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Contending with ModernityCatholic Higher Education in the Twentieth Century$
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Philip Gleason

Print publication date: 1996

Print ISBN-13: 9780195098280

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780195098280.001.0001

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The Tribulations of the Thirties

The Tribulations of the Thirties

Chapter 9 The Tribulations of the Thirties
Contending with Modernity

Philip Gleason

Oxford University Press

Relations between Catholic institutions and the North Central Association (NCA) played a key role in the organizational strains that developed in the early 1930s. As we saw in Chapter 2, the example set by this pacesetter among the regional accrediting associations contributed importantly to the NCEA’s launching into the work of accreditation. Pioneering Catholic reformers like James A. Burns, C.S.C., and Albert C. Fox, S.J., had close ties with the North Central, a tradition carried further by later progressives like William F. Cunningham, C.S.C., who was appointed to its board of review in 1926, and Alphonse M. Schwitalla, S.J., who served as its president ten years later. The North Central welcomed Catholic involvement. After all, Catholic schools constituted a significant proportion of its clientele, so it made good organizational sense to cultivate friendly relations with Catholic educators. Besides, as Raymond M. Hughes, president of Miami University (Ohio) and a leading figure in the North Central, pointed out in 1926, the accrediting standards being used by the NCEA were “practically identical” with those of the NCA. This suggested the desirability of closer cooperation between the two bodies, especially in dealing with problems distinctive to Catholic institutions. The example Hughes cited to illustrate this kind of problem was the difficulty NCA inspectors had in evaluating the “educational backgrounds” of faculty members who were members of religious communities. This was in one sense a mark of recognition, but it was linked to something less reassuring to Catholics—the North Central’s steadily rising expectations about the amount and quality of graduate training college faculty members should have. The NCA did not evaluate graduate programs as such, but it was very much interested in the professional competence of faculty members, and that was rated in terms of the graduate training they had received. As more Catholic schools began offering advanced work, the NCA felt some concern about its quality, especially since so many faculty members at Catholic colleges took their graduate degrees from other Catholic institutions.

Keywords:   Academic freedom, Classical languages, Great Books, Humanists, John Carroll College/University, Lay faculty/teachers, New Humanists, Refugee scholars

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