Almost all of America's private colleges and universities
started out as denominational schools, but connections with
sponsoring churches gradually attenuated over the last century.
Only fundamentalist Protestant denominations and the Roman Catholic
Church still maintain colleges and universities closely tied to the
spirit of their denominations. Catholic higher education is the
largest of these systems, producing a significant proportion of
America's college graduates, trained professionals, and
Andrew M. Greeley argues that Catholic schools are no better and
no worse than the vast majority of American higher educational
institutions. He chooses a sample of schools varying in the degree
to which changes are evident, without revealing this key to his
investigator team. Greeley and his field team then visit the
schools, interviewing significant segments of each, and
characterize each in terms of recent growth and elements which are
critical in fostering and supporting such changes.
Greeley briefly summarizes information on the history of
Catholic higher education. He then furnishes descriptions of three
rapid-improvement, three medium-improvement, and three
low-improvement schools. In a summary, he provides evidence that
the quality of administrative leadership predicts academic
improvement in a Catholic college or university. In the final
sections, Greeley reviews the administrations, faculties, and
student bodies at Catholic colleges and universities, and offers
general observations about the outlook for Catholic higher
education in the United States.
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