Partner Program Spotlight: Middlebury College Students
Reject ‘Ideological Monoculture’
Middlebury College has developed a notoriously stifling intellectual monoculture. JMC support for partner professor Keegan Callanan is changing that:
Middlebury College in Vermont faces the problem of conflicting reputations. It is widely regarded as one of the 10 best small liberal arts colleges in the nation. And according to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, it is one of the 10 worst colleges for free speech.
How can this exist on a single campus? The answer is all too common in higher education today: an ideological monoculture that stifles intellectual diversity and curiosity. This is antithetical to the kind of classical liberal education the Jack Miller Center supports.
It is also the exact reason JMC was so interested in supporting the work of Professor Keegan Callanan and the Alexander Hamilton Forum at Middlebury. The new partner program, recipient of a $10,000 per year seed grant starting in 2019, focuses on the study of American political thought and the founding principles, and their relationship to American institutions, law, political economy, and foreign policy.
The Forum thrives on intellectual diversity not available elsewhere on campus, a necessity to the serious study and teaching of the American founding.
Students’ reactions have been predictable: welcoming the opportunity to study American history in this academically and intellectually freeing environment, they have jumped at the opportunities the Forum provides. “At Middlebury College, it is virtually impossible to find an event with a speaker that has a viewpoint different than the campus majority—that is, unless you attend a Hamilton Forum event,” says sophomore Clayton H.
Professor Callanan reiterates the point. “Hundreds of students have attended our events, demonstrating both an intellectual hunger for these sorts of serious conversations and a rejection of ideological monoculture.
“With the support of the Jack Miller Center, the Hamilton Forum is working to cultivate habits of reasoned debate and discussion across political and intellectual differences.”
That is the model that JMC partner programs across the nation have built their reputations on.
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