By Study and Also by Faith: The Faculty at Brigham Young University Responds

This article presents significant statistical information about BYU faculty attitudes toward faith and scholarship gathered in a 1998 survey conducted at selected religious universities by researchers at Baylor University.

In 1968 a monumental book entitled The Academic Revolution appeared, culminating a ten-year sociological study of more than 150 colleges and universities in the United States. The authors, Christopher Jencks and David Riesman, documented the transformation of higher education in America from the church-related colonial college to the modern secular university. Jencks and Riesman identified a few universities, among which was Brigham Young University, that did not conform to the trend. Referring to BYU as one of a few “holdouts against the onrush” of change, they summarized the chances of BYU embracing this academic metamorphosis with this assessment: “All in all, Brigham Young is probably as unlikely to be secularized as any Protestant college in America.” This prediction has now aged over thirty years. The pressures on BYU to accept outside norms have persisted if not intensified. Now, in light of a 1998 survey of BYU faculty, it is possible to measure the accuracy of the 1968 assessment and to gauge BYU’s continuing commitment to higher education in a strong religious atmosphere. This article will examine the recent survey and how it confirms the accuracy of the Jencks and Riesman prediction.

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