It is increasingly obvious that the university system is in trouble.
We see grade inflation and massive price increases (even though most courses are taught not by the big names who give the university its prestige but by ill-paid adjuncts).
And what do students get? A course in how crummy Western Civ is. As John Leo of Minding the Campus notes in this morning's Wall Street Journal:
The essence of the humanities has thus been transformed into the study of victim groups and their supposed oppressors—capitalism, colonialism, religious belief, “privilege”—at the expense of other subjects. Relatedly, the demand for “diversity” now drives the curriculum, not to mention the admissions process.
Universities are so permeated with this stylist ideology that some professors resort to "progressive stacking"–women and other minorities are called on first.
Now comes Warren Treadgold with a new book, The University We Need.
Treadgold argues that the problem with the current university system is terminal.
In his review of Treadgold'sbook this morning, Leo reports that the author suggests an alternative: a new private university.
A lot of rich people, Treadgold argues, are around to do what Leland Stanford did in the 1880s: found a new, private university. Treadgold believes that $1 billion would trigger the other contributions necessary to start a new university.
Treadgold suggests that the new university would not be "explicitly right-wing" but would reflect a broad spectrum of thinking.
He believes that, if the seed money could be raised, a planning committee could begin by coming up with a list of a thousand good scholars who might be willing to join such an enterprise.
But they'd better hurry:
The new university would just try to be the best in the nation—offering a substantial curriculum untainted by mandatory leftism. But Mr. Treadgold thinks the time is short—in 20 years or so, he says, it may be difficult or impossible to find 1,000 first-rate scholars in the U.S. At the moment, founding a new university may seem like a fantasy. But if things get worse—and they will—it may well come to look like the only obvious option.
IWF is planning an important panel for September to address the question of whether a college degree is worth what it costs and to explore some alternatives. Stay tuned for the details.