Christian Higher Education in a changing context: Shifting from pillars to practices

N.A. Broer, J. Hoogland, J. van der Stoep

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The process of global modernization has reached a new phase. In many
parts of the world, societies have become so complex that the logic that
characterized firstmodernity no longer works. Simultaneously, societies are
confronted by huge and complex side effects of modern rationality, such
as climate change, migration influx, global inequality, and waning
confidence in the nation-state. Consequently, we are entering an age of
reflexive modernity. In our view, this new social configuration has
important consequences for what Christian higher education can
contribute to the education of new professionals. In this article, we will
reflect on the way in which three collaborating Christian universities of
applied sciences in the Netherlands are searching for answers on the
challenges of our time. We propose, firstly, that they should give more
attention to the relational formation of professionals than before. These
professionals have to bridge the gap between professional and client,
system and lifeworld, professionalism and personality, and professionalism
and spirituality. Secondly, the professionals trained at Christian institutions
of higher education should develop a strong professional ethos that allows
themto act swiftly and efficiently in complex situations. In order to develop
such an ethos, moral traditions are indispensable. Although the new social
configuration does not seem to be very favorable for Christian higher
education, on closer inspection it brings new opportunities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55 - 66
Number of pages11
JournalChristian Higher Education
Issue number1-2
Early online date28 Dec 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Christian Higher Education
  • reflexive modernity
  • reflexive practices


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