Register Now for NAS’s January 2017 Conference

National Association of Scholars

Registration is now open for our 2017 conference, “Securing Liberty: Rebuilding American Education in an Era of Illiberal Learning.” Join us in Oklahoma City as we partner with the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs and celebrate our 30th anniversary.

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Securing Liberty: Rebuilding American Education in an Era of Illiberal Learning
Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, Advance Center for Free Enterprise
415 NE 13th Street, Oklahoma City, OK 73104

Reception for NAS members: Friday, January 20, 6:00 to 7:30 PM
Conference: Saturday, January 21, 2017, 9:00 AM to 8:30 PM (full schedule below)
Lodging: Embassy Suites, 741 North Phillips Avenue, Oklahoma City, OK. Reserve a room online or call 405-239-3900 and mention the National Association of Scholars.

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner included


NAS Member*


Early Registration (before December 31)



Student Early Registration (before December 31)



Late Registration (after January 1)



Student Late Registration (after January 1)



*NAS members were emailed a discount code. If you are a current member and did not receive the code, please contact Rachelle Peterson at [email protected] or (917) 551-6770. 

Register >

We also encourage attendees to consider becoming a sponsor for the conference. Sponsors at the $500, $1,000, and $2,500 level will receive special recognition on the NAS website and conference program, and other benefits. Download the sponsorship page to learn more about the benefits of each sponsorship level.

Conference Schedule

Friday, January 20, 2017

6:00 - 7:30 PM Reception for NAS members


Saturday, January 21, 2017

8:00 AM Registration and breakfast

9:00 Welcome and opening remarks

Jonathan Small, President, Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs 
Peter Wood, President, National Association of Scholars

9:30 Speed Networking

10:00 Break

10:15 Session 1: Making Citizens
Making Citizens, a new report from the National Association of Scholars, examines the way civics is taught at American colleges and universities. Progressive activism—in the form of service learning, civic engagement, and global citizenship—is displacing instruction in the history and structure of the American regime.

David Randall, Director of Communications, National Association of Scholars
Ashley Thorne, Executive Director, National Association of Scholars
Trent England, Vice President for Strategic Initiatives and David and Ann Brown Distinguished Fellow for the Advancement of Liberty, Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs
Steve Balch, Director of The Institute for the Study of Western Civilization, Texas Tech University

Read Making Citizens: How American Universities Teach Civics >
Read “A Crucible Moment? A Forum on the President’s Call for a New Civics,” Academic Questions, Fall 2012 >

11:45 Break

12:00 PM Lunch. Keynote Address: Rewriting American History
When the College Board rewrote the Advanced Placement U.S. History (APUSH) standards in 2012, many scholars and historians saw it as an attempt to rewrite history. Key figures such as James Madison and founding documents such as the Mayflower Compact had disappeared, replaced instead with a focus on abstract “historical thinking skills.” A group of historians, including Wilfred McClay, pushed back, and the College Board adapted its APUSH standards in light of their criticisms. But the College Board did not address many of the shortcomings in the new APUSH course, and it has subsequently gutted the AP European History course, as detailed in a new NAS study. Where does the battle with the College Board stand today?

Wilfred McClay, G.T. and Libby Blankenship Chair in the History of Liberty at the University of Oklahoma

Read the open letter from historians concerned about AP U.S. History >
Read The Disappearing Continent: A Critique of the Revised AP European History Examination >

2:00 Session 2: Sustainability: Higher Education’s New Fundamentalism
“Sustainability” is a key idea on college campuses in the United States and the rest of the Western world. To many, sustainability is just a new name for environmentalism. But the word has come to mean something much larger: an ideology that demands new limits on economic, political, and intellectual freedom as the price that must be paid to ensure the welfare of future generations. In a 2015 report, NAS provided the first comprehensive, critical account of the sustainability movement in American higher education.

Rachelle Peterson, Director of Research Projects, National Association of Scholars
Peter Wood, President, National Association of Scholars

Read Sustainability: Higher Education’s New Fundamentalism >
Read Inside Divestment: The Illiberal Movement To Turn A Generation Against Fossil Fuels >
Read about the Oklahoma sustainability movement in OCPA’s June 2016 edition of Perspective >

3:30 Break

3:45 Session 3: Racial Discontent and Social Justice
The previous academic year saw outbursts of Black Lives Matter protests on campuses, sit-ins, petitions for more funding for diversity offices, and demands that new faculty hires be members of racial minorities. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court upheld racial preferences in college admissions, and increasing numbers of colleges have pressured faculty members to demonstrate their commitment to “diversity” when in tenure and promotion reviews. But racial preferences demean higher education’s commitment to academic merit, harm students and faculty members who are “mismatched” to their university or brought on for purposes of diversity, and define people primarily by their racial background.

Gail Heriot, Professor of Law, University of San Diego; member, United States Commission on Civil Rights
Roger Clegg, President and General Counsel, Center for Equal Opportunity

Read Gail Heriot’s report, A "Dubious Expediency": How Race-Preferential Admissions Policies on Campus Hurt Minority Students >
Read Roger Clegg’s Forbes article with Joshua Thompson on how racial preferences make campus race relations worse >
Read Roger Clegg’s testimony before the U.S. Civil Rights Commission regarding minority access to higher education >

5:15 Break

5:30 Break-out sessions

Beach Books: What Do Colleges and Universities Want Students to Read Outside Class?
Hundreds of American colleges and universities assign a summer reading to entering freshmen—usually one book, which the students are asked to read outside their courses. For many students, this is the only book they will read in common with their classmates. Colleges rarely assign classic texts: the common reading genre is contemporary, commercial, juvenile, and progressive.

David Randall, Director of Communications, National Association of Scholars
Ashley Thorne, Executive Director, National Association of Scholars
Thomas K. Lindsay, Director of the Center for Higher Education, Texas Public Policy Foundation

Read Beach Books 2014-2016: What Do Colleges and Universities Want Students to Read Outside Class?

Gender and Title IX
Campus “rape culture” and the push to affirm special rights for transgendered individuals have been much in the news, largely thanks to the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR). OCR, wielding Title IX of the Higher Education Act and the threat of withholding federal student aid, has pressured colleges to lower the standard of evidence needed to convict individuals accused of sexual assault; to expand dramatically the definition of sexual harassment; to eviscerate due process for the accused; and to invent the new category of transgendered rights in a novel extension of Title IX.

Gail Heriot, Professor of Law, University of San Diego; member, United States Commission on Civil Rights
Everett Piper, President, Oklahoma Wesleyan University 

Read Gail Heriot's article, "Will the Supreme Court Rein in the Department of Education’s Transgender Locker-Room Edict?" >  
Read Gail Heriot’s article with Alison Somin, “Affirmative Action for Men?” >
Read Everett Piper's article, "Why We're Suing the Obama Administration Over Title IX" >

6:30 Reception

7:00 Dinner and Keynote Address: "The Declaration of Independence, the First Amendment to the Constitution, and the American University” 

Paul Rahe, Charles O. Lee and Louise K. Lee Chair in the Western Heritage, Hillsdale College

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Image: “Pull the rabbit back through the loop” by xroper7, CC BY-NC 2.0.

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