Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Trustees Encouraged to Take More Active Role in Guiding Universities

The American Council of Trustees and Alumni has issued a report that looks like it will be very interesting reading.  According to this story from, the report refers to a "failure of higher education governance" and argues that trustees should play a much more active role in correcting some of the problems now facing higher education. The story suggests that the report contains a good summary of those problems. One example of interest to this department: there is (says the report) "evidence that self-interest and personal ideologies can drive departmental directions rather than the interest of the students and preparation of citizens. And studies show that there are fields -- such as military history, constitutional history, and diplomatic history -- that are fast disappearing from college curricula." The report calls on trustees to educate themselves and ask questions like this: "Does the history department ... have expertise and offer coursework on the Founders, the American Revolution, and the Constitution?"  Well, we at least could answer that question with a loud "yes!" If , as James Madison suggests, "all governments rest on opinion," the disappearance of courses on the Constitution and related issues does not bode well for republican self-government.

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