In Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the Professoriate (1990), Ernest L. Boyer challenged the prevailing belief that the most significant work of higher education involved research and publication. Calling for new categories of scholarship—including the activities of discovery, integration, application, and teaching—Boyer emphasized the need for a more complete and pluralistic understanding of the academy, one curiously consistent with the aims of a Christian liberal arts college. As one who teaches English at such a place, I possess a composite of beliefs regarding my profession and my institution—beliefs not perceived as compatible by some. This essay is an examination of these beliefs and how they, in fact, interface. In the English department at Wheaton, our primary educational aim proves to be different from that of a public university: the formation of whole and effective human beings through imitatio Christi, the pedagogic integration of Christian faith and humanistic learning. Eschewing indoctrination and superficial biblical belief, we require students to engage controversial theoretical perspectives and difficult life questions, resulting in the freedom for self-critical participation in a community, a language, and a Book. This exposition concludes with a consideration of belief versus bullshit, advocating Michael Bérubé's approach for “critical pluralism.”

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