Choosing the right college carefully

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

Up until now, we have resisted setting down on paper Accuracy in Academia’s recommended colleges. Although we have answered specific inquiries, we remained hesitant about producing a top ten list.

Mainly, when we look into these schools we find that, too often, their glory days are part of their storied past. Three schools that come to mind: Sewanee, Washington & Lee and Mary Washington have all lurched toward political correctness by paying the usual price of trading in a tradition and a reputation based on academic excellence.

The change usually starts with something seemingly superficial, then moves inward. The former University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, for example, moved to distance itself, in its official designation, from the region that it is in and is now known as Sewanee: The University of the South.

There are a few tips that we would like to pass on:

  • Avoid any school that makes the U. S. News & World Report annual rankings. These have become something of an inside joke among serious academics who watch with amusement as their college presidents attempt to spend their way onto the list most coveted by the educational establishment.
  • Be wary of schools listed in databases such as AIA’s or those of and the extremely valuable Students for Academic Freedom Abuse Center. By the way, you might notice a remarkable overlap between the schools featured in our horror stories and the colleges and universities in the U. S. News Winners Circle.
  • Avoid schools that receive federal, state or local government funding, although truly private colleges are hard to find. When you add government regulations to an already p.c. system, you have a truly lethal combination. That is why we get so many great stories out of the University of California.
  • If you want to go to a religious school, look at the newer ones if you are seeking a more traditional institution of higher learning. For example, while recently minted Catholic colleges often have daily Mass, and frequently in Latin, the oldest established universities that advertise their religious origins just as routinely stage annual productions of “The Vagina Monologues” on Valentines Day, particularly those run by the Jesuits. (It apparently escapes the notice of these school fathers that we call this observance what we do because it is the feast day of St. Valentine.) Since virtually declaring their independence from the Vatican in the 1960s, Notre Dame and company have been outdoing themselves in attempting to emulate their secular counterparts.
  • Put any school that the American Association of University Professors censures on your short list to consider. This will also give you a good data base of religious schools since they are the AAUP’s biggest target. As I show in a study that I recently completed for the Capital Research Center, to a large degree, the AAUP has become the AAPC.

That said, here are some colleges and universities that are worth a look:

  • Troy State University in Troy, Alabama—a state school which may have the highest proportion of retired military officers on its faculty of any college or university in the country this side of West Point. Generations have received a bargain of an education on its campus which has served them well in all walks of life.
  • The Catholic University of America in Washington, D. C.—although one of the aforementioned oldest established Jesuit schools, this one is the only university in North America chartered by the Vatican. Thus, at CUA, when Catholic tradition collides with current wisdom, the former usually wins.