Reforming The Politically Correct University

Yesterday I attended a fine conference at the American Enterprise Institute, “Reforming The Politically Correct University.” AEI commissioned papers on various aspects of the PC university from Peter Wood, Steve Balch, Greg Lukianoff, John Agresto, John McWhorter, and many others. They’re to appear in book form next summer, but many are available now at the event site. Do take a look. I’ve not had a chance to read all of the papers, but some stood out. Sandra Stotsky’s account of the role of Ed Schools in the design of politicized textbooks was particularly interesting, as were Peter Wood’s thoughts on permutations of “diversity” and John Agresto’s call for a revitalized conception of the liberal arts.

Our own Jim Piereson offered a darker note in “The American University: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow” with a look ahead into the likely direction of higher education.

..As the diversity thrust loses steam, liberals and far-left groups on the campus will not be at a loss for new causes to absorb their attention and energy. The next iteration of liberal reform in the universities is likley to involve further steps to detach these institutions from the American polity in which they are embedded. We have already noted that the intellectual foundations of the modern research university are somewhat at odds with the philosophy of natural rights that shaped our national instiutions. The logic of liberalism points in the direction of the internationalization of the American university. We can already see fragments of this emerging trend in the banning of ROTC and military recruiters from college campuses in order to disassociate universities from American national policies. The enrollment of international students will receive greater emphasis in the coming decades which will further reinforce the trend. Academic programs in American government or in American studies will be increasingly de-emphasized on the grounds that they are parochial, in much the same way as programs in Western Civilization were de-emphasized in the past…

You’d be well-served browsing the papers here.

Anthony Paletta

Anthony Paletta is a freelance writer.

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