Orthodox Catholic Academics, Catholic Colleges and the Job Market
Literacy-Chic is preparing to graduate from grad school with a Ph.D., and will soon be entering the job market. She has some questions regarding how to go about her job search and the sort of positions and institutions for which she should be looking:
... Since becoming Catholic, I have been thinking, Gee, wouldn't it be nice to teach at a nice Catholic school? Then I could raise the kinds of questions that you can't raise in a state school where you're supposed to respect everyone's religious identity to the point of annihilating your own (like when, post 9-11, one prof voluntarily removed his Divinity Degree from the wall, and another was advised to hide her icons!!), and where there would, presumably, be some sense of Catholic identity, and opportunities for faith formation among the faculty and. . . well, that's the kind of thing I was thinking. Except that even in the first fervor of conversion, I wasn't sure Ave Maria or Steubenville would be for me. I'm an orthodox kind of gal, but I'm not ready for any Catholic versions of those protestant colleges that won't let faculty drink alcohol (yet the one I have in mind has the bar and cash register from the Bird and the Baby--the Eagle and Child pub where the Inklings met--in its library--yeah. . .), and I believe that those schools might be a teensy evangelical in flavor for a recovering protestant...My Comments:
... The scholarly, prominent Catholic universities with whom every new Ph.D. would LOVE to have an interview are apparently unworthy of being termed Catholic, while the most orthodox of all hire mainly clergy or have 5-person English departments or 300-student enrollments and the ones in between have low pay, high teaching loads, nominal research requirements--not the kind of place to go, in short, if teaching and research are on your agenda, that is, if you want your ideas to be heard by the scholarly community. So is it worth investigating positions at Catholic colleges at all? If you risk being associated with heterodoxy or heresy, or exposed to and manipulated by such ideas? If, by avoiding those pitfalls, you are compromising the chance of having a Catholic voice in the cacophany of scholarly opinions? Not to mention compromising your ability to pay those loans--you know, the ones that are equal to or surpass the price of a really nice house? The ones that you will not pay off before you die? The ones that are, in fact, a lease on your education rather than a purchase? Yeah, those. Is it O.K. for a Catholic academic to take a position at a Catholic college or university that is Catholic in name only? In hopes of influencing others, maybe? Or do you just give up on Catholic education altogether in order to avoid this sticky issue?
Here's my response to Literacy-Chic:
"Is it O.K. for a Catholic academic to take a position at a Catholic college or university that is Catholic in name only?"I'm sure Literacy-Chic would be open to having others chime in on this topic as well.
I would think so. How else are those schools to recover their Catholic identities?
As for the usual blogosphere rant regarding "orthodox" schools vs. those that are CINO, ignore most of what you read. I would be delighted, for example, to send all of my children to allegedly "Catholic in name only" Notre Dame, but wouldn't dream of allowing them to set foot in the so-called "orthodox" Ave-Maria-Monaghanville-USA.