Studies of Protestantism and the Modern University

Project Number: 
Start Date: 
Saturday, October 1, 1988
End Date: 
Monday, September 24, 1990

Long Abstract (topic, method, conclusion, implication):
Mark Schwehn’s inquiry focused on the growing concern in academe that professors have missed the opportunity to build intellectual communities on their campuses because of their commitments to research. Through careful readings of modern thinkers and research on the history of the American research university, Schwehn argues that religious notions of knowledge, work, and community, though once dominant in higher education, have been replaced by a secular concern for generating and transmitting knowledge. He concludes that the academic profession's emphasis on research and higher education’s focus on transmitting knowledge leads to a sense of alienation among students and faculty alike. Truth is no longer pursued for the sake of public good; rather, knowledge has become a means to power. “A purely technological education fractures obscuring the social dimensions of knowledge and by replacing the quest for truth with a quest for power” (p. 134). According to Schwehn, ideas about community from Christian traditions can provide a useful tool in guiding the academic vocation towards a more socially-conscious practice. (AS)