Face Values: Liberal Education's Imperative


by Terrie Aamodt, 1994 Distinguished Faculty Lecturer

About the Author 

Higher education is continually under orders to "face" something. A glance around the marketplace of ideas reveals a growth industry cataloging the failures of the academy. Face the facts, they say: grades are up, learning is down. Martinets bark, "Face the music!" and functionaries try to put the best face on things. Meanwhile, cartoonists are busy scribbling a record for posterity.

But face values? Wasn't the term last seen attached to "family" and blasted between Candice Bergen's eyes just before it went off the radar screen behind Dan Quayle into talk show oblivion? Wasn't Donna Shahala the only one who didn't laugh?

Face values? Says who? Many individuals insist this is not the business of education. Higher education should present ideas in a value-neutral environment, they say, enabling students to choose freely from equally weighted alternatives. Others find that the values present in higher education, if indeed there are any, are responsible for the enterprise's intractable problems. The result, in this view, has created a "hole in the moral o[zone" and is producing generations of "moral illiterates."1 It is undeniable that many teachers immerse themselves in lucrative research careers where those who succeed most frequently in shunting their teaching loads onto underpaid graduate students are deemed the most successful. The all-consuming need to succeed in research and incubate more grant money has resulted in a spate of embarrassing, high-profile ethical lapses by major university researchers.

Given these examples, it is not surprising that many students have found their own shortcuts; instances of cheating and plagiarism abound. Moral befuddlement, serious alcohol abuse, and date rape swirl together. Attempts to increase racial awareness reap more and more instances of hate speech. After decades of nurturing in pluralism and multiculturalism, white college students exhibit more bigotry toward blacks and black college students often are more alienated and despairing than their non-college-educated counterparts.2

Face values? Says who? A growing, disparate, nonpartisan aggregation of unrelated individuals, that's who. And their insistence is compelling. Higher education, with all its flaws, appears to be in better health than its fellow institutions of religion and family. Many see it as America's only hope of recovering a sense of purpose and direction.

Some of the most recent voices to join this call for re-emphasis on values are the members of the Wingspread Group on Higher Education, a working group of 16 well-known public and private educators and corporate executives who spent part of 1993 answering the question, "What does society need from higher education?" Their answer, spelled out in detail in a recent report, comes down to three things: taking values seriously, putting student learning first, and creating a nation of learners.3 In many ways, the last two objectives are dependent upon the first, for the tendency to undervalue classroom teaching and the pessimism about the citizenry's ability to think are related to the befuddlement about values that has been so widely noted.

Since a broad consensus exists that higher education's problems are real, a search for solutions is important. It is imperative for any educational institution, whether public, private, Christian, or denominationally affiliated, to recover and then to face the values that propelled it into existence and keep it alive.

Just what do values mean in the educational context? Robert Bellah and his colleagues maintain that the term "values" is frequently misused by radical individualists and that the term has no meaning unless it is tied to language and moral choice.4 Moral choice depends largely upon conscience, the active ability to sense differences between specified alternatives, and it urges us to prefer the "right" or "moral" or "ethical" ones. Our values are what we consider most worthwhile or most desirable. They are related to our beliefs, but they are not identical. Beliefs are propositions we hold to be true; values are what we hold to be important. Values determine priorities and underlie actions, but they are usually implicit and unspoken. It is possible to talk long and passionately about beliefs without acknowledging the values those beliefs imply.

When we connect "values" with "moral" we find that "moral values" and "moral education" are closely related. If we grant that education is "the intentional transmission of what is worthwhile," as the educational philosopher R. S. Peters defines it, then values are what determine the goals of the process.5 Moral education takes place when we explore ideas within a framework of what is thought desirable. This usage is distinct from "values clarification," which attempts to make the teacher "value neutral" (an impossible requirement.)6 A framework of values exists even in a pluralistic society, notes Abraham Kaplan, a philosopher at the University of Haifa, because even pluralism establishes boundaries between the moral and the immoral. "Community is not identity," according to Kaplan; "it is living with differences, in equality and fraternity."7 Furthermore, a pluralistic campus can still be appropriate to the root meaning of "college," which includes a sense of partnership, equality, and shared values. Collegiality, according to A. Bartlett Giamatti during his Yale presidency, "does not imply unanimity of opinion; it implies commonality of assumption."8 The boundaries of moral education are defined by behavior as well as by terminology. Since values are tied to actions, moral values are taught most effectively by example rather than by fiat, or, to paraphrase Emerson, "actions thunder louder than words."

Moral education as discussed here takes place in the context of liberal education. We owe much of our understanding of the term "liberal education" to John Henry Cardinal Newman's 1852 definition in The Idea of the University. In Newman's ideal world, a liberal education takes place when reason is exercised upon information, and its practical benefit is preparing good members of society. Cardinal Newman derives his definition of "liberal" from its Latin root, which means "free," and he notes that its opposite is "servile."9 Servility is associated with slavery and passivity. Given this context, then, a liberal education includes the freedom to explore issues, including those questions whose answers are not apparent, and it includes the freedom to follow the truth where it leads. It implies the assumption of responsibility for active, involved decision-making. Stated in another way, liberal education avoids intellectual passivity and indoctrination. According to Peters, it implies that a student's "outlook is transformed by what he knows."10 Thus liberal education includes basic information, tools to make sound judgments, and the discernment to understand the moral impact of choices. Servile training, on the other hand, would transmit information but would not equip students to make judgments. It is easy to see how moral monstrosities or nonthinking basket cases could emerge from servile training.

Because "liberal" is now used more frequently in another context, a "liberal" education is sometimes perceived as the opposite of "conservative." This confusion may be what led one college freshman to state recently, "The emphasis in higher education is liberal, and you don't have to have a reason for why you decide to act."11 In our discussion this evening, neither "moral values" nor "liberal education" belong in the liberal vs. conservative realm. Thus liberals are free to talk about values, and conservatives cannot co-opt the topic.

A glance around campuses today reveals that they all manifest values in some form. At the least, certain values resonate throughout higher education: tolerance, understanding, a love of learning, and a devotion to free inquiry and free expression. These things distinguish liberal learning from indoctrination or vocational training.12 In fact, we need look no farther than the discussion of hate speech on campus to see a framework of values in operation. When dealing with hate speech, even the most open of educational arenas places limits on free inquiry and free expression. Which freedoms should be limited and where the lines should be drawn have sometimes led to the accusation that certain values are made overly specific while others are ignored altogether. For example, the University of Connecticut included "misdirected laughter" and "conspicuous exclusion from conversation" in its list of acts of harassment, while its handbook noted that "the university shall not regard itself as the arbiter or enforcer of the morals of its students."13 James Billington, the Librarian of Congress, has an explanation for these apparent inconsistencies:

"One reason that there is a periodic flight in the modern university to moral absolutism about some passing and contingent political cause is the spiritual starvation of living in an allegedly value-free curriculum. The brighter students realize that universities in fact impart values under the guise of imparting none. The values are often simply those either of the consumer society or of the modern academic substitutes for religion: ideologies and methodologies."14

Billington suggests that in such an environment underlying values have been ignored until surrogates have replaced them.

Given this kind of confusion, what are the underlying values that bind any campus together? They must exist alongside the assumption that good ideas have nothing to hide, nothing to be ashamed of, nothing to fear. Although pure truth is elusive to imperfect cognition and imprecise language in a pluralistic world, we approach it most closely when we examine our claims freely in an open, congenial atmosphere. While this free exchange must occur to ensure a liberal learning environment, it is also inevitable that certain ideas will emerge consistently. These common threads conform to widely shared attitudes and approach a sense of objective value; they are what C. S. Lewis calls "the Tao," and they are common among major belief systems throughout history. The Tao, or the "universal moral path," affirms values such as honesty, fairness, and consideration for others. Lewis claims that what purport to be new systems are merely fragments of the Tao, "arbitrarily wrenched from their context in the whole and then swollen to madness in their isolation."15

So, a college or university ought to be a place where ideas are openly exchanged and held up to the light of the values present in the Tao. Are they in fact? Apparently most incoming students expect that they will be. In 1985, 81 percent of college-bound high school seniors agreed with the statement "Being in college helps to clarify one's values and beliefs."16 A few years earlier, 85 percent of entering freshmen in all higher educational institutions listed developing a 'philosophy of life' as an 'essential or very important' part of their college experience.17 Since most students are moving from inherited, passively received values to adopted, actively developed values during their college years, this is a particularly volatile, crucial period. Unlike society as a whole, whose least common denominator seems to be the whims and fashions of the marketplace, higher education has the potential to base its influence on "a core of integrity and confidence firmly rooted in humane goals," according to a Carnegie Foundation report.18

It would be foolish for a collegial community to ignore the Tao. Dishonesty in such a community would be of no use. People who are growing in a liberal environment need to test their ideas; to take refuge in the ideas of others would be a waste of time. The ethical lapses that produce plagiarism and research abuse originate in a system in which utility is the pre-eminent value. This attitude results from servile training. Another obsequious trait is grade inflation. Its causes are legion, but certainly relativism plays a part in eroding a sense of quality. Liberal education provides a framework for examining, honing, and sometimes rejecting ideas. It should be possible to evaluate the quality of thought and the quality of articulation that emerge from liberal education. High grades for mediocre work violate the Tao's mandate of honesty.

Liberal education promotes fairness, which requires that even unfashionable ideas receive an adequate hearing as they are held up to the light of the Tao. Purges, whether by McCarthyites or by the mavens of political correctness, have no place in liberal education. Fairness also demands equitable treatment for non-tenured and part-time faculty, who at present tend to be underpaid and who lack job security. It is unfair to replace the weaknesses of the traditional tenure system with crass exploitation.

Much of what is already good in liberal education comes from a simple precept of the Tao: consideration for others. Society, especially a pluralistic society such as ours, needs education that cultivates empathy. Information without empathy can produce anger, hostility, and intolerance. Empathy demands identification with whomever is the target of abuse, even the unfashionable or ignorant. Empathy allows free expression of ideas to occur. Although I was secretly relieved when one of my professors shouted "Shut up!" at a student who was being unbearably inane, his outburst was an empathy lapse. Empathy encourages students to clarify, refine, and articulate their ideas and then to scrutinize them in the light of the Tao.

A liberal educational institution promotes consideration for others when it nudges its inhabitants into practicing empathy. When it tries to require empathy, it risks becoming servile. Telling people what is and is not correct speech is not the same thing as teaching people how to judge and evaluate attitudes based on the principles of the Tao. Hate speech codes are a declaration of surrender-to servility. They attack a symptom and not the problem itself.

Rather than expending their energies trying to devise codes that proscribe every possible instance of verbal bigotry and yet slip past the Supreme Court's First Amendment vigilance, would it not be better for educators to show the benefits of tolerance? Instead of creating cultural centers that compartmentalize campuses into subcultures of isolation, would it not be better for colleges and universities to devise inclusive ways of celebrating cultural diversity? Cultural centers or organizations on campus can reach out to the general campus as students educate each other about their ways of life. As residents of the Walla Walla Valley, we have witnessed some notable examples. At the Walla Walla College Pacific Islander luau last spring, students from Tahiti, Saipan, Samoa, Hawaii, and elsewhere showed us how beautiful it is to sway to the beat of a different drummer. Shirley Chisholm created ripples of empathy and broadened the understanding of hundreds of students when she spoke at the Whitman College campus during a recent African-American heritage event. When Le Ly Hayslip visited Whitman last spring during an Asian cultural celebration, her perspective on the Vietnam War and its aftermath preached a powerful Buddhist sermon to her mostly Western audience. All of these events provided slices of authentic experience that have enriched us and have formed an important part of the education provided here. Students' relatively brief time in college is too precious to miss these kinds of opportunities.

The values of liberal education encourage lessons in empathy and consideration for others. An excellent way of encouraging compassion and ensuring its existence is service learning. What better way is there to exercise the skills and values of caring for others? Strong and growing community service programs on many campuses are one of the most encouraging signs that yes, colleges do transmit positive values.

Often, when colleges and universities are derided for pettifogging irrelevance, it is because educators have failed to recognize and remind themselves of the basic reasons for engaging in the costly and painful process of education. It is time for educators and students to apprehend the values that lie implicit in their enterprise. It is time to face values.

The context of the Tao is equally applicable to higher education in general and to those higher educational institutions operated by members of the Christian faith. The Christian expression of the Tao resides in two simple statements: the Golden Rule, "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you"; and "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind, and thy neighbor as thyself." The Golden Rule expresses the Tao in elegantly simple terms. The companion directive to love both God and neighbor forms the specific underpinning that Christianity brings to this broad principle.

Whereas many people see social utility as a good enough reason to follow the Tao, Christians adopt the Golden Rule because it harmonizes with the Divine Being they worship. In that context, following common sense principles of fairness and compassion does not simply fulfill a social instinct; it provides coherence in responding to the world. Because the Divine Being is a personal God, Christians are compelled to take responsibility for their actions. On a Christian campus, the Tao becomes insistent and inescapable, even if it is not always followed. The most powerful reason why Christian institutions of higher learning are committed to the values they hold is the example set by Jesus Christ. His compassion and his courage to speak out against hypocrisy and injustice set a high moral and ethical standard that should inform every action on such a campus. One of the most telling criticisms of higher education has been that good teaching is undervalued or has been subordinated entirely to the demands of research, publication, and survival in the tenure system. The right priority should be absolutely clear for a higher educational institution operated by followers of the Great Teacher. For similar reasons, the call to service at such an institution should be unquestioned.

Given the history of higher education, the congruence of the values of Jesus Christ and liberal education should not be surprising. The values of the Tao and the Golden Rule, even if they are only implicit, provide the most compatible environment for examining and evaluating ideas. The entire process, whether it occurs in secular or Christian liberal arts education, must take place in an atmosphere of free choice, not coercion. Although religious groups have had centuries of practice in coercion, both distant and recent history have proved that secular education is capable of the same thing. Coercion is servile.

Christian higher education benefits from commonality and shared focus, which is illustrated in the history of higher education in America. In the late 19th century, as the elite research universities were developing in this country, observers noted a curious fact. Most of the top graduate students in these elite schools were coming not from their own undergraduate programs but from small, denominationally affiliated liberal arts colleges which functioned essentially as the "farm system" of the universities. These colleges emphasized teaching over research, and the common values and focus of faculty and students encouraged close working relationships both inside and outside the classroom.19

Christian values have a great deal to say to Christian higher education. The Golden Rule should inform every relationship between administrators, faculty, staff, and students. The compassion of Jesus Christ should lead them to include the downtrodden, marginalized elements of society in radical equality and to speak out fearlessly against intolerance and oppression. Many voices compete for the ear of Christian educators, but one of the most important is the one coming from within.

Seventh-day Adventist higher education exists within the values of Christian higher education and liberal education in general. Its commitment to the tradition of liberal education explicitly dates back to 1910, when guiding light Ellen White advised the denomination to upgrade its school of medicine to produce fully certified physicians. Her directive ensured that the feeder colleges would also seek accreditation and develop along the lines of liberal education.

The genesis of Adventist commitment to liberal education actually occurred earlier, however, when Ellen White and Adventist educators formed their philosophy. Much of classic Adventist educational philosophy appears in Ellen White's 1903 book, Education. For Ellen White, the Adventist educational expression of the Tao is embodied in God's law-the biblical injunction to love God and neighbor. This law, she says, "guards the rights, the individuality, of every human being."20 It forms the basis of a value system that shows how the members of an educational community should be treated. The goals of liberal education-to develop independent thinkers who hold values of fairness and compassion-are the goals of Adventist educational philosophy. White states that "true education" trains students "to be thinkers, and not mere reflectors of other men's thoughts."21 Values of truth and integrity that accompany this type of education, she says, will make students "a positive force for the stability and uplifting of society."22

Certain Adventist preoccupations are congruent with values that enhance the aims of liberal education. One of the reasons liberal education is in danger today is that specialization and fragmentation have splintered intellect apart from responsibility. Adventist philosophy insists that mind, body, and spirit are interrelated and interdependent. Since Adventists do not subscribe to the Cartesian dualism that separates spirit from matter and subordinates the flesh, they are inclined to note the importance of sound physical health for building intellectual strength. Student health is increasingly becoming a matter of concern nationwide. Whether they are decrying substance abuse or sexually transmitted diseases or the shortcomings of a dormitory diet that sometimes seems to consist entirely of marshmallow creme, Pop-Tarts, and jolts of caffeine, most college leaders would envy the amount of awareness Seventh-day Adventists have about health. Whether or not they act upon their knowledge, Seventh-day Adventists know that what people put into their heads and into their bodies does matter, and it does affect both intellectual and spiritual health.

The Adventist belief in God as Creator leads to another significant set of values. Implicit in that belief is the need to care for God's creation. Careful stewardship of the environment is part of the Adventist birthright that few have claimed. Seventh-day Adventism, if it is true to its implications, should exhibit the utmost tender care for the natural world and a fierce determination to protect it. A deteriorating environment could make the Sabbath rest a fiction.

Another inescapable part of Adventist heritage that affects its stance toward liberal education is apocalypticism. Nothing has been drummed into young Adventist heads over the decades more insistently than the idea that in the end, each individual will be held accountable for his or her actions. Never could there be a stronger incentive for cultivating independent thought, resisting coercion, rejecting servility, and, yes, embracing a liberal education.

The premillennialist bent of Adventist apocalypticism should impart an acute sensitivity to the brokenness of the world. Adventists are not bound by their theology to believe that the world will get better and better. Adventist literal belief in a Divine Reckoning finds expression in Matthew 25, where the sole criterion that sends people up with the sheep or down with the goats is the way they have dealt with the most broken lives in the world. Does a stronger call to community service exist anywhere?

I do not believe that Seventh-day Adventist higher education exists primarily to perpetuate a culture or a belief system. If it did, we would only be talking to ourselves, and if we did that, we would only tell ourselves what we wanted to hear. Neither do I believe that Seventh-day Adventist higher education exists primarily to be an Ivy League clone. There are plenty of other, much more generously endowed, institutions poised to fill that role. If Seventh-day Adventist higher education has a reason to exist it must be because it can fill a place in the educational mosaic that no other institution can fill exactly. And that purpose surely includes bringing a testimony, bearing a witness, to an educational philosophy that has something to say to the entire world, not just to the Adventist world, the Christian world, or the American world.

One might think that Christian or denominational institutions that have spent so much time defining and proclaiming values would be leaders in exemplifying them. However, the more rigorous the emphasis on behavior and its consequences has been, the more frequently opportunities for hypocrisy occur. The Gospels clearly show that the sins of lust, drunkenness, and dishonesty cannot hold a candle to the big one-pride. It is time for Seventh-day Adventist educators and students to notice the values that lie implicit in their educational traditions and to recover them. It is time to face values.

Where does all of this context place Walla Walla College, a smallish Adventist college with a comprehensive pedigree and a liberal arts soul? Perhaps a good place to start would be to apply the points from the Wingspread Report in the section entitled "Taking Values Seriously" to the traditions and track record of this college. Walla Walla College's commitment to all-inclusive education is as old as the college and has been represented visually since 1912 when the board adopted President Ernest Kellogg's design for the school seal, complete with a mental/physical/spiritual equilateral triangle and a yin/yang symbol. The visual symbol was embodied in the words of the college motto, "The School that Educates for Life." This is a college that is supposed to teach students how to deal with the intellectual, physical, and spiritual challenges they will meet in the "real world." Wingspread asks, what does the core curriculum look like? Does it provide a rigorous liberal education? Will it teach students to "live rightly and well in a free society?" These questions will be answered, for better or for worse, when the general studies program currently under review is put in place and evaluated. At each stage it would be profitable to articulate and review this college's responses to those large questions about ultimate goals.

Wingspread also wants to know, how does this college ensure that entering students will graduate as individuals of character? Plenty. Right? These matters are addressed in a myriad of classes and spiritual gatherings large and small. This college does what most campuses envy and what more and more critics of education say colleges must do: its inhabitants meet together as a campus community. But, since those gatherings are perceived as a supplement to an already crowded academic calendar, they may be seen as annoyances rather than values-building opportunities. It ought to be possible to integrate these campus gatherings more closely with our educational enterprise. Carlton Cross made a suggestion some time ago that has bearing here: embed into the curriculum a non-credit colloquium in Faith and Learning, meeting at 11 a.m. each Tuesday. Combine that idea of his with the opportunity for students and faculty to meet together in small groups for a significant block of time-an hour and a half weekly-to focus on an aspect of faith and learning and educating for life, whether Bible study, spirituality, science and religion, or the challenges of carrying on family and professional lives simultaneously. Required chapels and worships as we know them would be a thing of the past. These small groups and colloquia would integrate education and values and set patterns for a lifetime of spiritual growth.

Wingspread asks how a campus fosters civic virtues within its community, virtues such as respect for the individual, the knowledge that common interests exceed individual differences, concern for those who come after us, support for the freedoms in the Bill of Rights, respect for the views of others, and the necessity to exercise rights responsibly. A reply to this hypothetical question would undoubtedly point to the 1918 Gateway to Service and describe the college's century-plus commitment to service. For many decades that commitment encouraged many graduates to dedicate their lives to foreign mission service. As the number of foreign missionaries declined, it gradually came to mean service as a student missionary or a volunteer worker somewhere in North America. Only recently has it also come to mean a commitment to systematic service within this community. The most significant transformation of the meaning of the Gateway to Service is the current development of service learning on this campus, including the recent funding of an AmeriCorp grant for service learning. Service 102 Day is most significant when it is seen in this context. It symbolizes a broad commitment to community involvement, not just a single day of service activity. (It is also notable that the service day was revived this year at the instigation of a student-ASWWC president Paul Ford.)

The final questions Wingspread asks of a college apply to the institution itself: how does it model the values and skills expected? how could the general climate of civility on campus be improved? What first comes to mind here is the appealing image of the campus operating "like a family." The relatively small spread in the faculty wage scale is still an important tradition to the faculty while it increasingly puzzles accreditors. Another likely proof of family feeling on this campus is the system of shared governance. This one may not be quite so straightforward, however; the system can be a two-edged sword (or perhaps an n-dimensional sword with many edges?). Faculty governance can function either as the happiest kind of collegiality or the broadest form of mistrust. It is up to the participants to provide the meaning.

Walla Walla College is also like a family in an extended, global sense. This campus is a multicultural mosaic made up of people from 35 countries. Unfortunately, the history of this college has some unhappy chapters on the topic of cultural sensitivity. The traditions of celebrating our rich cultural diversity are new ones. I dream of a time when we all seek out students from other cultures and implore them to share their heritage with us.

A major reason why this campus feels like a family is that the common Christian heritage and the Seventh-day Adventist context that have brought most of us here are stronger than our differences. They form the glue for this family, and it is our responsibility to look for the underlying values that are implicit in this heritage and to articulate them. Further, unless the values that arise from traditions are also capable of bringing meaning to the lives of those in this community who have a different heritage, they are not worth preserving. We would only be talking to ourselves, telling ourselves what we want to hear.

Even though it is possible at Walla Walla College to acknowledge the connection with the liberal education tradition almost without thinking, it would be good to remember how this college came to be connected with that tradition. The earliest years of Walla Walla College were marked by uncertainty about what it was supposed to accomplish and whether it would be concerned with indoctrination, with only vocational training, or with higher education. Then, in the 1920s and 1930s, presidents Smith, Weaver, and Landeen adopted the direction set by Ellen White in 1910 and followed the College of Medical Evangelists in seeking accreditation. Some denominational leaders and many Northwest Adventist leaders were not ready for this step. They saw it as a threat to a faith they felt was fragile and easily eroded. When accreditation was finally achieved in 1935, with all its accompanying implications for curriculum and faculty training, this campus wa s beyond the comfort level of its constituency. The tragedy that followed in 1938 was perhaps inevitable. Afterward, the governors of this college learned that, yes, becoming part of a system of liberal education did have its consequences and, yes, the accrediting organization was ready to withdraw its earlier approval because the institution had violated its own tenure policies. The accreditors asked lame duck president William Landeen, who had resigned because the board had overreached him in firing three theology teachers, if they should withdraw accreditation. Landeen must have felt that what he and others had worked so hard to achieve had inherent coherence and value. He just said no.

Walla Walla College needs not apologize for contextualizing higher education within Seventh-day Adventist Christian values, remembering that Ellen White, the Golden Rule, and the Tao all demand independent thought. There is no more room for telling a student what to believe at Walla Walla College than there is for any college to try to judge when laughter is misdirected enough to violate a hate speech code. It is totally appropriate, however, to present ideas in the context of the values that have brought this institution into being and continue to shape its existence. As long as we remember this, we need not worry about being purveyors of servility.

It is imperative for all colleges and universities, including the Walla Walla College community, to face the large issues of values that underlie their very existence. When those values are recovered and articulated, liberal education will thrive in an atmosphere of civility, and American higher education will be able to offer itself at face value. 




About the Author

Terrie Dopp Aamodt, a native of Clarkston, Washington, received a bachelor of arts degree in history and English from Columbia Union College in 1976. She earned a master of arts degree in English from the College of William and Mary in 1978 and a doctorate in American and New England studies from Boston University in 1986. She has participated in postdoctoral programs at the Johns Hopkins University and Dartmouth College. She joined the faculty of Walla Walla College in 1979 and is currently professor of English and history. 





1. Dallas Henderson Cheek and Carole Maxwell Cheek, "What's in a Name? Moral Education and Terminological Precision," Education Forum, Fall 1993, 22. They credit educational consultant Michael Josephson with the phrase "hole in the moral ozone" and William Bennett with the term "moral illiterates."
2. Arthur J. Kropp, "College Must Find Ways to Eradicate Racial Divisions," in Chronicle of Higher Education, 22 April 1992.
3. Wingspread Group on Higher Education, An American Imperative: Higher Expectations for Higher Education (The Johnson Foundation, 1993), 7.
4. Robert Bellah, et al, Habits of the Heart: Individualism and Commitment in American Life (New York: Harper & Row, 1985), 80.
5. R. S. Peters, Ethics in Education (London: Allen and Unwin, 1970), 31-35.
6. Kevin Ryan and Peter Greer, "Putting Moral Education Back in Schools," Education Digest Dec. 1990, 32. These authors also note that "the claims of values clarification have been empirically discredited and all but universally disparaged by philosophers and educational commentators."
7. Kaplan explains, "I can accept many cuisines but not cannibalism; many sex patterns but not child molesting and sadism; many political parties but not neo-Nazis and terrorists; many religions but not Satanism and human sacrifice." (Abraham Kaplan, "Moral Values in Higher Educations," in Moral Values and Higher Education: A Nation at Risk (Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University, 1991), 25.
8. A Free and Ordered Space: The Real World of the University (New York: W. W. Norton, 1988), 39.
9. John Henry Newman, The Idea of a University (Westminster, MD: Christian Classics, Inc., 1973), rpt. 1852 ed., 106.
10. Peters, 31.
11. Robin Wilson, "Worried About 'Anything Goes' Moral Code..." Chronicle of Higher Education, 3 Jan. 1990, A28.
12. Robert H. Atwell, "What Does Society Need from Higher Education?" in An American Imperative, 51.
13. Dinesh D'Souza, Illiberal Education: The Politics of Race and Sex on Campus (New York: The Free Press, 1991), 9.
14. James Billington, "The Role of a Western University in Forming a Social Morality," in Moral Values and Higher Education, 40.
15. C. S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man (New York: Macmillan, 1947), 56.
16. Ernest L. Boyer, College: The Undergraduate Experience in America (New York: Harper and Row, 1987), 44.
17. Page Smith, Killing the Spirit: Higher Education in America (New York: Viking Penguin, 1990), 221.
18. Ernest L. Boyer and Fred M. Hechinger, Higher Learning in the Nation's Service (Washington, D. C.: The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, 1981), 58.
19. Smith, 85.
20. Ellen White, Education (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press, 1903), 16, 77. She quotes Luke 10:27.
21. White, 17.
22. White, 29-30.