Here’s a development that may just set a trend in higher education reform. Last year, Hamilton College rejected a proposed Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization. Now the center, run by several Hamilton College professors and a distinguished board, will set up as an independent institution. (See “Rejected by NY college, conservative center sets up off campus.”)
It’s tough to know exactly what to think of this. On the one hand, what’s really needed is for such centers to sprout up within colleges, and to gain more prerogatives (e.g. the right to appoint faculty), not less. On the other hand, if created with the cooperation of tenured faculty members on campus, off campus centers may just make it possible to do an end-run around radical faculty members determined to exclude alternative perspectives from campus life. But while a center like this can bring in speakers and put on symposia, there’s no substitute for course work.
At any rate, this is clearly a development to watch. Check out the website of the Alexander Hamilton Institue. And here’s the website of a concerned alumni group that has been instrumental in founding the Hamilton Institue. Here’s a report from last year on the controversy by ACTA, which has also played a key role in saving the Hamilton Institute. And here is ACTA’s latest report.