Sacred Ground: Higher Education and the Importance of Place


  • Jeffery P. Aper Millikin University


Abstract: The growing emphasis on cyberspace as a primary locus for the teaching and learning efforts of modern colleges and universities belies larger issues of connection, meaning making, and community necessary to human growth and well-being. College and university campuses can be critical loci of such functions if they are understood as sacred places devoted to ideals of growth, development, community, communication, and especially of freedom of inquiry, expression, and conscience. Though the current pandemic has reinforced reliance on online methods of instruction and interaction, the critical longer term needs of individuals and society at large are served by a renewal of the commitment to college and university campuses as places dedicated to the essential ideals of respectful polity, comity, and mutuality.

Author Biography

Jeffery P. Aper, Millikin University

Biographical Information: Dr. Jeff Aper is a recently retired chief academic officer and faculty member. He earned a Ph.D. in Educational Research and Evaluation at Virginia Tech University and went on to faculty positions at Southern Illinois University - Carbondale and the University of Tennessee - Knoxville. He later served as Provost at first Blackburn College and then Millikin University, both in Illinois. He has authored over thirty professional publications and has made an equal number of presentations at professional meetings. His primary scholarly interests relate to student outcomes, epistemological issues in educational research, and the ways values shape educational policy and practice.