of committed and knowledgeable Catholics necessary to maintain religious identity? What is an appropriate level of knowledge and religious commitment for those who lead, govern, and teach at Catholic institutions and how do they acquire it? Many people have strong - and strongly differing - opinions about the current state of Catholic higher education. Melanie M. Morey and John J. Piderit, S.J., wade into these waters with a study of 124 senior administrators at 33 Catholic colleges and universities across the United States. Exceptionally candid appraisals by administrators across a varied landscape attest that a cultural crisis is looming at a number of Catholic institutions.

Based on their research, Morey and Piderit describe the present situation and offer concrete suggestions for enhancing Catholic identity, culture, and mission at all Catholic colleges and universities. The authors define the critical issues and analyze and address them by using the rich construct of culture, particularly organizational culture. They provide four different models of how Catholic colleges and universities can operate and successfully compete as religiously distinctive institutions in the higher education market. After identifying the content of the Catholic tradition - intellectual, moral, and social - the authors analyze present performance among institutions in all four models. They derive criteria for identifying religious cultural crisis at institutions and provide specific policy proposals for enhancing religious culture. They also suggest principles for effectively leading and managing cultural change.

Morey and Piderit offer the first in-depth cultural analysis of the Catholic character of Catholic universities and colleges at a crucial time for these institutions. With new research and practical applications, this book is an invaluable resource for Catholic educators and anyone concerned about the future of Catholic higher education.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"In order for Catholic colleges and universities to provide an excellent Catholic education for the students of today and tomorrow, it is crucial that they remain rooted in the mission defined by their founding religious communities and maintain a vibrant Catholic culture on campus. The depth of information that Father Piderit and Dr. Morey have compiled through their focused interviews of college and university administrators and analyzed in light of their own work in Catholic higher education will help Catholic institutions of higher learning to be true to their heritage and faithful to the Church."—Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I., Archbishop of Chicago

"This may be the most important study of Catholic higher education that has ever been done. An exceedingly well-researched, straightforward, and balanced presentation, this book should be required reading for every administrator and trustee of every Catholic university and college in the country. If I had a magic wand to wave, I would see to it that every faculty member and student in those institutions would also read and ponder it." —Rev. Richard P. McBrien, Crowley-O'Brien Professor of Theology, University of Notre Dame

"This extraordinarily rich and timely work will serve as an invaluable resource for all who are interested in the future of Catholic higher education. Through the sheer breadth of the investigation and their own keen analysis the authors have produced a work that is provocative, and at the same time full of insight, thoughtful reflection and practical recommendations. This book gets at all the right questions...and sketches out what may very well become some of the best solutions."—Rev. Dennis Dease, President, The University of St. Thomas

"Piderit and Morey have made a major contribution to the ongoing debate about Catholic higher education. Relying on a survey of 124 senior administrators, they clarify the issues, discuss the implications of their findings, and make concrete recommendations to which everyone interested in the subject should listen. Their discussion of the decline of the Catholic religious orders is especially challenging." —Andrew Greeley, author of The Catholic Revolution : New Wine, Old Wineskins, and the Second Vatican Council

"The authors' historical research coupled with extensive campus visits and over a hundred interviews provide the reader with the most comprehensive and nuanced examination of this important sector of American higher education in print. A 'must read' for all who care about the future of this set of institutions."—David Breneman, author of Liberal Arts Colleges: Thriving, Surviving, or Endangered

"This book should be discussed and even debated by those who care about Catholic higher education; it's a must read for Catholic college and university administrators, faculty, staff and trustees as well as church leaders." —Catholic Books Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195305517
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 4/20/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 464
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 6.40 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Melanie M. Morey is the Senior Director for Research and Consulting at NarrowGate Consulting. She has worked in the field of education and administration for the past thirty-five years. In the past ten years, Dr. Morey has worked primarily as a researcher and consultant to Catholic colleges and universities, religious congregations, and other Catholic institutions, dealing with issues of governance, sponsorship, leadership, institutional identity, and Catholic culture. John J. Piderit, S.J., is the President of the Catholic Education Institute, a group that seeks new ways to educate Catholics, both at the elementary and the tertiary level. After teaching economics for years at Fordham University, Fr. Piderit was appointed vice president at Marquette University and served as president of Loyola University Chicago from 1993 to 2001. He is the author of The Ethical Foundations of Economics.

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