Christian Higher Education in a Changing Context: Shifting From Pillars to Practices

Nico A. Broer, Jan Hoogland, Jan van der Stoep

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The process of global modernization has reached a new phase. In many parts of the world, societies have become so complex that the logic that characterized first modernity no longer works. Simultaneously, societies are confronted by huge and complex side effects of modern rationality, such as climate change, migration influx, global inequality, and waning confidence in the nation-state. Consequently, we are entering an age of reflexive modernity. In our view, this new social configuration has important consequences for what Christian higher education can contribute to the education of new professionals. In this article, we will reflect on the way in which three collaborating Christian universities of applied sciences in the Netherlands are searching for answers on the challenges of our time. We propose, firstly, that they should give more attention to the relational formation of professionals than before. These professionals have to bridge the gap between professional and client, system and lifeworld, professionalism and personality, and professionalism and spirituality. Secondly, the professionals trained at Christian institutions of higher education should develop a strong professional ethos that allows them to act swiftly and efficiently in complex situations. In order to develop such an ethos, moral traditions are indispensable. Although the new social configuration does not seem to be very favorable for Christian higher education, on closer inspection it brings new opportunities
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-66
JournalChristian higher education
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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