Previously I have written about the breakthrough at The University of Texas at Austin when the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Core Texts and Ideas, a great books and Western Civilization studies program on whose advisory board I serve, received 500 applications for fewer than 100 slots in its Jefferson Scholars program for entering freshmen. This demand has continued, with similar response from the upcoming freshman class. Is it possible that the hunger for this foundational content by these kids pushing back to the race, class, and gender studies nonsense that has permeated the liberal arts core over the past several decades is gaining traction? I think so, I believe that it will expand, and there is good evidence already that it is doing so, at least in Texas.
Recently I attended what was called the Western Civilization Summit in Austin, jointly sponsored by the Texas Public Policy Foundation and the Institute for the Study of Western Civilization at Texas Tech University, which is led by the former chairman of the National Association of Scholars, Stephen Balch. The Institute is part of the Honors College at Texas Tech, with course offerings leading to a degree plan, and seeks to foster research and discussion among the University’s faculty, students, and the public about the nature, origins, and future of this phenomenon called Western Civilization through its classic texts. Boy, do we need much more of that! The conference in Austin attracted a number of scholars and served to highlight the need for the restoration of Western Civilization studies to the core curriculum of higher education. Hats off to the TPPF and Texas Tech for their leadership in this absolutely crucial effort.