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Renewal of Catholic Higher Education

"Renewal of Catholic Higher Education: Essays on Catholic Studies in Honor of Don J. Briel" began at the Twenty Years of Catholic Studies Conference at the University of Mary, Bismarck, ND, in 2014. Catholic Studies professors, alumni and scholars gathered to celebrate Dr. Briel's enormous contributions to Catholic Studies programs nationwide and to reflect on ways to impact Catholic higher education more broadly. Since 2014, Dr. Briel has held the Blessed John Henry Newman Chair of Liberal Arts at the University of Mary. Dr. Briel founded the Catholic Studies Program at the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, MN, in 1993. For the next 20 years, he provided leadership as the program's director and held the Koch Chair of Catholic Studies. Renewal of Catholic Higher Education celebrates Dr. Briel's development of the Catholic Studies program, and how he inspired and guided the growth of many Catholic Studies programs in the U.S. and abroad. In celebrating Catholic Studies and Dr. Briel's leadership, the book ponders both the challenges and the opportunities of Catholic higher education in America at the end of the second millennium and the dawn of the third. Catholic Studies emerged at a pivotal moment when Catholic universities began drifting from their religious mission and identity by accepting the overspecialized and compartmentalized approaches of secular universities. Catholic Studies programs, such as at the University of Mary, have made a significant step toward reweaving the unraveling strands of university life. If Catholic Studies can fulfill three integrative tasks-reuniting faith and reason, faith and culture, and faith and life-it is poised to make a significant contribution toward the renewal of Catholic higher education. Renewal of Catholic Higher Education provides educators with an important opportunity to reflect on the nature of Catholic higher education and the steps needed to work towards its renewal.

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