Countering the left’s stranglehold on higher education

When veterans of the Clinton administration went into academia, a number of them were shocked to find that despite their impeccable liberal politics, their new university colleagues considered them unacceptably right wing! On many campuses the faculty has more Marxists than Republicans. This has long been known, but some recent studies are documenting the extent to which our nation’s campuses have a hard-left bias and discriminate against conservatives. Read this from Robert Maranto, who is publishing a book on the subject. Excerpts from his findings:

Daniel Klein of George Mason University and Charlotta Stern of Stockholm University looked at all the reliable published studies of professors’ political and ideological attachments. They found that conservatives and libertarians are outnumbered by liberals and Marxists by roughly two to one in economics, more than five to one in political science, and by 20 to one or more in anthropology and sociology.

In a quantitative analysis of a large-scale student survey, Matthew Woessner of Penn State-Harrisburg and April Kelly-Woessner of Elizabethtown College found strong statistical evidence that talented conservative undergraduates in the humanities, social sciences and sciences are less likely to pursue a PhD than their liberal peers, in part for personal reasons, but also in part because they are offered fewer opportunities to do research with their professors. (Interestingly, this does not hold for highly applied areas such as nursing or computer science.)

Further, academic job markets seem to discriminate against socially conservative PhDs. Stanley Rothman of Smith College and S. Robert Lichter of George Mason University find strong statistical evidence that these academics must publish more books and articles to get the same jobs as their liberal peers. Among professors who have published a book, 73 percent of Democrats are in high-prestige colleges and universities, compared with only 56 percent of Republicans.
. . . . . . . . .
Unfortunately, subtle biases in how conservative students and professors are treated in the classroom and in the job market have very unsubtle effects on the ideological makeup of the professoriate. The resulting lack of intellectual diversity harms academia by limiting the questions academics ask, the phenomena we study, and ultimately the conclusions we reach.

I am provost at Patrick Henry Collegewhere we are countering that anti-intellectual silliness and keeping our civilization’s educational heritage alive. We are giving the best and the brightest of conservative, Christian young people an Ivy-League caliber of education (referring back when the Ivy League was at its height). Our students have some of the highest SAT scores anywhere and we are equipping them with a rigorous classical Christian liberal arts education, full of the great books and the great ideas, coupled with specialties in culture-shaping fields, featuring an apprenticeship methodology with some of the best internships in the nation.

And though we might be accused of bias in the other direction, I would put the quality of our class discussions, including the consideration of alternative viewpoints, to be far above what goes on in the typical leftwing classroom.

We are a young school, having been founded in 2000, and we are small, with just over 300 hand-selected students. We should be at least ten times bigger than we are. But we are pretty much at capacity in our existing facilities. Since we don’t take government funds and refuse to go into debt, we have to raise the money before we can build the classrooms and dormitories that we need.

We have some amazingly generous donors, but we should have 100 times the number of financial supporters than we do now. Many people of means are pouring money into institutions whose faculty members would, if they had their dream, line them up against the wall as bourgeois capitalists and consign them to a revolutionary firing squad. They would do far better to pour money into Patrick Henry College!

If any of you are thinking of making an end-of-the-year charitable contribution or would like to support us in an on-going way, go here and here.

OK, end of fund-raising appeal. I’ll try not to do that very often. But reading about the state of higher education in this country made me convinced all the more of the importance of what we are doing at Patrick Henry College.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

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  • Carl Vehse

    One only has to read a few issues of AAAS’s Science, ACS’s C&E News, APS’s Physics Today, or check out the Phys-L or PhySoc internet listgroups to see examples of editorials, ‘news’ articles, or postings propagandizing for the leftist shibboleths of anthropic global warming, nuclear disarmament, and embryonic stem cell research.

  • Carl Vehse

    One only has to read a few issues of AAAS’s Science, ACS’s C&E News, APS’s Physics Today, or check out the Phys-L or PhySoc internet listgroups to see examples of editorials, ‘news’ articles, or postings propagandizing for the leftist shibboleths of anthropic global warming, nuclear disarmament, and embryonic stem cell research.

  • http://www.shempel.blogspot.com Sarah in Maryland

    As a graduate from Hillsdale College I can really appreciate the learning that happens at a conservative college. Of course, it is hard to find a balance and Hillsdale surely doesn’t have the diversity of thought that it ought, but we all got a top-quality education there! Right now, I am doing graduate work at a college in Maryland. I am shocked to find out that my fellow students in the humanities are unaquainted with the Bible, the works of Homer and Virgil, and pretty much anything else written by “dead white men.” They struggle to understand Western art because they don’t have a background in the cornerstones of Western Culture.

    I know that I harp on this every time you bring up PCH, but I think that it is really a poverty that there isn’t anything in the way of visual arts at the school. If Christians and conservatives are the least bit interested in changing culture, the visual arts are indispensible.

    I got a fantastic arts education at Hillsdale, not only because of the fabulous professors in the art department, but because my art training was seen as a part of an overall classical education. The two work hand in hand perfectly!

  • http://www.shempel.blogspot.com Sarah in Maryland

    As a graduate from Hillsdale College I can really appreciate the learning that happens at a conservative college. Of course, it is hard to find a balance and Hillsdale surely doesn’t have the diversity of thought that it ought, but we all got a top-quality education there! Right now, I am doing graduate work at a college in Maryland. I am shocked to find out that my fellow students in the humanities are unaquainted with the Bible, the works of Homer and Virgil, and pretty much anything else written by “dead white men.” They struggle to understand Western art because they don’t have a background in the cornerstones of Western Culture.

    I know that I harp on this every time you bring up PCH, but I think that it is really a poverty that there isn’t anything in the way of visual arts at the school. If Christians and conservatives are the least bit interested in changing culture, the visual arts are indispensible.

    I got a fantastic arts education at Hillsdale, not only because of the fabulous professors in the art department, but because my art training was seen as a part of an overall classical education. The two work hand in hand perfectly!

  • Phil

    Perhaps those academics on the Left ought to institute some kind of affirmative action where admissions quotas would require the colleges to admit proportionate numbers of the underrepresented conservatives and libertarians. It’d only be consistent, right?

  • Phil

    Perhaps those academics on the Left ought to institute some kind of affirmative action where admissions quotas would require the colleges to admit proportionate numbers of the underrepresented conservatives and libertarians. It’d only be consistent, right?

  • http://geekspaces.net Jason Evans

    Speaking of the left and the university, Dr Veith what are your thoughts on the University of Delaware re-education program?

    http://tinyurl.com/2ebxs6

  • http://geekspaces.net Jason Evans

    Speaking of the left and the university, Dr Veith what are your thoughts on the University of Delaware re-education program?

    http://tinyurl.com/2ebxs6

  • Don S

    Amen, Dr. Veith! We have invested our treasure in PHC since its founding in 2000, and have never regretted one dime that we have given to this more than worthy institution, its dedicated leadership, and its magnificent cause. More recently we invested in an even more personal way, by sending our child to be educated at PHC. She is having a wonderful time learning and being mentored by a matchless Christian, conservative, dedicated, impeccably qualified faculty. We highly recommend PHC for consideration by anyone looking to make an investment that counts for Christ and offers hope for raising up young conservative leadership for our country.

    And, Sarah in Maryland, your point about the visual arts is well taken. We have also taken up the cause, when we have occasion to speak with school leadership, for the harder sciences, such as biology, chemistry, etc., as we truly do need to raise up a generation of Christian scientists who can provide balance and Christian perspective on issues like evolution and global warming. The problem, as Dr. Veith mentioned, is funding. Adding majors is expensive, particularly the sciences and visual arts, as they require extensive facilities and equipment. School leadership has expressed a commitment to expanding curriculum offerings and funding allows. All the more reason to dig deeply to support PHC and its mission.

  • Don S

    Amen, Dr. Veith! We have invested our treasure in PHC since its founding in 2000, and have never regretted one dime that we have given to this more than worthy institution, its dedicated leadership, and its magnificent cause. More recently we invested in an even more personal way, by sending our child to be educated at PHC. She is having a wonderful time learning and being mentored by a matchless Christian, conservative, dedicated, impeccably qualified faculty. We highly recommend PHC for consideration by anyone looking to make an investment that counts for Christ and offers hope for raising up young conservative leadership for our country.

    And, Sarah in Maryland, your point about the visual arts is well taken. We have also taken up the cause, when we have occasion to speak with school leadership, for the harder sciences, such as biology, chemistry, etc., as we truly do need to raise up a generation of Christian scientists who can provide balance and Christian perspective on issues like evolution and global warming. The problem, as Dr. Veith mentioned, is funding. Adding majors is expensive, particularly the sciences and visual arts, as they require extensive facilities and equipment. School leadership has expressed a commitment to expanding curriculum offerings and funding allows. All the more reason to dig deeply to support PHC and its mission.

  • Bror Erickson

    There is somethng to be said for small colleges, and universities. I went and visited the campus of Concordia Irvine today, where I graduated 7 years ago. It was smaller when I went there. Great school even today. Rand in to my old Bio prof. Rod Soper. He didn’t have to search for names. We talked for three hours even reminisced about the couple times we ditched classes to go quail hunting together. Well I ditched, not sure how he worked that out. Those days were the best days of bio instruction I ever received. nothing like watching your bio prof. handle a rattle snake in the field.
    He says those things don’t happen much anymore now that the school is bigger. But it is still a good school and they have a visual arts department.

  • Bror Erickson

    There is somethng to be said for small colleges, and universities. I went and visited the campus of Concordia Irvine today, where I graduated 7 years ago. It was smaller when I went there. Great school even today. Rand in to my old Bio prof. Rod Soper. He didn’t have to search for names. We talked for three hours even reminisced about the couple times we ditched classes to go quail hunting together. Well I ditched, not sure how he worked that out. Those days were the best days of bio instruction I ever received. nothing like watching your bio prof. handle a rattle snake in the field.
    He says those things don’t happen much anymore now that the school is bigger. But it is still a good school and they have a visual arts department.

  • http://faultlineusa.blogspot.com/ Faultline USA

    Thank you for sharing the truth about the left’s stranglehold on today’s college campuses. That was a thought-provoking article. We are looking for Christian writers just like you and would like to feature this article on our blog. Consider joining the Christians Against Leftist Heresy blogroll at http://christiansagainstleftistheresy.blogspot.com/

  • http://faultlineusa.blogspot.com/ Faultline USA

    Thank you for sharing the truth about the left’s stranglehold on today’s college campuses. That was a thought-provoking article. We are looking for Christian writers just like you and would like to feature this article on our blog. Consider joining the Christians Against Leftist Heresy blogroll at http://christiansagainstleftistheresy.blogspot.com/

  • http://www.geneveith.com Veith

    Feel free, Faultline. Sarah, one of my goals is indeed to do more with the arts and aesthetics at PHC. It will happen, though we can’t grow our programs much until we grow our facilities.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Veith

    Feel free, Faultline. Sarah, one of my goals is indeed to do more with the arts and aesthetics at PHC. It will happen, though we can’t grow our programs much until we grow our facilities.

  • http://castingoutnines.wordpress.com Robert Talbert

    Dr. Veith, I’ve been impressed and kind of fascinated by PHC since its inception and have followed its story from the very first year of operation. As a college prof who is slowly losing his faith in American higher education, PHC seems like a real breath of fresh air and a reason for hope.

    But in addition to the lack of visual arts at the college — so surprising given the quality of that short film done my PHC students which you posted recently — I’m also quite surprised that PHC doesn’t do more with mathematics. There are only two math courses offered by PHC — College Algebra/Trig and Euclidean Geometry. I understand that PHC is small and still pretty new, and there’s not much call for calculus and so forth. But where for example are the statistics course(s) for people majoring in history, journalism, or government? What about calculus for those taking physics? Math is at the heart of a modern understanding of many academic disciplines, and I would think a graduate without some quantitative training would be at a real disadvantage. Also, smart kids like the ones PHC attracts tend to like math, don’t they?

    Is there a specific reason why there are so few math courses?

  • http://castingoutnines.wordpress.com Robert Talbert

    Dr. Veith, I’ve been impressed and kind of fascinated by PHC since its inception and have followed its story from the very first year of operation. As a college prof who is slowly losing his faith in American higher education, PHC seems like a real breath of fresh air and a reason for hope.

    But in addition to the lack of visual arts at the college — so surprising given the quality of that short film done my PHC students which you posted recently — I’m also quite surprised that PHC doesn’t do more with mathematics. There are only two math courses offered by PHC — College Algebra/Trig and Euclidean Geometry. I understand that PHC is small and still pretty new, and there’s not much call for calculus and so forth. But where for example are the statistics course(s) for people majoring in history, journalism, or government? What about calculus for those taking physics? Math is at the heart of a modern understanding of many academic disciplines, and I would think a graduate without some quantitative training would be at a real disadvantage. Also, smart kids like the ones PHC attracts tend to like math, don’t they?

    Is there a specific reason why there are so few math courses?

  • http://www.geneveith.com Veith

    Robert, give us a chance. We now have a faculty member who is a major scientist and a statistician. I agree that mathematics constituted over half of the classical liberal arts (the quadrivium). We are going to be enhancing our curriculum with the arts. Right now, we do concentrate on the humanities, but we have a 75 credit core curriculum! And it’s a true core, not a smorgasbord of choices. That doesn’t leave us much room in the curriculum. But we are going to study the possibilities. Again, our ability to offer more majors and programs has to wait until we build more facilities so that we have room. But lots of things are happening.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Veith

    Robert, give us a chance. We now have a faculty member who is a major scientist and a statistician. I agree that mathematics constituted over half of the classical liberal arts (the quadrivium). We are going to be enhancing our curriculum with the arts. Right now, we do concentrate on the humanities, but we have a 75 credit core curriculum! And it’s a true core, not a smorgasbord of choices. That doesn’t leave us much room in the curriculum. But we are going to study the possibilities. Again, our ability to offer more majors and programs has to wait until we build more facilities so that we have room. But lots of things are happening.


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