How Christian Institutions Of Higher Education Should Respond

Roger E. Olson | 3/14/2019 | Staff
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First of all, before attempting to answer the implied question with a proposal, I have to say that there are many kinds of Christian institutions of higher education. Here I am ONLY referring to ones that claim academic integrity and excellence. And I am ONLY referring to ones that WANT that claim to be taken seriously.

Officially confessional religious colleges, universities and seminaries are permitted by the AAUP (American Association of University Professors) to fire tenured professors who blatantly, knowingly, contradict the clearly stated confessional standards of the institution.

Years - Career - Christian - Education - Universities

However, over the many years of my career in Christian higher education (three notable Christian universities and service as editor of a scholarly journal published by fifty such) I have witnessed the firing of several faculty members who did not violate their contracts or blatantly transgress the written confessional standards of their institutions. In every case I know of the firings took place because the faculty members published research conclusions considered “too controversial” for the institution and its constituency.

Such instances absolutely violate academic freedom and when they happen the institutions ought to be called out for lack of academic integrity.

Solution - Faculty - Member - Conclusions - Depth

The solution is to study the faculty member’s controversial conclusions in depth and then, at worst, give him or her non-teaching assignments.

Firing a tenured faculty member is a very serious violation of academic integrity and freedom. An institution that does that without valid cause (as stated above) is announcing to the world that it lacks academic integrity.

Year - Contract - Response - Institution - Farce

A five year contract is not tenure and the only response to an institution that calls it such is laughter and scorn. It is a farce.

So what ought a confessional Christian institution of higher learning to do when a faculty member teaches and/or publishes very controversial conclusions based on serious research? If the institution considers it a serious...
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