We are busy working on several articles and waiting for the Fall semester enrollment numbers from Shorter, but we still find time to check out what is happening in the news.

We expect to see good numbers from Shorter, since it appears that other private colleges in the area are experiencing good enrollments. Reinhardt and Berry (ranking #121 on the U S News rankings of Best Liberal Art’s Colleges) seem to be doing especially well.

Dr. Charles Negy is an associate professor of psychology at the University of Central Florida. He is also author of several textbooks, including Introduction to Psychology and Cross-Cultural Psychotherapy.  Dr. Negy brooks no nonsense in his classes. His students rate him as “interesting” but note that he “will make fun” of comments in class.

While we don’t know Dr. Negy personally, we do know that good professors often call into question statements that are made in class and challenge students to defend them.  Students are expected to think through their comments, to be open to new concepts and to weigh the merits of all arguments before reaching a conclusion. This is part of the critical thinking process; a necessary skill that is learned in a higher education classroom.

After what must have been a particularly difficult class, Dr. Negy wrote an email to his students. That email has gone viral and has been published in many places online. You may find the email here.

Dr. Negy, we couldn’t agree with you more.

Meanwhile, Shorter has had two more departures:



Parents of Shorter students, you better hope your child’s financial aid is already in order.  According to our calculations, there are only a couple of people left in that department. Handling the aid packages of all those students is going to be mighty difficult.

7 responses to “ON CRITICAL THINKING

  1. Lynn Hogg Robinson

    loved the e-mail by Dr. Nagy. Right On- wish I had had him as a professor.

  2. Larry T. Burgess

    I have regularly expressed my support of what SOS is seeking to accomplish. That support has not changed. I grieve what has happened at Shorter—the unethical way in which the takeover was accomplished and the strong-armed way in which it has been implemented. However, I must respectfully disagree with much of what Dr. Nagy expresses in his e-mail. I agree with his assertion that the purpose of a university is not to get students to regurgitate “right answers.” I also do not support the student who is reported to have told others to “not participate” in a class discussion. However, these are t least two points at which I disagree with him: [1] He speaks of “bigotry” in reference to those who strongly expressed their Christian convictions. I believe that his assertion is based on a wrong understanding of “tolerance.” In our culture, tolerance has come to mean that you never express strong convictions for fear of offending those of other persuasions. The very word “tolerance” implies that you must tolerate something that is not easy to tolerate. In the kind of open discussion that Dr. Nagy purports to support, people express what they believe, however strongly or fiercely they believe it. Then others, who have equally held strong beliefs [including, for example, the belief that there is no “objective truth” to be found in the universe], express their beliefs. If “tolerance” is operating, those in the discussion “tolerate” and respect the full variety of strongly held beliefs—even if they fervently disagree with them. An example in my own experience: I was asked to open a meeting of the DeKalb County Commission with prayer. Prior to the meeting, I received an extensive directive as to what I could pray and could not pray. Specifically, I was directed that I could not pray “in the Name of Jesus.” I called the office from which came the directive. I said to them that they had asked a Christian minister to lead in prayer. Thus, they should expect [and respect] the fact that I would offer a “Christian prayer.” If I attended such a meeting and a Muslim or a Jew led the prayer, I would expect that person to be exactly who she/he is and offer the prayer that a Muslim or Jew would normally offer. I would not ask him/her to change for me but would respect who that person is and the prayer lifted in terms of his/her tradition. If I were to take offense, that would be my problem, not the problem of the person praying.That is what tolerance is all about. I immediately think of other examples in my experience but will try to avoid boring the readers with a too-lengthy exposition. [2] I get the impression that Dr. Nagy considers propagation of the Christian Gospel an offense. However, if one takes seriously the recorded words of Jesus and seeks to follow Jesus as Lord, how can she/he ignore the commands of Jesus to propagate the Gospel? This is the very reason that through the ages, the phrase “offense of the Gospel” has been used by believers and unbelievers. This is not the first generation which has been offended by propagation of the Gospel. I think of an instructive exchange which occurred decades ago in India. A Christian was being tried for “propagation of the Gospel.” In the trial it was stated that it would be acceptable for the believer to “practice the Gospel” but not to “propagate the Gospel.” A Hindu man present at the trial, with an astute understanding of the claims and instructions of Jesus, then stated, “To deny a Christian the propagation of the Gospel is to deny a Christian the practice of the Gospel.”
    This response is not a repudiation of Lynn Robinson nor intended as disrespectful of Dr. Nagy. If nothing else has been accomplished, perhaps I at least have given those who disagree with me an opportunity to exercise tolerance.

  3. Much of the growth in enrollment at both Berry and Reinhardt is due to Shorter transfers.

  4. A.B., What do you base that statement on? Have you seen the student roster & where they came from? I think that would not be public knowledge, don’t you?

  5. Ethel, I base my statement on the following:

    1. A friend’s son went to speak to Berry about taking a course there this fall. The admissions person told them they were overfilled with students as a result of Shorter transfers; otherwise they could have accommodated him. In particular, Berry’s biology courses were especially full. I spoke to the young man myself and I trust him. I’d earlier heard Berry staff at church also say they were getting a lot of inquiries from Shorter students.

    2. Much of the Shorter fine arts staff were hired by Reinhardt but only after Reinhardt saw they were getting enough transfer applications to justify the expansion of their fine arts program. I was told this by multiple Berry and former Shorter staff at church. Reinhardt has also publicly released numbers showing they’ve set an enrollment record.

    Ethel, class has started at Shorter but they still haven’t released any enrollment figures yet — do you know why they wouldn’t?

    • Thomas Hobson Williams

      I can testify to Reinhardt’s enrollment numbers going up quite a bit thanks to Shorter transfers, at least in the fine arts departments — I worked in Shorter music department for the past two years, and personally know a large number of music (and some theatre) students who transferred there. Although I don’t have exact numbers at hand, I saw the whole thing happen from a very close point of view. I don’t know about Berry, but it would not surprise me if they indeed had a lot of Shorter transfers in other departments.

  6. Ethel, I should add that I’m hearing really grim rumors about the enrollment decline at Shorter, but for now I put less credence in them than I do in what I’ve cited above which was stuff from people I knew were knowledgeable and credible. Let’s just hope the negative Shorter rumors are wrong.

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