13 June 2015

The Credibility of Liberty University

Liberty University is often a target of the misinformed. And some historians who don't have an axe to grind will come to Liberty's defense. With this in mind, here's some interesting news about the world's largest Christian university from none other than the Chronicle of Higher Education:

An Online Kingdom Come: How Liberty U. Became an Unexpected Model for the Future of Higher Education

Some excerpts:

“College leaders, grappling with how to position their institutions for the future, might want to take a closer look” [at Liberty.]

[Liberty] “has carved out a distinct online identity in a relatively new market and created an Internet education machine that generates revenues any college would welcome.”

“Any college that defines itself more narrowly, as Liberty has done with its Christian mission, necessarily turns off some prospective students,” 

“But the brand is stronger for it. There are too many places that want to be all things to all people.”

And from Liberty's website:

Liberty’s “nest egg,” the Chronicle reported, “is on par with the endowments at major research universities, such as Baylor and Tulane.” As The Washington Post conveyed, “Flush with cash, Liberty is building a huge, $50 million library (completed in January 2014), replacing old dormitories, and angling to place its Flames football team in a conference eligible for NCAA bowl games.” USA Today reported in 2013 (“Jerry Falwell’s Legacy: A Thriving Liberty University”) that Liberty is unlike most private nonprofit colleges, which “have remained cautious with their budgets amid lingering economic uncertainty.”

The direction Liberty has been heading in is, indeed, turning heads. The Chronicle reached out to experts on education theories, including Michael B. Horn, co-founder and executive director of the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation, who said Liberty’s success “may be that they are not trying to be like everybody else. Higher education is ignoring it at its own risk.”

Actually, higher education is ignoring quite a bit these days.

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