Alice Gallin, O.S.U.
In this work Alice Gallin, O.S.U., takes on questions of the identity of Catholic colleges and institutions—those that educate young lay men and women—from a broad historical perspective: How have these institutions acclimated themselves to the standards of American higher education since the 1960s and, at the same time, attempted to retain a distinctive Catholic mission?
Catholic colleges and universities in the modern world are continually negotiating, questioning, and defining their Catholic identity with four major constituencies, by no means always in harmony: the Roman Catholic Church, state and federal government, the broad American higher education community, and the internal constituencies of faculty, students, parents, and administration. As in her earlier study of governance change in seven Catholic colleges, one of Gallin’s primary concerns is to demonstrate the complexity of the task, which rules out any simple interpretations or answers. Gallin describes the crucial impact of theological changes from Vatican II, the threat of exclusion from government funding for higher education after World War II, issues of academic freedom from differing perspectives, the transformations in student bodies and faculty loyalties, and the struggle of Catholic colleges and universities to become respected members of the American higher education community. Of special interest will be her discussion of events leading up to the issuance of Ex Corde Ecclesiae,on which debate continues. Written by a historian with a lifelong involvement in Catholic higher education, this work will evoke in readers both an appreciation of the challenges and a sense of responsibility for the future.
“Ursuline Sister Alice Gallin is Father Theodore Hesburgh’s contemporary in the world of Catholic higher education. . . . There is no one better placed to retell the story of Catholic educators’ latter-day attempt to stand with one foot in the Church and the other in the secular culture, and no one more steadfast in her belief that the boat has never drifted too far from the dock. What she presents is not a simple memoir; she has painstakingly searched a variety of archives to give many voices a hearing.” — First Things