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Professors’ denominations: Diversity, academic integrity a benefit

By Optimist Editorial Board
Posted on December 4, 2012 | Editorials,Opinion | 2 comments

Find the opposing argument here:

ACU’s Church of Christ identity has been a significant influence on the university since it was founded in 1906. However, as times have changed, it seems beneficial for ACU to break from tradition slightly in order to accommodate non-Church of Christ faculty and staff members.

The first apparent benefit is that of diversity. From the professional standpoint, ACU has the potential of losing some respect in the academic world if it does not uphold a certain amount of diversity among faculty and staff members. Requiring new hires to be Church of Christ, a denomination that is sometimes lower in diversity, limits the potential for diversity in applicants.

Also, the Church of Christ requirement can hinder some high-quality faculty members from applying to teach at ACU. Though the quality of the current ACU faculty is great, other candidates that would make good additions may be overlooked simply because they might be a Baptist or non-denominational rather than Church of Christ. Situations where better-qualified candidates are turned down because they do not fulfill this requirement can take away opportunities for students to learn from many competent, talented professors across the nation who are not Church of Christ.
A professor of a different denomination would not lead to many palpable changes in a non-Bible classroom. How often do art or biology professors discuss denomination-specific theology?

Instead, if the university is given the ability to hire who is best for the job regardless of denomination, doors would be opened up for many faculty members who were previously ruled out to contribute to ACU.

Thirdly, ideas that are challenged are known to become stronger. When surrounded by like-minded people, it is easier for students to accept beliefs without questioning them for themselves.  Students who are able to defend their beliefs have the opportunity to grow in faith. There are always going to be students that gain or lose faith in college. Students should be given the opportunity to be strengthened instead of sheltered.

Finally, if the university is intent on reflecting the ‘real’ world, it is important to expand the thoughts and beliefs that are present on campus. Currently, 45 percent of ACU students are Church of Christ and the outside environment does not mirror this ratio. Faith will be challenged in the real world and it is better to begin exposing students to new mindsets in an environment where they can be mentored by a variety of Christian denominational backgrounds.

Overall, allowing non-Church of Christ faculty and staff members will enhance, rather than inhibit, the ACU students’ Christian education.

avatar Posted by Optimist Editorial Board on Dec 4th, 2012 and filed under Editorials, Opinion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.  - This post has been viewed 45676 times.

2 Responses for “Professors’ denominations: Diversity, academic integrity a benefit”

  1. avatar Kay See says:

    By the way – the reason that ACU has not been re-chartered, is that it will lose some of it’s endownments that help fund ACU, plus some contributions to ACU to help build buildings, etc. And they will also lose some scholarships that ACU students enjoy receiving….

  2. avatar Kay See says:

    What does Abilene Christian’s school charter say? It is not “tradition” to only hire Church of Christ faculty, but according to the charter set forth by those who founded Abilene Christian, it was their desire to see a institution of higher learning be identified with the Church of Christ.

    Seems a lot if individuals are hung up on the word “diversity”. Is the only way ACU can be diversified is by hiring non-Church of Christ professors? Are there not members of the Church of Christ who are just as qualified as non-members who are also being overlooked as well?

    My understanding of the word non-denomination refers only to the Church of Christ as being non-denomiational, as it is the only non-man made religion. The Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist, Catholic, etc. may all have fine members of their religious gropus, those groups are mad-made and follow a man made doctrine. Jesus died for one church and one church only.

    I do not agree with the statement “Ideas that are challenged are known to become stronger” . You are mixing ideas with religious beliefs…they are two different concepts. Yes, some of my ideas are based on my religious beliefs, but some of my ideas may be bases on other things, such as my parents teachings or laws of physics, etc.

    Why are there students who attend ACU who start out as members of the Chruch of Christ and then they fall away from the Church? If ACU is teaching the Christian principals that are inline with the Church of Christ, would not these student’s faith be strenghtened? ACU is moving farther away from the Christian and moral principals that it was established on by allowing such things as dancing on campus, allowing students to drink off campus, relaxed dress code, etc. What will be next? Allowing students of the oppisite sex to share dorm rooms?

    One has to wonder at what point will we decide that there has been enough “chipping away athe the founding idesas of the university”…when the enrollment of Church of Christ students reaches 5% like Pepperdine?

    If ACU wants to change the “landscape” of the way the university looks, then I suggest that they re-charter the school and do away with the word “Christian” in their name so that those looking for a Christian University will not be confused with what ACU really stands for. Otherwise, please put ACU back the way the founding fathers ment for it to be.

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