To begin an article by saying that American higher education is in a state of crisis would be -- at least to most readers of this site -- so familiar as to border on tautology. "Well, sure," the reader can be imagined thinking. "But is she referring to the years of economic turmoil and drastic budget cuts? The adjunctification of the faculty? The neglect of the liberal arts and humanities? The watering down of academic standards?"
The occasional flaps between professors at Roman Catholic institutions and the bishops in their dioceses often hinge on whether allegiance to church orthodoxy trumps the free spirit of inquiry celebrated in academe. The church’s efforts to strike a balance between those two sometimes-competing values will soon be brought to the forefront again, as bishops begin a formal review of how well colleges are upholding their Catholic identities.