For a Catholic institution to live up fully to its promise, it must have devoted teachers and scholars who aim to stir in their students a hunger for the truth. (Rev. Wilson Miscamble, C.S.C.)
NOTRE DAME, IN — We are pleased to introduce our readers to NDCatholic.com, a new website in which Rev. Wilson D. Miscamble, C.S.C., identifies faculty and discusses courses that will advance a student in his or her quest for a Catholic education at Notre Dame. The students are now selecting courses for next semester, so we urge you to forward this bulletin to any students and parents you know.
Father Miscamble is admirably suited to this task. A longtime member of the faculty and former chairman of the history department and rector of Moreau Seminary, he is a nationally recognized historian and a noted teacher at the school.
And the information he furnishes will be invaluable to students and parents. As we have stressed, the fundamental problem at Notre Dame is the radical reduction over recent decades in Catholic representation on the faculty. The faculty no longer comes close to meeting the University’s own Mission Statement test of Catholic identity: a majority of committed Catholics on the faculty. Perhaps 25% to 30% of the faculty may fit this description, as we will show in a coming bulletin.
This means two things:
First, the odds are against a student’s getting a solid Catholic education at Notre Dame. As Father Miscamble observes, Professor Walter Nicgorski’s brief description of the situation is telling:
It is increasingly the case today that a young person going through the critical years of an education at Notre Dame might not encounter a practicing Catholic [teacher] informed and engaged by the Catholic intellectual tradition.
But, second, the student who selects teachers and courses with care can secure what may well be the finest Catholic education available anywhere. Notre Dame is an outstanding university with, we believe, even now a higher proportion of Catholic faculty than any major Catholic university except The Catholic University of America. Given the deplorable state of higher Catholic education, this is not saying nearly enough; but it is saying something that is not by any means insignificant.
We make one further point to avoid misunderstanding about Sycamore Trust. We fully appreciate that, for a number of reasons we do not pause here to enumerate, a major Catholic university and its students should include in its faculty many outstanding non-Catholics. Notre Dame is most fortunate in that respect. (Indeed, Father Miscamble’s list of teachers is not confined to Catholics.) It is a question of balance, and unhappily the necessary balance in favor of Catholic faculty has been lost over the years at Notre Dame in its drive for secular acclaim.
We will turn to Father Miscamble to introduce his website. As he notes, this first stage of his compilation is not complete as to either the colleges and departments of the university or the faculty. He has focused so far on some of the major areas most important to the “Catholic” component of a university education.
One further point: We are proud to be able to provide technical support for this website, but we cannot claim to have had any role in its content, which is beyond our competence and outside our proper role. Those who will benefit from the website will be indebted entirely to Father Miscamble.
Now to Father Miscamble’s introduction:
You may visit the site and sign up for updates at www.NDCatholic.com.