NAS is concerned with many issues, including academic content, cost, unfairness, academic integrity, campus culture, attitudes, governance, and long-term trends. We encourage commitment to high intellectual standards, individual merit, institutional integrity, good governance, and sound public policy.

The Issues

NAS is concerned with nearly every aspect of higher education.

Academic Content
  • Hollowing out of liberal education
  • Politicization of the classroom
  • Trivialization of scholarship and teaching
  • Disappearance of core curricula
  • Neglect of important books
  • Marginalization of key subjects
  • Declining study of Western civilization
  • Overemphasis on the current, popular, marginal, ephemeral
  • Overemphasis on issues of race, gender, class, sexual orientation
Cost
  • Excessively high tuitions
  • Policies that encourage students to assume imprudent levels of debt
  • Federal policies that encourage profligate spending by colleges and universities
  • Deep flaws in higher education’s financial model
  • Administrative bloat
  • Burdensome regulation
Unfairness
  • Censorship of ideas and suppression of debate
  • Ethnic preferences in admissions and hiring
  • Sex discrimination in academic hiring
  • Ideological litmus tests for faculty appointments and tenure
  • Abuses of academic freedom and individual rights
  • Exclusion of conservative and traditional viewpoints
Academic Integrity
  • Widespread plagiarism
  • Research fraud
  • Grade inflation
  • Credential inflation
  • Academic credit for non-academic activities
  • Cheapening of honors and distinctions
Campus Culture
  • Cultivation of ethnic and group grievances
  • Neglect of character education
  • Dorm-based indoctrination
  • Transformation of student activities into student activism
  • Broad imposition of the “sustainability” agenda on university activity and campus life
  • The rise of a “therapeutic” model of education
  • Celebration of what is coarse
  • Overemphasis on group study
  • Pressure to conform to campus ideologies
  • Partying and the hook-up culture
  • Corruption of college athletics
Attitudes
  • Systematic denigration of American society
  • Denial of the possibility of truth and disinterestedness
  • Condescension toward the non-academic world
  • Anti-capitalist, anti-democratic, and anti-freedom orientations
  • Complacency toward divisive group entitlements
  • Marketing college as the only path to success
  • Assuming a college degree signifies an education
Governance
  • Opaque rules and procedures
  • Overreaching harassment codes at odds with intellectual freedom
  • Overemphasis on “community-building” at the expense of academic learning
  • Excessive layers of administration
  • Deficiencies in the U.S. accreditation system
  • Lack of public accountability
  • Marginalization of the trustee role in shared governance
Trends
  • The higher education “bubble”—and the possibility of serious retrenchment
  • The rise of online colleges
  • The rise of for-profit colleges
  • Expansion of community colleges
  • Effects of new national K-12 standards on students’ college preparedness
  • Continuing deficiencies in teacher education
  • The “outcomes assessment” movement
  • “Multiculturalism,” “diversity,” “sustainability”

 

Our Ideals

The NAS advocates for excellence by encouraging commitment to high intellectual standards, individual merit, institutional integrity, good governance, and sound public policy.

Intellectual Standards
  • Ideas judged on their merits
  • Disinterested pursuit of truth
  • Fair and judicial examination of contending views
  • Rich and challenging reading assignments
  • Frequent and carefully assessed writing assignments
  • Well-rounded core requirements
  • Transmission of both the core content and core values of Western civilization
  • Rigorous and fair testing and examination
  • Coherent curricula within majors and programs of study
Individual Merit
  • Individuals judged fairly, according to their abilities and accomplishments
  • Grades consonant with accomplishment
Institutional Integrity
  • Thrift, faithful stewardship of gifts, and financial probity
  • Transparency in the curriculum and classroom 
  • Scientific spirit in scholarly inquiry
  • Freedom of faculty members and students to pursue academic research
  • Freedom of faculty members to teach their academic subjects
  • Freedom of students to question and to think for themselves
  • Freedom from ideological imposition or suppression
  • Conservation of knowledge and intellectual achievement
Good Governance
  • Leadership focused on academic mission
  • Appointment of officers and staff members who are genuinely qualified
  • Efficient organization
  • Transparent rules and procedures
  • Adherence to the rule of law
  • Restraint in response to fashionable movements and political, social, and ideological enthusiasms
  • Mindfulness of the history of higher education, the ethos of scholarship, and value of knowledge and free inquiry
  • Capacity and willingness to distinguish between the significant and the trivial
  • Commitment to civil debate and respect for dissenting opinions
Sound Public Policy
  • Prioritizing education as academia’s main purpose
  • Minimal student indebtedness
  • Equal opportunity on the basis of individual merit
  • Access to college for all
  • Alternatives to college made available
  • Greater price competition among colleges and universities
  • Support for affordable tuition
  • Support for innovation and the creation of new colleges
  • Support for the developing market for online college degrees and vocational training
  • One set of standards applied to for-profit and not-for-profit institutions
  • Academic programs aligned with U.S. national interests
  • Funding for basic research
  • Reform of K-12 education