Wednesday, February 18, 2015
As this piece in the Washington Post notes, there is a lively conversation going on -- in both the physical and virtual worlds -- about the University of Notre Dame's core-curriculum review and about the possibility that the current "two courses in Theology and Philosophy" requirement could be watered down or scrapped. (Although I did not attend Notre Dame, and do not teach undergraduates -- though I'd love to! -- I believe strongly that the requirement should be enriched and deepened . . . and retained.) My friend and colleague Prof. Cyril O'Regan's presentation on the matter -- "The Catholic University, Theology, and the Curriculum" -- is outstanding, and available here. Here's a bit:
I judge the stakes regarding the current review of Curriculum to be extraordinarily high for the definition and the future of the university. We have not quite reached that pitch of apocalyptic crisis where it is appropriate to recur to the throw-down from Lord of the Rings in which Gandalf stands against the unspeakable Balrog in the mines of Moria and, facing it, says with Moses-like staff in hand: Thou shalt not pass! The jig is far from up for our beloved Notre Dame. But let there be no mistake about it, I do believe there is something seriously wrong with the emerging ethos of Notre Dame, which in my view is very much symptomed in what I regard as run-away enthusiasm for irresponsible invention evinced in the core curriculum review. This is a moment for our common reflection of what and who we are and what and who we are becoming, and possibly gather those forces whereby in a real sense we become who we are.
Read the whole thing!