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One might argue that this is not a wise time to raise queries of the common good for Christian higher education. Our in-boxes and newsfeeds provide persistent reminders of the crises facing higher education today, many of which uniquely impact Christian colleges and universities. A crisis of the humanities, as students turn away from areas of study traditionally associated with the liberal arts. A crisis of cost, as independent colleges wrestle with an unsustainable financial model and an increasingly skeptical constituency. An enrollment crisis amid declines in the number of high school graduates, especially in the northeast and midwest. Colleges are cutting programs and even closing their doors. How can we consider the lofty query of our contribution to the common good amid such urgent questions of institutional survival? The better question: How can we not? As we navigate this series of crises as they uniquely impact Christian higher education, we must attend to the greater questions. Otherwise, we may not recognize the version of ourselves that "survived." Toward this end, I offer three broad rationales for why attending to the common good is not only timely but also a deeply faithful question for the place in which we find ourselves.


Originally published as:

Wells, C. A. (2018). For such a time and place as this: Christian higher education for the common good. Christian Higher Education, 17(1–2), 1–7.