To Students: Close Laptops, Use Pencils

disallow laptops in my classroom. No screens, only books, paper, and pencil. The obvious reason is the distraction factor. Stand in the back of a classroom of fifty-plus students, survey the dozens of screens propped open, and count how many show social media, pictures, text messages . . . Continue Reading »

End-of-Year Honor for Gordon Antagonist

The Boston Globe’s Christmas gift to Gordon College was a slap in the face. The Globe listed Kim Driscoll, mayor of Salem, in its list of honorable mentions for Bostonian of the Year. In the article she was lauded for voiding a city contract with the college over its Conduct Statement, which does not permit homosexual practice. Continue Reading »

Torture and Witness to Life

I am a very proud alumnus of the Franciscan University of Steubenville. I earned a bachelor’s degree there, I earned a master’s degree there, I met my wife there, and I was formed, intellectually, spiritually, and personally, there. Scott Hahn has called Franciscan a “greenhouse for holiness.” The lives of alumni engaged in missionary and charitable apostolates across the globe are evidence for that claim. Continue Reading »

University of St. Thomas and NARAL

Yesterday I drew attention to the unfortunate fact that the Biology Department at the University of St. Thomas was directing its students toward pro-abortion activism. Okay, that was a bit too strong. I should have written “listed.” The Biology Department’s website listed NARAL and Planned Parenthood as volunteer opportunities. Continue Reading »

The New College Counterculture

Hip. Suave. Chic.” These are not the words from a car commercial. They are what Princeton student Christian Say wants to pop into people’s heads when they think of the Princeton Anscombe Society. Named after the late British philosopher Elizabeth Anscombe, the Princeton Anscombe Society was started by Cassandra L. Hough and other Princeton undergrads in 2005 as a reform-minded reaction to the fact that on campus casual sex had become the norm. They chose Anscombe as their inspiration because, while bearing the trappings of an independent modern woman with her cigars and monocle, she defended so well Christian Sexual Ethics to secular audiences through reason alone. Likewise, the PAS sought to provide a rational voice for sexual integrity, conjugal marriage, and the significance of the family. Eventually, Mrs. Hough and others began receiving emails and letters from students across the country asking for advice on how to establish their own chapters. Thus the Love and Fidelity Network (LFN) was created. Continue Reading »

Positive Chastity

Readers of First Things who are teachers and administrators at secular colleges know what happens in formal and informal discussions of student conduct when someone mentions the word “chastity.” Continue Reading »

Michael Lomax and College Completion

In October 2013, 132 Catholic professors signed a letter addressed to America’s Catholic bishops objecting to the adoption of Common Core standards by Catholic schools. The letter stated that the standards lower expectations for high school graduates to a basic-skills, workforce-preparation focus, neglecting “Catholic schools’ rich tradition of helping to form children’s hearts and minds.” Furthermore, Common Core aims to make students “college-ready,” but the standards are “geared to prepare children only for community-college-level studies.” Continue Reading »

An Emerging Irony for the Professors

When you talk to humanities professors, especially those at elite institutions, it doesn’t take long for the complaints to begin. They say that the administration doesn’t support them, choosing to invest in the sciences and business school, not language, literature, and culture. They witness the number of majors plummet—English used to collect nearly 8 percent of majors; now it’s close to 3 percent—and they feel unappreciated. (At my own institution, the number of majors has dropped by more than 50 percent since I arrived in 1989.) The overall drift toward the “corporate university” reflects values they abhor, and many of them would like to move, but the job market is terrible. Continue Reading »