Sunday, October 22, 2006

Catholic Education: Both Sides of the Coin

From the "This is news?" file, the US' most storied Catholic university seeks... more Catholic professors.
A recent gift will create an endowment to support chaired faculty positions for top scholars who also demonstrate a commitment to [Notre Dame] university's Catholic mission.

The gift was provided by Notre Dame board of trustees chairman emeritus Donald Keough, his wife, Marilyn, and their five children, all Notre Dame graduates. Keough, a retired president and chief operating officer of the Coca-Cola Co., now is chairman of the board of Allen & Co., a New York investment banking firm. The amount of the gift was not disclosed.

To be called Keough-Hesburgh professorships, in honor of Keough and the Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, president emeritus, the initiative will create two chaired faculty positions and fund university efforts to identify and attract younger faculty and graduate students to work with a Keough-Hesburgh professor.

The goal of the professorships is to attract outstanding faculty members of all ages, for visiting or tenured positions in all academic fields.

Part of the Keough gift has been used to establish an office led by the Rev. Robert Sullivan, a history professor and director of the Erasmus Institute, to identify possible future Catholic faculty hires.

At the request of Dean of Arts & Letters Mark Roche, Sullivan's office in 2005 started compiling a database of Catholic academics elsewhere who specialize in liberal arts disciplines.

"We compiled 700 to 750 names in departments for that college," Sullivan said. Some Catholic scholars are suggested by current Notre Dame faculty and others are identified by combing through academic publications and other public documents, he said.

The success of that effort prompted the Rev. John I. Jenkins, Notre Dame's president, and Thomas Burish, the university provost, to expand it to all disciplines. That effort is just being started.
Meanwhile, a Catholic school in Britain is under scrutiny as authorities allege students aren't being taught enough about other faiths.
St Catherine's Catholic High School, in Halifax, has been placed in special measures in the wake of a highly- critical report from the Office for Standards in Education.

Former headteacher Michael Savage has taken early retirement and Mike Woods, a headteacher from Leeds, has been brought in to lead the school until the end of the academic year.

The report, published yesterday, rated the school's teaching, leadership, curriculum and academic standards as "inadequate". The school's GCSE results were described as "poor".
It went on: "The pace of improvement since the last inspection has been too slow; actions that have been taken have had too little impact on the quality of provision and of the pupils' achievement.

"The school does not have the necessary capacity to improve and does not provide value for money."

The report said the pupils, who are largely from white backgrounds, are well behaved but "there is limited development of the pupils' awareness of Britain's cultural diversity."

The comments made by inspectors coincide with the nationwide debate on the role of faith and faith schools in state education.

Education Secretary Alan Johnson outlined measures earlier this week aimed at forcing new faith schools to take more students from different backgrounds.
Talk about your divergent trends.