Friday, February 20, 2009

A “Don’t Miss” Post at Liestoppers Meeting

How much of what happened at Duke can be traced to the fault of the Trustees?

Quasimodo at Liestoppers Meeting asks that question and provides information about Dartmouth College and Boston College to provoke discussion of the question.

Here's the start of Quasi’s post - - -

Charles Sykes' book
The Hollow Men is a short history of Dartmouth College during the period running from 1971-1990.

The great movement toward "general education," which originated at Columbia in the 1920s and involved a reading of the books generally deemed essential, had influence across the country. Educational leaders recognized that there were certain books an educated person simply had to be familiar with, and all such programs were intended to bridge the gap between specialization and shared culture.
. . .

Mr. Sykes shows, did try to introduce a serious core" curriculum, but the faculty wasn't interested.

This brings us to the second of Mr. Sykes's major points: the shift of institutional power from the administration and the trustees to the faculty, which led inexorably to the politicization of the academy.

As Mr. Sykes documents, the Dartmouth faculty wrecked the McLaughlin administration, chiefly over the issue of ROTC. Actually, the substance of that issue was not the training of a few officers. It was Vietnam, in retrospect, and Nicaragua and El Salvador in the present tense, with the faculty solidly on the side of Third World Communist insurgencies.

Behind it all was a negative view of American power, and, implicitly, of America itself Intimidated by what Roger Kimball has called "tenured radicals," President McLaughlin dithered, tried to appease the faculty with perks, got nowhere, and ended up with no constituency.

The result of these developments can be put succinctly. Dartmouth no longer knows who or what it is. . . .

There’s much more to Quasi’s post including a comparison of what Dartmouth is offering with the core curriculum at Boston College.

I hope you give it a look here.