(By Helen Raleigh, Centennial Fellow) There is more bad news out of US college campuses. At Stanford, one of the most prestigious universities in the world, a group called Who’s Teaching Us (WTU) has been campaigning
We exist in a vast sea of ignorance and lack of understanding in regards to history, politics, and ideology. Not to mention the implications of each upon our nation and civilization. Perhaps we should not be surprised that large segments of society can’t put the Civil War in the correct century or begin to find major countries on a map. There are entire political ideologies that rely on that mind-numbing, and sometimes frightening, misunderstanding and basic ignorance that a significant portion of society manifests as a source for their power and strength.
“Best Practices in Teaching Western Civilization” was the topic for an all-day workshop hosted at Colorado Christian University by the Centennial Institute on April 16. Over 30 educators from across the state, representing five colleges and three high schools, took part. President Bill Armstrong summoned the gathering to build on CCU’s new curriculum requirement for every freshman to take Western Civ as a cornerstone for subsequent courses in whatever major the student eventually chooses. In keynoting the day, Armstrong challenged participants to work against the “intellectual Alzheimer’s” that threatens our heritage of liberty.
The Aeneid, Virgil’s epic poem of the founding of Rome, provides a “gateway to civilization” for every thoughtful reader through its exploration of timeless truths of the human condition, a CCU audience was told on March 15. Dr. Michael Poliakoff, a classics scholar with degrees from Michigan and Oxford who recently served as vice president for academic affairs at the University of Colorado, spoke at the latest Issue Monday forum of the Centennial Institute. The moral and ethical struggles of Aeneas in love and war illustrate an attitude of “humility, skepticism, doubt, debate, and self-examination” that equips us for civilized life together because it “recognizes we are imperfect beings,” Poliakoff said.