22 January, 2010

Where Do We Go from Here?

A reader of the last post, "Why (1) Will Never Work and Why (2) Might," wisely asks, "So now what? Where do we go from here?"

To get from here to there (or hence thither) the following steps are required: (1) assemble a team of like-minded scholars/teachers and like-minded and interested but non-academic Lutheran laymen of great influence; (2) design a curriculum, figure out initial staffing and physical plant needs, as well as costs to perpetuate the program; (3) raise money (at least enough to support at least 50% of the salaries and benefits the necessary initial faculty + anticipated library needs); (4) take hat in hand and approach the existing institutions with an offer to fund, staff, and run the program; (5) ensure accreditation through the AALE or TRACS for the program.

There's a lovely story about a couple, shabbily dressed, who approached the then president of Harvard University with an offer to make a donation. The president, sizing them up on the basis of their shabby appearance, turned down their offer as presumably too piddling. So instead of donating to Harvard, the Stanfords founded a brand-new institution. Apocryphal though the story may be, it's well known in educational circles today, and nary a president turns down even the smallest offer of support.


Rev. Sean L. Rippy said...

Perhaps some further ideas to take into consideration, at least for the future is the support and even starting of Classical Lutheran Elementary/Middle/High Schools that would feed the Classical Lutheran College.

Also, there is a college in Moscow, Id, albeit Evangelical, that has recently (1994) I believe, started a rather successful Classical College called New Saint Andrews. It might be worth looking at their model and how they suceeded.

I don't know the whole story- for example how they got financial backing- but they began with convincing local parents/churches of the need for classical education. They then started several Classical primary and secondary institutions. Next they helped others in the U.S. start Classical schools through Classical Education seminars, publications (magazines, online etc) and start-up packs.

Finally, they had people clammoring for a Classical Higher Education, which they started sometime in the early 90's with 4 students as New Saint Andrews College. Along with an AA and BA in Liberal Arts and Culture, they offer an M. ST. in Classical Christian Studies and an MA in Trinitarian Theology and Culture. The M. ST. in Classical Christian Studies is offered as low residency with a low price-tag aimed at educating Classical School Teachers (and I suppose further priming the well) over a 2 year time-period or a Grad. Cert. over 1 year. The AA, BA and MA is full-time on campus.

With our current classical Lutheran schools in operation (albeit lacking in the High School area) we may be in a good position to start up a school. And if we can provide education for our own classical Lutheran schools, ala New Saint Andrews, we may have another source of income. I know for a fact that many of the schools in Wyoming District LCMS are making this all up as they go along (I believe Wyoming District voted in a ditrict resolution to convert all of their schools to Classical Lutheran Education- though I'm unsure how many have done so to date).

Also, many texts we would use in terms of Classical texts have no copywrites and are freely available online. There are several options then in terms of providing cheap texts for the students in the beginning, from merely having them read on-line to printing our own relatively inexpensive softback copies. Pastor Mike McCoy (Scholia Press) in Emmett, ID has a great deal of experience in this area and can provide pricing options- as can Pastor James Heiser of Repristination Press in Bynum, TX. My area of expertise is Enlgish Lit. and the biggest issue here would be the English translations of some of the classical texts, which are not as good as some modern (but copywrited) translations.

If the current Concordias are unwilling to offer the Liberal Arts AA/BA, CCLE indicates that there are several clusters of Classical Lutheran Education schools in America around which (near which) one may consider starting a physical plant. The above mentioned Wyoming and Texas (although, perhaps more widely spread) seem to be 2 such areas.

If one may wish to start something somewhat near to Wyoming, Boise, ID can possibly also pull from 3 local Classical High Schools- 2 are Evangelical and 1 is public. Also, because of the influence of Moscow, ID on the Evangelical Classical High Schools in ID, there is the possibility of pulling from other Classical schools in the area. Many of these students may wish to attend New Saint Andrews, however, New Saint Andrews does not offer on campus housing and being closer to home can make a difference in such cases.

Anyway, these are just some random thoughts I've been mulling about in my head. And in case you haven't guessed yet, I live and teach college in Boise, ID :)


Rev. Sean L. Rippy

Rev. John Hellwege said...

First of all, as a relatively young scholar, with some experience, I would love to join the team. In fact, reading this blog has made me think that you (Jon) have listened in on some of my conversations with a good friend of mine. We both were talking about where we would like to teach (he is working on his dissertation now, I just finished my Ph.D. in May) and we share a vision for a Lutheran Liberal Arts college with a strong classical bent and a core of humanities centered in theology. The one problem is obvious, it does not exist!

I am a pastor and historian who have taught as an adjunct for three different institutions, but long for a school built on the classical liberal arts model.

Some thoughts on the subject at hand, I fear that the Concordias would not be open to this, as this is going in the opposite direction from what they have done.

It seems to me that an important source of potential students is homeschooling. I am a homeschooling father, and am part of the growing classical education movement. Also, homeschoolers, while a diverse group, are generally motivated by greater concerns than a potential occupation (I won't say vocation, per one of Jon's posts pointing us to the proper understanding of vocation). This would be a possible source of motivated, thoughtful students who truly want to wrestle with the great ideas of humanity.

Another school that we might want to talk to is Patrick Henry College. This is a recently started school, and while not quite the strict Wittenberg model we are discussing here, it is a rigorous school that is quickly developing a reputation for excellence.

Forgive the random thoughts of this post, but these are a few things that I have been chewing on.