Oases of Excellence

Ashley Thorne

NAS is pleased to announce a new page on our website listing excellent programs in American studies or Western civilization. Our chairman Steve Balch helped build many of these centers, which stand as oases in the Sahara of higher education today. They are Great Books programs, free institutions centers, academies for the study of the Constitution and democratic government—all created to honor the heritage of Western civilization.

The National Association of Scholars was originally founded as an organization that would combat political correctness in the university. To that end, NAS has focused great attention on pointing out where higher education has gone wrong. We’ve highlighted why the academy is cheating students when it slights teaching about America’s ideals and institutions and stigmatizes the Western heritage. We have found, however, that worrying out loud generally isn’t enough to launch a reform movement. And so, in order to model the right approach to American education, NAS has been program-building for twenty years.

These nationwide centers act as revitalizing oases, both because they provide a refreshing alternative to the stifling atmosphere of the politically correct classroom, and because, like a spring of fresh water to a thirsty man, they supply a desperate need. In higher education today, classic texts are either absent from the reading list or are denigrated for being authored largely by “dead white men.” The Founding Fathers are too often taught to be embarrassing characters of our past. And Western history has become severely warped to accommodate learning “through a lens of power, privilege, and oppression” and in the context of “race, class, and gender.” 

Programs like the Center for American Vision and Values at Bellevue University in Nebraska, the James Madison Program at Princeton, and the Great Books Curriculum at Wilbur Wright College in Chicago represent the small but hearty band of those who resist the politicized teaching of the university today. We invite you to browse our list and send the link (http://www.nas.org/polExcellentPrograms.cfm) to interested friends. And if you live in the vicinity of one of these programs, we also encourage you to visit a lecture, read a Great Book, and consider how you can help sustain the legacy of American history and Western civilization.

 

The list of programs can be accessed by clicking the blue “Excellent Programs” tab on the left sidebar of the NAS homepage.

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