('76 Editor) Particularly a college such as CCU, devoted to the same biblical truths and principles as most of our Founders? Centennial Institute asked for advice on teaching our country's history to college students, from a dozen of the most thoughtful Christian conservatives in America today. Their recommendations on the most important ideas to be taught, and the best books to help do that, add up to a rich intellectual feast. Our Centennial Institute report, "How Should an American College Teach American History?", contains a summary in the survey respondents' own words. Respondents included David Barton of Wallbuilders, Morton Blackwell of the Leadership Institute, J. Budziszewski and Rob Koons of the University of Texas, Kenneth Cribb of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, Alan Crippen of the John Jay Institute, Michael Farris of Patrick Henry College, Douglas Groothuis of Denver Seminary, author Peter Marshall, Marvin Olasky of The King’s College and World magazine, Paul Prentice of the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs; and Lawrence Reed of the Foundation for Economic Education.
Here is a link to the report: centennial - teaching history.doc (76.50 kb)
We look forward to your comments on the report. While it's true, as I often remind patriotic friends, that America isn't specially anointed in the Bible, Lincoln was right when he suggested our moral and spiritual heritage confers upon us special opportunities and obligations as an "almost-chosen people." Colorado Christian University, along with any Christian college and for that matter any intellectually honest college, must strive to convey these objective realities to all its students. CCU's newly revised curriculum is a response to the challenge. It took effect last fall, as explained here: ccu curriculum revision nov08.doc (159.00 kb)
('76 Editor) Student conservative leaders from three colleges told a Centennial Institute forum last night that they sense growing receptivity among their generation for a right-trending political mood of self-reliance and limited government.
Issue Monday, our regular monthly series resuming in 2010, packed a CCU Business School classroom with an audience ranging from teens to senior citizens. Also present were two congressional candidates and a recent CCU graduate who is running for State House.
I served as moderator for the 90-minute session (linked here as a podcast) where Sean Doherty, Jimmy Sengenberger, and Megan Brophy related their political experiences, quizzed each other about lessons learned, and took questions from the audience.
Brophy, the daughter of Colorado State Sen. Greg Brophy, said her College Republicans chapter wants to tap CCU's potential to "become the Hillsdale of the West." Sengenberger, a regular contributor on this blog, told how his weekly Internet radio show helps him warn fellow students that "politics affects everything you hope to do or be." Doherty, who started a constitutional-themed newspaper on his campus -- which administrators tagged "extremist" -- drew on his marketing studies to recommend a "listen to the customer" approach for political outreach.
Click for the "Seng Center" online talk show hosted by Jimmy Sengenberger. Click for the Constitutional Reporter paper edited by Sean Doherty.
From right: Sean Doherty of Metropolitan State College, Jimmy Sengenberger of Regis College, Megan Brophy of Colorado Christian University.
Last Sunday in the New York Times, Patricia Cohen discussed the liberal bias that exists in academia, especially among the social sciences. Specifically, Cohen considers a new explanation being put forth by social scientists Neil Gross and Ethan Fosse that suggests that the professor moniker carries similar pre-conceived notions, similar to how many think of the field of nursing or elementary teacher. The difference being, while most consider nursing and teaching to be feminine, the pursuit of professorship is inherently liberal. They term this phenomena “typecasting”, where because of certain “stereotypes” about professors, many would self-exclude themselves from the pursuit of advanced degrees in certain fields. So, just as many consider nursing to be a “women’s profession,” Gross and Fosse conclude that many consider academia to be a liberal’s profession.
What the authors describe may in fact reflect the attitude of many young people. What needs to be emphasized, however, is that the attitudes of young people about academia are true. They reflect a self fulfilling prophesy created by those who dominate the academy. In other words, we associate professors in the academy with liberalism because they are!!
My personal experience, while only anecdotal, is telling of the field of political science. Pursuit of an advanced degree in political science requires one to select a sub-field of specialization. In the past 50 years, a new subfield has been added to the list of options which once included American government, international relations and political theory. This new subfield is public policy.
The purpose of scholarship in this area is based on the idea that if crafters of public policy would approach their task in a more scientific and professional manner, government will be far more effective at solving problems. Of course, there is no argument that greater professionalism is a good thing.
The problem is the underlying premise behind this sub-field: government (especially the federal government) is the primary means of problem solving. The very existence of the subfield is based on the belief that societal problems demand a federal government solution. Any initiation of a conservative viewpoint (favoring private initiative, state and local governments and only as a last resort, the federal government), is largely ignored if not completely dismissed by most scholars in the field. By definition and design, the field of public policy is a liberal one in that it assumes that government is the essential actor in solving problems.
Gross and Fosse suggest that a liberal is drawn toward academia and the professorial life in the social sciences. What they are failing to give enough credit to is the fact that those who dictate admission and progression in the field have eliminated the conservative perspective.
One point of agreement: in the closing paragraph, Mr. Gross is quoted: “The irony is that the more conservatives complain about academia’s liberalism, the more likely it’s going to remain a bastion of liberalism.” The academy was not always dominated by liberals nor does it always need to be. While it is certainly not any easy proposition, conservatives must find ways to enter and engage the academic world. There is no chance of change happening overnight. Over time, it is possible for conservatives to slowly whittle away and begin the process of shifting the ideological direction.
Three of Colorado Christian University’s Strategic Objectives speak directly to this mission:
• Impact our culture in support of traditional family values, sanctity of life, compassion for the poor, Biblical view of human nature, limited government, personal freedom, free markets, natural law, original intent of the Constitution and Western civilization;
• Be seekers of truth;
• Debunk "spent ideas" and those who traffic in them;
Conservative Christians must take up this cause.
('76 Editor) What's the practical meaning of Centennial Institute's goals about teaching citizenship, renewing the spirit of 1776, advocating for faith, family, and freedom? The Centennial Program Board, a new group that held its second monthly meeting on Jan. 19, helps me tackle those questions.
The board is made up of CCU students from all four classes -- including Lawson Cheek and Natasha Starceski ('10), Joni Mitchell ('11), JT Weinroth ('12), and Drew Goorabian ('13) -- plus faculty members Bill Saxby, Chuck King, and Greg Schaller along with retired pastor Jerry Nelson and businessman Kevin Miller and Wil Armstrong. Several of the latter are also Centennial Institute Fellows.
Got a suggestion for the Centennial Program Board in their advisory role with me, Director John Andrews? Email your thoughts to email@example.com.
There's a case of Founding Father forgetfulness creeping through the GOP. Sarah Palin recently showed the extent of the infection. But it seems Colorado is not immune, and may be in desperate need of the vaccine.
In a recent interview with Glenn Beck, Palin was asked to name her favorite Founding Father. While visibly scrounging through her mind's historical file cabinet, she bought some time by declaring, “Well, all of them.” Beck fired back: “Bull crap.” Like a young paralegal, she continued to search her files, eventually producing a name: “Of course, George Washington.” The light bulb above her head was almost blinding, the relief in her face embarrassing.
But while Palin's latest hiccup may cause our historical hearts to murmur, she is not alone in her post-antiquity amnesia. In fact, Palin resembles some Republicans in Colorado.
In November, CCU hosted a debate between the top four Republican candidates for Colorado's upcoming U.S. Senate seat (Ken Buck, Jane Norton, Cleve Tidwell, and Tow Wiens). After the questions about health care and national security came a lighthearted question by moderator John Andrews. The query went something like this: “Tell us what President of the United States you would like to travel back in time and have dinner with?”
While one could not expect the Continental Congress to dominate the dinner table, one could at least expect names such as Washington, Adams, or Jefferson to garner an invite. But according to our potential senators, such patriots would go hungry at their dinner party. Instead, Teddy Roosevelt would have to shuffle his schedule, as most picked him for Andrews's imaginary dinner date.
To be clear, Teddy is not a bad choice. But at a debate where the themes of “fixing Washington” and “getting back to our roots” permeated the discussion, one could not help but note the absence of those who got it right in the first place. And in a national conversation dominated by partisan politics, are we asking too much when we ask our leaders to name a favorite statesman from an era when statesmanship, not rhetoric, brought true hope and change?
So what is the cure? I can't say for sure. But the medicine must contain a steady concoction of history, civic duty, and respect. Historians such as David McCullough, with his book John Adams, could offer the perfect prescription. But it's up to our leaders to fill those prescriptions. Otherwise, we may end up with a group of civic servants who no longer esteem those who have created this democracy. Or worse, who just can't remember.
New Year, New Day, New Time: Centennial Institute moves its monthly issue forum to a more convenient day and time. Join us for Issue Monday * January 25 * 7:00pm * CCU in Lakewood * School of Business 102. CONSERVATIVES ON CAMPUS 2010 A Student Panel from Three Colleges * Jimmy Sengenberger, Regis University* Sean Doherty, Metropolitan State College* Megan Brophy, Colorado Christian University Sengenberger does an Internet radio show on his campus. Doherty started a student newspaper on his. Brophy organized a College Republicans chapter on hers. Many on those and other campuses are doing likewise. Come and hear the untold story - learn how you can help. Are campus attitudes changing after a year of Obama?How can right-minded students make a difference, even when outnumbered?How can off-campus supporters do their part?Why should students make time for political involvement? No charge, all are welcome, but reservations are requiredRSVP with name & number in your party to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 303.963.3424
Colorado Christian University is committed to developing the next generation of leaders. One of the Strategic Objectives of the school is "To impact our culture in support of traditional family values, sanctity of life, compassion for the poor, Biblical view of human nature, limited government, personal freedom, free markets, natural law, original intent of the Constitution and Western civilization."
As a means of furthering this objective, from January 4-8, eight students participated in a winter session class devoted to learning more about state and local government. A major portion of the class was dedicated to guest speakers, some of whom came to the Lakewood campus. The class also spent two days at the Colorado State Capitol. The guest speakers afforded the students a unique opportunity to hear from and question leading state officials. Listed below are the speakers who addressed the class, as well as the topics discussed.
Attorney General John SuthersTopic: Role of the Attorney General, current issues facing the state including the potential suit against the federal healthcare initiative
State Representative Glenn VaadTopic: Discussion on theories of representation, discussion on legislation being proposed in the current session concerning privatization of state maximum security prisons
State Senator Mike KoppTopic: Legislative procedures. Mock legislative session: how senate committees work on bills
State Supreme Court Justice Allison EidTopic: Role of the court, court administration, judicial philosophy, rules of Colorado courts: appointment and retention elections
State Representative Amy StephensTopic: Running for office, work of state legislators, role of faith in legislative duties
Colorado Appellate Court Judge Dennis GrahamTopic: History of Colorado’s judiciary, discussion of court procedures
John Andrews, Centennial Institute Director; former President of the Colorado SenateTopic: running for office, importance of serving, significance of state government, importance of states reasserting their Constitutional authority.
Mark Barrington: Candidate for Colorado State Representative, 26th DistrictTopic: Process of running for state office
Matt Arnold: Director of Clear the Bench ColoradoTopic: problem of judicial activism, process of removing state judges through retention elections,
Jeff Crank: Director of Americans for Prosperity: Colorado & talk radio hostTopic: becoming active in the political process & the work of Americans for Prosperity
(Another in our series by CCU students on big lessons of college) We learn more by seeking the answer to a question and not finding it than we do from finding the answer itself. There are many people in our society, young adults especially, that are seeking their true purpose; living off the energy of grand ambitions and the thirsty desire to succeed. I know I am one of many individuals traveling somewhat blindly through life, wondering where my destination lies. It was not until inspired by this blog topic, ‘what are the most important things I have learned in college’, did I put the brakes on life and stop to think, what have I learned from my experiences as a college student? I have always been traveling on a rocky road at full speed ahead, but through this short journey through college, I have found the rearview mirror to be an indispensable means to feel both progress from the miles passed, and enthusiasm for the mileage still ahead.
(1) The first thing I have learned from my experience(s) from college life is the irrefutable value of a well-rounded education. Though tuition for the university system is at an all-time high, no such value could ever be placed on how important it is for me personally to receive not only a quality education, but one that is also furnished with the teachings and challenges that affect my everyday life. College (CCU) has provided me with so much more than facts, theories, and strategies; and those teachings that I have obtained range from and beyond the realms of my spirituality, my day-to-day attitude and behavior, and my unwavering commitment to follow the will of God and my biggest dreams.
(2) In addition to the value of education, I have also learned the true value and necessity for quality relationships. In life there is hardly anything as difficult as going it alone; having someone to lean on can make even the bitterest of life’s blows tolerable. Positive and uplifting relationships have inspired my growth both as a student and Christian during my undergraduate studies and will continue to do so as I weave and wander through life.
(3) Thirdly, I have realized the advantages of being more open-minded and open-hearted toward different opinions, ideas, and people. The vast arenas of learning and various relationships are immeasurable and should never be hindered by differences or judgment. I think being open-minded has often been viewed as being indecisive. But even the appearance of being relatively close-minded shuts down discussion, limits the number of concepts that are generated and considered and almost always results in a less than optimal decisions or results. As counter-cultural as being more open-minded may be perceived, this is one area where I will choose to swim against the current every time.
(4) And last but not least of my biggest college revelations, I have tasted and seen that the Lord is good! The sovereign God that has blessed me with the gift of life has also endowed me with the gift of love; a passionate love of learning and unconditional love for Him who so created us to view our world with wonder. May all the praise and glory be to Him!
(CCU Student) When asked to write on big things that college has taught me, I contemplated what I was going to write on. I thought about everything that has happened to me in the past three months, which entails many successes and heartbreaks simultaneously. In the end, I was reverted to the three themes from our University’s symposium: Family, Faith, and Freedom. I concluded that those three elements are vital to my everyday life and have taught me more than any textbook ever can.
Family. For a college freshman like myself, many students choose their college to either get away from or stay close to their family. It is often times a very impacting factor in the college decision process, as it was for me. Personally, I flew 2,000 miles to come here for college to attain self-reliance and independence. I have been reminded numerous times that this is indeed a mixed blessing; and while I have flourished in my new environment and taken advantage of my new freedoms, at the end of the day, I find myself phoning home to keep in touch with my parents. I’ve been taught that family is something that is irreplaceable and unique, something that through the thick and thin lasts for a lifetime.
Faith. This is a concept that I have grappled with for the past three months, but always found myself at rest when placing my life in Jesus Christ. Coming to Christian college, you expect to reach your fullest potential spiritually, as you are provided two chapels a week, Bible class, and Sunday morning church. But in my case, I became so involved and overwhelmed that I became numb to God for a period of time. I woke up one day and realized that I had forgotten which order my priorities truly belonged in. From there, it hasn’t always been smooth sailing, but I have realized that placing my complete life in God’s hands is the best way to live an effective life on earth.
Freedom. For eighteen years, I have never valued my freedom as extensively as I do now days. Never in my life did I imagine the government taking control of the banking, automobile, and healthcare industries. Who is to say within the next year that they won’t be telling me which football team I can cheer for? I am beginning to realize that I need to stop taking even the simplest of civil liberties for granted; and to trust that God has a plan through all of this.
College is nothing like I had ever imagined; is both good and bad ways concurrently. I have been blessed with people placed in my life who have guided me for these past three months and mentored me into a Godly young adult. I have also learned the hardships of self-management, which prove to seldom provide time to sit in silence and listen to what God has in store for me. When these times become tough, and things appear to be crumbling, I always look to Isaiah 43:19, which states: See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.
Drew Goorabian is a CCU freshman from Clovis, California, and a member of the Centennial Institute Program Board.
(CCU Student) The general concept of attending college originally was presented to me in high school as a way to spend an exuberant amount of money in order to obtain a degree and practical life skills, all of this in order to potentially obtain a job sometime in the future. When it came down to choosing what college to attend after high school, I had good enough grades to where I could reasonably get into just about any college short of an Ivy League school. While I am not trying to downplay the importance of a good education, I wanted a college that was going to teach me more than just how to make money or be successful in an office setting. I wanted to nurture my faith and become a better man of God. Because I made the choice to go to CCU, I learned three important lessons that I learned not necessarily in the classroom, but through the people and social environment God has placed around me The first of these is that my education at CCU (or anywhere for that matter) is going to be what I make it out to be. I feel like anytime I talk to a graduating senior, their advice to me is that even though I can go to class just to get a good grade, the more I put into my education the more I will get out of it. I see this idea as a parallel of my spiritual life. God can provide me with the best church, friends, and environment, but when it comes down to it, I will get a lot more out of my relationship with Christ if I am willing to make it a priority and put more into it. Likewise, I can be getting the best education in the world but if I am not learning and growing as a man in Christ or if I am just attending class to make a good grade, it is going to be harder for me when I get out of school. However, if I am involved in a good church and am actively participating in a good Christian environment, then it will likely be easier for me to maintain my faith. While at the same time if I am presented with the best education and good job opportunities it will be easier for me to be successful. The second lesson I already knew to an extent, but grew to solidify and establish within my own life. I learned that I want to live life with God as my here and now reality, and not as some distant inference or philosophical ideal. While I believe I maintained a healthy relationship with Christ prior coming to college, I, like many Christians today, lived more through Biblical legalism then through a relationship with Christ. While I still have no overcome this completely I have come to realize that God’s word is not just a handbook of laws sent by some distant omnipotent being, but a guidebook sent by a loving Father who sincerely wants to see His children live up to the potential He created them to be. Like my father on earth, God wants the best for me and is there every day when I need Him. I know this may sound somewhat cliché at first, but recognizing that God and His word is not just some distant philosophy but the here and now reality was a huge step for me in my walk with Christ. The most important lesson I have taken from college so far is that the most significant way I can invest my time is in people. I see this as a very counter-cultural idea especially for anyone high school-college age group. Our entire lives up to this point have for the most part revolved around us. We need to get our grades up so we can get a good job or get into a good school, and we need to pad up our resume with our accomplishments in order to impress somebody in power. It is not difficult to see why living this way it can be easy to focus solely on yourself. I learned however that even if I do work hard to get the best internships and great grades, I simply will not be as fulfilled if I do not invest my energy in other people. Like most other parents in America, my parents would always have me finish my homework before hanging out with my friends. Now that I am in college, I realize that I need to set aside time and make it a priority just to see how life is going for somebody else. In no way am I advocating failing classes and skipping out on your extra-circulars just to see people. I am simply stating that when you are always on the go, it can be hard to make time for what is truly important at any stage in your life, and that is the people God has placed near you. Do not read this and think to yourself that a formal education is pointless and that you need to quit your job in order to hang out with your friends. I just have learned personally in my life I cannot live life solely trying to obtain my next goal such as an internship or good grades. When I look back at my college experience, I do not want to see someone who lived legalistically and whose main focus was to be as productive as possible, but someone who was able to affect and possibly completely change the lives of others.
JT Weinroth is a CCU sophomore from Sedalia, Colorado, and a member of the Centennial Institute Program Board.