Dicta

The home of “things said” by the National Association of Scholars.

Episode #8: The Cultural Heartbeat with Nahma Sandrow

NAS

In this week's edition of Curriculum Vitae, Peter Wood sits down to discuss her career in Yiddish theatre. 

How Diversity Came to Mean 'Downgrade the West'

Are students gaining anything by replacing the universalism of the West with the particularism of diversity?

Update on the State of Western Civilization at Stanford

Stanford Review Editorial Board

Earlier this year the Stanford Review petitioned for a Western Civilization course requirement in the University's core curriculum. Their Editorial Board provides an update on the initiative.

Video Coverage of Common Core Debate at St. Francis College

NAS

St. Francis College recently hosted a debate on the Common Core between NAS President Peter Wood and Manhattan Institute Senior Fellow Sol Stern. Video coverage of the full event is available for viewing.

Building a Community?

Anthony Esolen

Anthony Esolen, Professor of English at Providence College and translator of classic works, discusses how a classical common core promotes intellectual life, communion, and wonder. 

Rise Up, UNC Alumni

George Leef

Alumni should insist that the University of North Carolina do something about its weak general education requirements, writes alum Arch Allen.

From Democritus to Disney: ACTA Charts Academic Devolution of Elite Colleges

Marilee Turscak

The ACTA's examination of America's top-ranked liberal arts colleges reveals a deemphasis on fundamental subjects. 

Carving Out the Core: A Former Homeschooler’s Perspective on the CCSS

Marilee Turscak

How will the inclusion of Core material in standardized tests affect the nation's homeschool population? 

Public Virtue in a Republic: The Starting Point for a Common Core

George Seaver

George Seaver writes that we must practice a common teaching of public virtue if we are to sustain our republic.

Rotten to the Core?

George Leef

A Pope Center report finds UNC-Chapel Hill's general education curriculum stuffed with trendy, politicized courses.

Measuring Core Requirements

Ashley Thorne

The more expensive a college is, the less likely it is to have a strong core curriculum, finds the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA). 

Revise or Reject: The Common Core's Serious Flaws

Sandra Stotsky

NAS board member Sandra Stotsky on why the Common Core State Standards should not be accepted without major changes.

Common Core State Standards: An Overview

William H. Young

William Young begins a new series that examines the Common Core State Standards.

Video: Sandra Stotsky Discusses the Common Core

Crystal Plum

The Pioneer Institute features Dr. Sandra Stotsky, working to reform Common Core Standards.

A Voluntary Core Curriculum Grows at Emory

George Leef

Harvey Klehr writes for the Pope Center on Emory's Democracy and Citizenship program that helps students choose a broad, traditional education.

Core Curricula off the Court

Ashley Chandler

In the midst of March madness, Ashley Chandler finds that six teams in the top 64 represent colleges and universities that provide core curricula.

The Core Conundrum

Peter Wood

Peter Wood takes note of the emerging battle over the legality of the Common Core curriculum.

CUNY History Professor Urges Trustees: Preserve the Traditional Core

David Gordon

David Gordon, history professor and president of the New York Association of Scholars, gave this address on February 21, 2012, to the CUNY Board of Trustees, asking them to maintain the integrity of a sound core curriculum at CUNY.

Students Need Curricular Structure

Oliver Rosenbloom

A student at Brown University argues that too much curricular freedom can cause students to miss out on a well-rounded education.

CUNY’s Pathway to Whatever

Peter Wood

Peter Wood critiques The City University of New York's new "common core" requirements.

How Central is the Core?

Peter Wood

Peter Wood says students and faculty typically win when colleges build their curricula around a “common core,” but that the City University of New York’s common core is an exception.

"If You Can Find a Better Core Curriculum, Buy It!"

George Leef

This week’s Pope Center Clarion Call is by Ed Jones of Belmont Abbey College and it’s about his school’s new (but really old) core curriculum. It stresses the importance of fundamental learning for all students and compared with most other core or general education requirements I’ve seen at other schools, Belmont Abbey’s is hard to beat. But in addition, the faculty at the school work closely with their students; that often isn't the case at bigger, more “prestigious” colleges and universities. With its strong religious orientation, obviously Belmont Abbey is not ideal for everyone, but I think that it shows what other small, private colleges will need to do if they’re going to survive–ensure that students receive an education, not just a credential.

The Core Between the States

Peter Wood

Where did the national movement for a "Common Core" in K-12 education come from, who supports it, and what it will mean for higher education?

Video: Jane Shaw on Great Books

"There are so many faculty members who have rejected all these great writings of the past."

Video: Christian Brady on Penn State's Honors College and New Media

Christian Brady, dean of the honors college at Penn State, interviewed with Inside Academia this week on his leadership role, the difference between an honors college course and a regular course, and the usefulness of new media in higher education.

Betrayed by Higher Ed

David Clemens

My former student Joshua, now ambivalently quartered at UC Santa Cruz (home of the fightin’ Banana Slugs and currently under Federal investigation for systemic anti-Semitism), has an article in Literary Matters about cheating.  Not students cheating; students who feel cheated.  He's found a couple of excellent literature classes (Cervantes) but most just use books as a vector for stone-cold political ideology. When he was at Monterey Peninsula College, Josh was the midwife who helped deliver a great books program to a college that had been out to axe all its literature courses.  In my Intro. to Lit., class he heard me refer to Robert Hutchins’s metaphor for Western literature as a “Great Conversation,” and in Literary Matters he writes

“Within weeks other members of the class and I were meeting on our own time to discuss the Great Books. We read Aristophanes’ Lysistrata. We read Sappho. We felt and spoke as if we had rediscovered some long-forgotten treasure abandoned by the generation before [my emphasis].”

Josh devoured a copy of Hutchins’s The Great Conversation that he found (where else?) in the college library discard pile.  He says, ". . . the students I came into contact with seemed to react as I had. We felt we’d missed out on something essential by not being exposed to these works earlier.” An Iraq War veteran, Josh notes that he was

inspired by The Iliad.  I read the Robert Fagles trans­lation and understood, finally, that this poem was not only about the Trojan War, but also about humanity and warfare. It might have been any war. It might be every war.”

In a similar vein, my current student Lisa says that "Before last semester I had never even read a book entirely. I realized how much I really enjoy it. Reading has opened up a whole new world for me. I am glad I finally got introduced into this world . . . .” That they both say “finally” speaks volumes about K-16 education today.  Thankfully, The Great Conversation lives on, and it's encouraging that more and more students, such as Josh and Lisa, are growing tired of being excluded from the dialogue.

Hard Core

Glenn Ricketts

In the past few weeks, terms like "rigor," "core curriculum" and "traditional humanities courses" have acquired new respectibility following publication of Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa's Academically Adrift, a book which bluntly describes the dismal state of Amercan undergraduate education. There's been a great deal of dismay and hand-wringing in higher education outlets, but surprisingly few outright denials insisting that everything's really OK. 

Lumina's New Degree Profile: As Elusive as the Snark

Peter Wood

Peter Wood questions whether American higher education needs an "outcomes framework," or whether we'd be better equipped with something more like a core curriculum.

Florida Students Petition to Make Mandatory Sustainability Course Optional

Ashley Thorne

Florida Gulf Coast University students say mandated eco-propaganda actually fosters anti-environmentalism.

Making Higher Education Count

Ashley Thorne

How do we know whether American universities are really educating students?

ACTA Launches Guide on College Curricula

Ashley Thorne

Congratulations to our sister organization on creating a new online guide to rank colleges based on the core subjects they require.

Swear It!

Ashley Thorne

Ball State U's new core curriculum wants to turn students into activists.

Supply for Econ 101 Hits the Floor; Could Demand Go Up?

Ashley Thorne

Now is the perfect time for college students to learn economics.

Globalizing Higher Education in the Liberal Arts

Tom Wood

Liberal arts education has been under attack recently in the U.S. as meaningless and irrelevant, but it is gaining a foothold in other countries.

No Maintenance At All: Just Education

Ashley Thorne

The Salem campus of SNHU remembers why we go to college in the first place.

What Ails College Teaching?

Peter Wood

Is it the division of labor between tenured scholars and "teaching specialists"?

Georgia Halts Curricular Overhaul: University System Will Reconsider Protested Core Changes

Ashley Thorne

After 400+ faculty and staff members signed a petition against USG's proposed core curriculum models, the University System of Georgia just announced that it will stop its push to revise the curriculum at 35 state colleges.

Harder Core: UGA Nixes Regional Proposals; Opts for Rigorous Curriculum

Ashley Thorne

Rather than adopt proposals for a curriculum based on globalism and sustainability, the University of Georgia has made changes in favor of more academic rigor.

Getting at the Core

Peter Wood

Georgia may be headed for a new "core" curriculum.