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Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Boston College & Hiring Practices at American Religious Institutions

A recent story from The Wall Street Journal regarding hiring practices at American religious institutions of higher education reports that "at Boston College, some administrators would like to hire more people committed to its religious mission, but its faculty has proved 'particularly resistant.'"

The article cites a recent publication from The Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities which, in "evaluating the effectiveness" of Boston College's mission, states:
The area of new faculty and staff orientation is, for a variety of reasons, underdeveloped and one which we need to give more sustained attention to. Another issue that is particularly resistant to influence from the perspective of mission is faculty hiring.
The story comes in the wake of an address at Notre Dame by school president Rev. John Jenkins, who recently disparaged the religious character of Boston College, in which he expressed concern that the percentage of faculty who were Catholic at ND had fallen to 53%, compared with 85% in the 1970s. In 1990, the late Pope John Paul II decreed that non-Catholics should not be a majority of the faculty at a Catholic university.

The WSJ piece went on to note that to fulfill its mission, BC "is contemplating establishing research centers on Catholic intellectual tradition and Catholic education."
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Comments on "Boston College & Hiring Practices at American Religious Institutions"


Anonymous AHL said ... (1/11/2006 09:15:00 PM) : 

"By any ordinary measure, you'd be crazy to leave Stanford for Notre Dame."

Not unless they pay you more money for the same job apparently. Who does this guy think he's kidding with this line:

"Notre Dame's Catholic character wasn't only a factor, it was the factor,"

That and a couple extra $1000 a year, I guess.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (1/15/2006 12:54:00 AM) : 

Yeah, BC seems to be going in the secular direction. In Biblical Heritage they pick apart the Bible like it was a literary document. They should consider more Catholic values.


Anonymous JW said ... (1/16/2006 11:49:00 AM) : 

But the Bible is both a religious text AND a literary document; BC's teachings should reflect this inherent reality. In fact, one could argue that understanding the historical background of the Bible and issues surrounding its translation are fundamental to fully comprehending its religious meaning. If a student wishes to study the Bible from a more religious viewpoint, BC offers several classes other than Biblical Heritage designed to do exactly that. However, being a Catholic institution should not preclude BC from offering classes that examine the Bible from either a literary or historical perspective.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (1/16/2006 09:33:00 PM) : 

Joseph Appleyard, SJ, (who authored the BC section in the AJCU document cited in the WSJ article) contested the "particularly resistant" quote in a subsequent letter to the editor of the WSJ. What remains unclear is what "faculty hiring based on mission" actually means--and why anyone would be resistant to it. Is this just code for recruiting more Catholics? I don't think so. For one, the BC mission statement itself upholds "the contribution of different religious traditions and value systems as essential to the fullness of its intellectual life and to the continuous development of its distinctive intellectual heritage." Putting a quota on Catholics or non-Catholics would in fact be antithetical to BC's founding mission of being open to all, irrespective of religion or lack thereof.


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