Prof. Howland to speak on campus | Jacob Howland

Jacob Howland, McFarlin pro­fessor of phi­losophy at the Uni­versity of Tulsa, will speak on campus at 8 p.m. on Feb­ruary 4 in Lane 125 on “the crisis of liberal edu­cation in America” and 8 p.m. on Feb­ruary 5 in Dow A on “Divine Word and Human Chatter.”

The talks are spon­sored by the Office of the Pres­ident, the Van Andel School of States­manship, the Department of Phi­losophy and Religion, the Col­le­giate Scholars Program, and the Lyceum. 

Howland’s first talk “On the Crisis of Liberal Edu­cation in America” will discuss the current edu­cation restructure hap­pening at the Uni­versity of Tulsa. According to The Uni­versity of Tulsa’s website, they are cur­rently under­going a process of elim­i­nating 15 depart­ments and 40% of the aca­demic pro­grams it offers. The uni­versity is also elim­i­nating its business and law schools to create a single “pro­fes­sional college” and create one general edu­cation cur­riculum called “uni­versity studies.” 

“My talk will place the recent destruction of the Uni­versity of Tulsa in the broader context of the ‘reengi­neering’ of American edu­cation according to the pri­or­ities of cor­po­ratist pro­gres­sivism,” Howland said in an email.

Pro­fessor of History Paul Rahe worked with Howland for many years at the Uni­versity of Tulsa and wanted to bring him to campus.

“He is at the center of a struggle to prevent the trustees and admin­is­tration of the Uni­versity of Tulsa from destroying the place as a liberal arts insti­tution,” Rahe said in an email. 

Rahe sees the liberal arts being threatened from both sides — those on the left striving to indoc­trinate and those on the right striving to make col­leges “job-training” centers. 

“One reason for bringing Jacob here is that he has given a great deal of thought to this process of dis­so­lution,” Rahe said. “He can talk both about the par­tic­ulars of the Tulsa sit­u­ation and about the draft of things nationally.”

Howland’s second lecture will focus on philo­sophical topics and be geared toward anyone inter­ested in phi­losophy or the Christian religion.

“My talk is con­nected with the theme of liberal edu­cation which nour­ishes and strengthens the indi­vidual as such,” Howland said. “Kierkegaard relates the oblit­er­ation of indi­vidual char­acter in the present age to the increas­ingly inhuman babble that today fills our ears and drowns out the Word of God.”

Howland has written several books on Plato and the Talmud, Kierkegaard, and related authors.

“Both the Talmud and Kierkegaard are sig­nif­icant,” Rahe said. “Neither has much of a place in our cur­riculum, so he can sup­plement what we do.”

The two lec­tures are for under­grad­uates, graduate stu­dents, and faculty with interest in the future of the American uni­versity and the teachings of a prominent philosopher. 

“My hope is that the attendees will emerge from the first lecture with a sense of what the world of edu­cation out there is going to be like,” Rahe said. “And from the second lecture with a deeper under­standing of the rela­tionship between reason and rev­e­lation within the Christian world.”