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TABLE OF CONTENTS From the President


Update on the NAS in 2013: 25th Anniversary Conference Membership Member Profiles Academic Questions Center for the Study of the Curriculum The Bowdoin Project Events Media Highlights Website

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Donor Profile




How to Support NAS




2013 was a break-out year for the National Association of Scholars. The publication in April of What Does Bowdoin Teach? How a Contemporary Liberal Arts College Shapes Students was more than just NAS’s longest report or most in-depth study. It brought NAS to a new place. We have a new level of recognition both inside and outside the academy, which has brought wider attention to our other work as well. The year was also a financial success. We closed the books with a modest surplus and, better still, a growing list of individual donors and supporting foundations. 2013 was the final year of our work as a supplier of education services under the federal Teaching American History (TAH) program. This brought to end a substantial revenue stream that PETER WOOD, PRESIDENT

NAS enjoyed for more than a decade. Like other non-profits, we also noticed the relative decline of “general support” grants

from foundations in favor of foundation support for defined projects. Anticipating the end of TAH and mindful of the changing character of foundation philanthropy, we have done two things. First, we have worked hard to build our support among individual contributors. Second, we have developed numerous research proposals and pursued them with foundations. Each of our three major research reports in 2013—Recasting History, What Does Bowdoin Teach? and Beach Books—was made possible by donations and grants given specifically for those projects. That’s a relatively new way of working for NAS. With funded research comes the responsibility to execute projects on deadline and to produce work that will, ideally, lay the foundation for further projects. This inevitably changes the character of NAS. Once we were an organization that could focus primarily on summoning the energies of our scholar-members to raise key arguments in the battle of ideas in higher education. Our journal, Academic Questions, was a sounding board for those arguments. Today, we are an organization that carefully and critically examines what colleges and universities do. We have redesigned Academic Questions as a place to enlarge the debate by bringing up new issues and new perspectives. We are, however, still very much a membership organization, and one that can still summon scholars (and public members) to defend the role of the liberal arts in shaping good citizens, promote ordered liberty, uphold freedom of thought and inquiry, champion the value of studying Western civilization, and stand forthrightly for the pursuit of truth. Circumstances, however, have changed. Where once we could assume that, deep down, the

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academy still upheld these values even when a particular college transgressed them, we are now faced with an academy that has turned against its own core principles. That turning-against-itself is so odd that many outside the university cannot fathom it, and many inside the academy simply barricade themselves in their teaching and research specializations. The flight from the core principles of higher education (academic postmodernism, for lack of a better term) is really the NAS’s main subject. All three of our 2013 reports dealt with it. In Recasting History, we documented the ease with which major research universities substituted race-class-gender-themed courses to meet a state requirement for teaching American history. In What Does Bowdoin Teach? we documented how a top-notch college could dismantle liberal education in the name of critical thinking, personal autonomy, and social justice. In Beach Books, we documented how trendy, light-weight memoirs and similar books have gained widespread acceptance as the sole common reading for college students. The center hasn’t held. But the good news is that the vertiginous whirl of ideology and pseudo-education can’t sustain itself. Higher education is, in the estimates of many observers and numerous hard measures, entering into an era of institutional tumult. Possibly it is “creative destruction,” but in any case, it will inevitably return the discussion to the deepest questions. What do we owe the coming generations? What should higher education seek to accomplish? On those matters, NAS has much to say. In 2013, we learned some better ways to say it.

Peter Wood, President National Association of Scholars

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25TH ANNIVERSARY CONFERENCE The National Association of Scholars’ 2013 conference and dinner was a smashing success. On the occasion of the NAS’s 25th anniversary, over 280 attendees convened at the Harvard Club of New York City on March 1 and 2, 2013. Guests and speakers brought ideas, curiosity, and thoughtfulness to some of the most critical issues in contemporary higher education. Attendees said the event was “absolutely splendid,” “a great pleasure” and “an unforgettable weekend,” and that it “made NAS proud.” Students and young scholars added to the high energy level among participants. Even C-SPAN managed to make it out.

25TH ANNIVERSARY CONFERENCE The title of the conference was “A Mighty Maze: Charting the Future of American Higher Education,” inspired by the lines from Alexander Pope’s poem “An Essay on Man”: Expatiate free o'er all this scene of man; A mighty maze! but not without a plan. NAS’s conference brought people together to, in essence, draw up plans for the mighty maze of American higher education, and to summon a larger, liberating view of what it can do. NAS’s meeting had a continuous underlying theme of fellowship and rejuvenation. Midge Decter said at lunch on Saturday that the gathering felt less like a conference and more like a family reunion. Indeed, we saw old friends

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and made new ones. Attendees enjoyed time between and after sessions connecting with and getting to know one another. Some who had corresponded long-distance met each other in person for the first time. The dinner, featuring a keynote address by author Tom Wolfe, benefitted from sponsorship by numerous allied organizations who brought many guests who had never before been to a National Association of Scholars event. NAS board member Jay Bergman summed it up: “The panels were stimulating and informative, the award recipients deserving, and the lunch and dinner speakers thought-provoking. And the camaraderie the conference made possible by bringing together combatants in a shared cause that is just was truly invigorating.�


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MEMBERSHIP NAS membership is open to all who share a commitment to its core principles. A large majority of our members are current and former faculty members. We also welcome students, teachers, college administrators, independent scholars, as well as non-academic citizens who care about the future of higher education. We encourage anyone who shares a commitment to our principles to join NAS—and thus to take a stand in defending the true purposes of higher education and to unite with thousands of like-minded others. NAS members receive a subscription to our journal Academic Questions and access to a network of people who share a commitment to academic freedom and excellence. We offer practical counsel and the opportunity to influence aspects of contemporary higher education. Total members in 2013: 2,915, including 35 international. NAS’s members represent 1,400 institutions, including Duke University, CUNY, University of Texas, U.S. Military Academy, Harvard University, Santa Rosa Junior College, University of California, MIT, Howard University, Bowdoin College, University of Dallas, Pennsylvania State University, Wellesley College, and Princeton University.

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144 MA 9 RI 54 CT 122 NJ 15 DE 39 DC 90 MD

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MEMBER PROFILE MARY GRABAR When I joined the National Association of Scholars in 2004, I had just completed my Ph.D. in English and post-doctoral teaching assistantship at the University of Georgia. That year, I was teaching as a part-time instructor at Clayton State University in Morrow, Georgia. Since then, I have taught part-time on various campuses in Georgia. Most recently it was in the English Department at Emory University, in the Program in American Democracy and Citizenship. I taught there from the program’s inception in 2007 until its end in 2013. I have also been a free-lance writer, focusing on education issues. In 2011, I founded Dissident Prof, a nonprofit education reform site.


At every step, I have found NAS to be of tremendous help. The organization has offered me networking opportunities, professional support, and moral encouragement. NAS has helped me make contacts for publishing my work. For example, I met George Leef, editor of the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy newsletter, and John Leo, editor of Minding the Campus, at an NAS conference. I continue to write frequently for their sites. I have been published in Academic Questions, and look forward to reading colleagues’ articles there and at the NAS website. There is no similar outlet for such scholarship. NAS members have also publicized my writing. The Georgia state chapter has also offered great opportunities for meeting colleagues. I have worked closely with Georgia Chapter President Ann Hartle. For the last several years I have been responsible for publicizing our speakers. In the process I have met many great scholars and journalists of national renown. In 2013 I was the co-speaker with Dr. Tina Trent on the legacy of 1960s radicalism on our campuses. I probably have contact with at least one NAS member every day in some way, and know that the organization offers a national support team like no other for the traditional scholar. Mary Grabar is a writer, speaker, and education consultant. She blogs at

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MEMBER PROFILE JASON FERTIG I’m grateful to NAS for giving me a voice in the great conversation on the state of higher education. This wonderful organization has allowed me to find meaning in my academic career. Without NAS, I would be just another academic who tries as hard as I can in the classroom, sits on a few committees that do not do much, and publishes academic work that never leaves the eyes of those in the ivory tower. One summer day in 2009, after years of reading content on the NAS site, I decided to excuse myself from a conference session with an uninteresting presenter, park myself in the lobby, and let


my brain run wild with all that was wrong with college. The end result was a few-thousand-word account of a semester-long email exchange I’d had with a student who failed my class because he just expected me to punch his ticket. How dare I ask my students to act like adults? Ashley and Peter gave a thumbs-up to my efforts and published the piece on the NAS site; they also provided me with better writing instruction than I had received in twenty years of schooling (including a doctoral degree). As NAS allowed me to speak my mind, other organizations such as the Pope Center for Higher Education Policy, the Manhattan Institute, and National Review Online saw value in what I had to say and invited me to contribute to their outlets as well. Furthermore, I’ve also recently been asked to head the Indiana regional chapter of NAS – where I look forward to stirring things up and pushing some buttons. These last five years have been a fun ride; I look forward to helping inspire the next generation of NAS members to fight the good fight because if people like us do not challenge the status quo, I’m not sure who will. Jason Fertig is assistant professor of management at the University of Southern Indiana, Evansville, IN; He has written for the National Association of Scholars, the John W. Pope Center for Higher Education Policy, and the Phi Beta Cons blog at National Review Online.

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ACADEMIC QUESTIONS In 2013, Academic Questions continued to receive a growing number of soundly argued unsolicited submissions from new authors and to experience interest (with compliments on the substance and editing of our articles) among established scholars to write for us on many topics. Volume 26 of Academic Questions housed 39 articles, 2 interviews, 7 review essays, 10 reviews, 6 poems, and some lively letter exchanges. Highlights included: “Darkness





Iannone’s interview with celebrated and controversial anthropologist Napoleon Chagnon (Fall 2013) “The Common Core State Standards: Two Views,” by Mark Bauerlein and Jane Robbins (Spring 2013) “Political Correctness in the Land of Conformity,” on the infiltration of Western-style PC in Japanese education, by Bruce Davidson (Summer 2013) “The HHS Mandate and Religious Freedom: A Primer,” by Adèle Auxier Keim of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty (Winter 2013) “What Does Bowdoin Teach? A Dialogue between Wood and Klingenstein” by Peter Wood and Tom Klingenstein (Fall 2013) “The Common Core: Far from Home” by Michael Toscano (Winter 2013) “Attempting to Balance Wiki-Feminism: A Case Study,” by Walter Bruno (Spring 2013) “The Ideology of Political Science,” by Bruce Heiden (Summer 2013) “English Compositionism as Fraud and Failure,” by Jeffrey Zorn (Fall 2013) “FOR THE RECORD: Purging Petraeus: The Progressive Assault on Academic Freedom” (Winter 2013) Themes and special sections included: Peer Review in the Politicized Academy (Summer 2013) Campus Progressivism: Top-Down and Bottom-Up (Winter 2013) featured the pieces by Toscano and Keim mentioned above, Chuck Stetson, and “Fisher v. Texas: Strictly Disappointing,” by Russell K. Nieli, and “After Fisher: Academic Review and Judicial Scrutiny,” by George R. La Noue

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CENTER FOR THE STUDY OF THE CURRICULUM Founded in 2012, the Center for the Study of the Curriculum examines long-term trends and new developments in American college instruction. Its goals are to document and to analyze important changes to the curriculum and to propose improvements. The Center is rooted in the view that Americans are best served by forms of college education that are intellectually well-rounded, rigorous, and focused on preparation for a wise and productive life. Through the Center for the Study of the Curriculum, the National Association of Scholars identifies and conducts research projects which examine aspects of contemporary college programs. In 2013, the Center completed the following landmark projects and launched several others.


Recasting History examines how American history is taught to freshmen and sophomores at Texas A&M University at College Station and the University of Texas at Austin. This report considers whether race, class, and gender are displacing other important approaches to the study of American history. In our study we looked closely at the textbooks and other readings in these courses and measured the extent of each one’s focus on race, class, and gender. We also studied the correlation between faculty members’ reading assignments, their research interests, and the decades in which they received PhDs. We found that institutional culture plays a strong role in influencing faculty members to assign books with high race, class, and gender content. Launch: Press conference in conjunction with Texas Public Policy Foundation conference in Austin, TX. Authors Richard Fonte, Robert Koons, Ashley Thorne, and Peter Wood were panel speakers.

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Media: Included Austin American-Statesman, Texas Tribune, Houston Chronicle, RealClearPolitics (article by Peter Berkowitz), FrontPage Mag (article by Bruce Bawer), First Things (op-ed by Ashley Thorne), Huffington Post, and radio appearances by board members Herbert London and Thomas Lindsay. The American Historical Association and the University of Texas each made statements responding to Recasting History. A former University of Texas history professor, Richard Pells, wrote in a Chronicle of Higher Education op-ed, “What has developed at UT over the past 20 years is an almost oppressive orthodoxy and a lack of intellectual diversity among the UT history faculty. [...] What UT historians need to do is stop railing against the report and start re-examining their hiring practices.” He also explained, “I am neither conservative nor a member of the NAS. But I am an American historian who taught at UT from 1971 to 2011. And based on my own experiences at UT, I believe the report’s main arguments are absolutely correct.” Follow-up: We asked Texas legislators to take up one of the reforms we called for in Recasting History. Two bills were filed, one in the House and one in the Senate, which would stipulate that only a “comprehensive survey” could fulfill the American history course requirement (a 1955 statute) for Texas college students. Thomas Lindsay (NAS board member) and Richard Fonte (NAS member) appeared before the Higher Education Committee of the Texas legislature in April to present testimony in favor of the House Bill. However, racial activist groups successfully fought the bill, seeing that it would bar history courses focused solely on the history of racial groups from meeting the requirement.

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“What has developed at UT over the past 20 years is an almost oppressive orthodoxy and a lack of intellectual diversity among the UT history faculty. [...] What UT historians need to do is stop railing against the report and start re-examining their hiring practices.” -Richard Pells, Chronicle of Higher Education


Each academic year, hundreds of colleges and universities assign a book as “common reading” to students. These assignments are often emblematic of colleges’ values. We wanted to learn: What books do colleges and universities assign as common reading? What themes do the books contain? Are they old books or recent ones? What kinds of colleges and universities have common reading programs? What does a typical common reading program look like? What does all this tell us about the state of American higher education today? To find out, we examined books assigned by 309 colleges and universities for the academic year 2012-2013. We found that colleges tended to assign contemporary books with mass appeal rather than more time-tested books. We encourage colleges to continue and to improve their common reading programs. We offer 12 recommendations to colleges for choosing better books and making the most of the common reading experience. We also offer a list of 50 books we recommend for common reading. Launch: The Guardian (UK) approached NAS and solicited an op-ed about why American universities are shying away from the classics. The resulting piece by Ashley Thorne, principal author of Beach Books, generated international discussion. Many readers acknowledged the validity of the critique that common reading programs with only contemporary books are missing the bigger landscape of the literary world. Media: Included the Guardian (op-ed by Ashley Thorne), National Review Online, the Chronicle of Higher Education (op-ed by Peter Wood), The American Conservative, and First Things (op-ed by Ashley Thorne). Follow-up: We sent our report to the coordinators of common reading programs at each of the 309 colleges and universities we studied, and we asked them to help us complete our survey of 2013-2014 academic year common readings by providing the title and author of the book(s) selected and any stated rationale for choosing this book or for assigning a book in common. We heard back from nearly 200 colleges and universities and began research for the next edition of Beach Books.

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What Does Bowdoin Teach? examines a contemporary liberal arts college in-depth. The study looked into the history, governance, curriculum, core concepts, student activities, campus culture, and role of the faculty at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. Our goals were to understand to what extent intellectual diversity is practiced at this college, and to invigorate efforts to reform the college. We also sought to create a template for how such a rigorous study could be undertaken at other liberal arts colleges and universities. Our major report of nearly 400 pages traces the evolution of the College from its roots in strong intellectual traditions, a core curriculum, and a commitment to Western Civilization to its current model of dedication to achieving social justice and to reshaping America in the image of progressive politics.

Launch: Luncheon talk at the University Club in New York, co-sponsored by the Manhattan Institute. Peter Wood, Thomas Klingenstein, and Bill Bennett were panel speakers. Media: Included Wall Street Journal (and an appearance by Peter Wood on WSJ TV), the Claremont Institute’s The American Mind, RealClearPolitics (article by Peter Berkowitz), Bloomberg News (article by Amity Schlaes), Bowdoin Orient, the Guardian, National Review Online, New York Post, Washington Examiner, and radio coverage by Dennis Prager, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Laura Ingraham, and Bill Bennett. NAS president Peter Wood was also

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interviewed on Leaders with Ginni Thomas (wife of Clarence Thomas), the American Mind with the Claremont Institute’s Charles Kesler, and the Larry Parks Show. Bowdoin College President Barry Mills wrote a statement responding to the report, as did several Bowdoin professors. Professor Jean Yarbrough wrote in the Bowdoin Orient that much of NAS’s report was “spot on.” She wrote: First, the report traces the steady retreat from the core texts of Western civilization and their replacement with a much more ideological and multicultural curriculum. […] Second, the report calls attention to the shallowness of the College’s understanding of diversity, which is literally no more than skin deep. […] Third, the NAS report draws attention to the absence of political and intellectual diversity in the academy. Harvard University professor of government Harvey Mansfield wrote to us: There’s nothing like this in literature—a complete, top to bottom treatment of a college. The analysis is excellent, bringing out many truths I had not seen, such as on sustainability and the research mentality connected to the expansion of the student self—one insight after the other. And you don’t lose your temper, thereby preparing the devastating last paragraph. Quite an achievement! In National Review, Stanley Kurtz wrote: No one until now has exposed the politicization of higher education in this kind of breadth and depth— by examining how it plays out at a single college. […] The Bowdoin report is more like a good book than a dry memo, so reading bits and pieces is easy and fun. […] Wood and Toscano show a Bowdoin at war with itself: unwilling to uphold standards, yet loath to acknowledge their decline; incapable of affirming the need for shared knowledge of fundamentals, yet eager to modify the details of student behavior in accordance with a quasi-religious suite of “sustainable” practices; and, ultimately, forging ideological fetters from its very professions of tolerance. Follow-up: To disseminate the findings of the report and spark more discussion, NAS is working to host a number of small conferences around the country. We are also planning to publish this report as a book and have received a grant to do so. This research can act as a template for an in-depth study of other colleges and universities. Since the release of What Does Bowdoin Teach?, we have received several inquiries about conducting similar studies at other particular colleges, but we have not received funding to proceed with any of these.

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RECASTING HISTORY PRESS CONFERENCE Speakers: Peter Wood, Ashley Thorne, Richard Fonte, Robert Koons, Thomas Lindsay co-sponsored by the Texas Public Policy Foundation

Keynote speaker: Peter Wood “The Myth of Diversity” Williams College sponsored by the Williams College Debate Society



NAS NATIONAL CONFERENCE Keynote speaker: Tom Wolfe "A Mighty Maze: Charting the Future of American Higher Education in an Age of Illiberal Ideologies, Broken Budgets, Big Debts, and Declining Standards" Harvard Club

Keynote speaker: Peter Wood "What Happens When Liberal Arts Education is Dominated by Political Philosophy?" co-sponsored by the Minnesota Association of Scholars and Intellectual Takeout


AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF UNIVERSITY PROFESSORS CONFERENCE ON THE STATE OF HIGHER EDUCATION Keynote speaker: Peter Wood Debate: Is Higher Education a Bubble? Debate: Ideology and Bias in the Teaching of History

BOWDOIN LAUNCH Speakers: Peter Wood, Thomas Klingenstein, William J. Bennett co-sponsored by the Manhattan Institute

APRIL 6, INDIANAPOLIS, IN PHILADELPHIA SOCIETY CONFERENCE Keynote speaker: Peter Wood “With Liberty and Justice for All: A Critical Re-examination of Social Justice”

APRIL 21, NEW YORK, NY Keynote speaker: Russell Nieli "Ten Reasons Why Racial Preferences in College Admissions Has Been an Abject Failure" co-sponsored by the New York Association of Scholars and the CUNY Association of Scholars

APRIL 22, NEW BRITAIN, CT Keynote speaker: Paul Rahe "Montesquieu and the American Constitution" co-sponsored by the Connecticut Association of Scholars, the Koch Foundation, and the Public Policy Club at Central Connecticut State University

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JULY 21, DENVER, CO COLORADO ASSOCIATION OF SCHOLARS MEETING Speakers: Peter Wood, Sue Sharkey, Ashley Thorne co-sponsored by the Independence Institute

NOVEMBER 30, FAIRBANKS, AK Keynote speaker: Paul H. Courtenay Lecture on Churchill's marriage sponsored by the Alaska Association of Scholars

DECEMBER 2, FAIRBANKS, AK Keynote speaker: Paul H. Courtenay Lecture on Churchill's paintings sponsored by the Alaska Association of Scholars



UT, A&M SHORTCHANGING STUDENTS ON AMERICAN HISTORY, REPORT SAYS January 9, 2013 By Ralph K.M. Haurwitz – Austin-American Statesman

“I am an American historian who taught at UT from 1971 to 2011.

PELLS: A FRESH EXAMINATION OF HISTORY IS IN ORDER January 24, 2013 By Richard Pells – Austin-American Statesman, Chronicle of Higher Education

And based on my own experiences at UT, I believe the report’s main arguments are


absolutely correct.”

March 1, 2013 By Peter Schmidt – The Chronicle of Higher Education -Richard Pells, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF SCHOLARS JOINS INVESTOR IN TEEING UP A CRITIQUE OF BOWDOIN

Chronicle of Higher Education

March 4, 2013 By Peter Schmidt – The Chronicle of Higher Education LEGISLATORS SEEK TO TWEAK COLLEGE HISTORY REQUIREMENTS March 5, 2013 By Ralph K.M. Haurwitz – Austin American-Statesman WHAT PARENTS DON'T KNOW ABOUT BOWDOIN April 3, 2013 By Amity Schlaes – Bloomberg News THE SAD STATE OF LIBERAL EDUCATION AT BOWDOIN April 3, 2013 By Peter Berkowitz – RealClearPolitics THE GOLF SHOT HEARD AROUND THE ACADEMIC WORLD April 5, 2013 – Wall Street Journal

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PRESIDENT DEFENDS BOWDOIN AFTER REPORT April 11, 2013 By Jenna Russell – Boston Globe HOW COLLEGES SCAM THE WORKING CLASS April 29, 2013 By Naomi Schaefer Riley – New York Post THE HIGHER EDUCATION SCANDAL May 20, 2013 By Harvey Mansfield – RealClearPolitics, Claremont Review of Books GROUP DEFENDS PURDUE'S DANIELS OVER ZINN EMAILS July 17, 2013 By The Associated Press – OBAMA'S SECRET WEAPON: HENRIETTA LACKS August 19, 2013 By Stanley Kurtz – National Review Online WHY ARE AMERICAN UNIVERSITIES SHYING AWAY FROM THE CLASSICS? August 25, 2013 By Ashley Thorne – The Guardian WHERE DID MOBY DICK GO? August 30, 2013 – HuffPost Live


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WEBSITE At you’ll find information about NAS – who we are, what we stand for, our projects for higher education reform, our journal Academic Questions, and how you can get involved and become an NAS member. You’ll also find useful resources, including a guide to some great campus-based programs, recommended books for college common reading assignments, and helpful links to higher education organizations.


222,233 (up from 181,029 in 2012)

Unique Visitors:

176,378 (up from 138,483 in 2012)


371, 638 (up from 315,034 in 2012)



New Visitors:

78.01% (up from 74.65% in 2012)

Average visit duration


Articles/blog posts:




Returning Visitor

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8,000 4,000

New Visitor

Report: Recasting History

Article: “How Academe Turned Zimmerman into a Racist”

Report: What Does Bowdoin Teach?

April 2013

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ASHLEY THORNE Director, Center for the Study of the Curriculum

The NAS Board of Directors Herbert I. London, Chairman Daniel Asia Evelyn Avery Stephen H. Balch

MICHAEL T. TOSCANO Director of Research Projects

Jay A. Bergman Peter Berkowitz Philip J. Clements Ward Connerly

GLENN M. RICKETTS Public Affairs Director

Midge Decter George W. Dent, Jr. Candace de Russy David Gordon

RACHELLE DEJONG Research Associate

Gail L. Heriot Thomas Klingenstein Robert C. Koons Barry Latzer

WANDA COOLEY Operations Director

Thomas K. Lindsay Wight Martindale Anne D. Neal B. Nelson Ong

CAROL IANNONE Editor-at-Large, Academic Questions

Norman Rogers Barry Smith Sandra Stotsky Richard Vedder Bradley C.S. Watson

FELICIA SANZARI CHERNESKY Managing Editor, Academic Questions

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Amy L. Wax Keith Whitaker R. H. Winnick

DONOR PROFILE MAUREEN MULLARKEY I am not an academic. But my working life as an artist and critic immerses me in the assumptions of academia and its products. The Left’s long, triumphant march through our institutions did not halt at the art department door. The wreckage is in plain sight. Academia fashions artists into community activists who believe that art does not exist to interpret the world but to change it. Exempt from the rigors of rational argument, the arts provide a symbolic system to stir and convince. Consider the finale to the 2013-14 Visual Culture lecture series at London’s Royal College of Art. Thomas Hirschhorn, a Swiss artist working in Paris, was invited to dispense insight into his politically charged Gramsci Monument project. Dismal and sententious, this tribute to Italian Communist Antonio Gramsci was a participatory installation staged across the grounds of a housing project in the South Bronx last summer.


The makeshift structure used only materials which “do not intimidate”: low-grade two-by-fours, plywood, packing tape, tarpaulins, spray paint—rubble suitable for what Gramsci termed “subaltern classes.” Hirschhorn’s contribution to proletarian culture was bankrolled by the prestigious New York-based Dia Foundation. It was a glamorous commission, the kind that draws grant money in art departments far and wide. Where does the National Association of Scholars fit into this scenario? From its inception, NAS has offered a stay against the degradation of academia’s role as a transmitter of fact and reason. NAS provides an informed counter to forced-marched studies in multiculturalism, race and gender politics, et alia. Among the earliest of my copies of Academic Questions is the winter issue of 1990-91. It featured the symposium “Restoring the Humanities in an Age of Ideology.” Peter Shaw’s essay cut to the heart of the dislocations at work in academia: dilation of the concept of class struggle and the creation of a political drama—which extends to university art training—in which scholarship becomes proxy for, or prelude to, revolutionary political action. It is later now. Greater numbers of young people have been tutored in political gestures. They graduate bereft of historical knowledge in all its complexity, hence susceptible to rhetoric and image. I am more afraid now than before. The stronger its voice on campus, the better NAS can assist—even embolden—young academics yearning to halt the hollowing out of true learning. And, with it, of Western civilization itself. I have to support it. Maureen Mullarkey is a painter who writes on art and culture. Her essays have appeared in The Nation, The New York Times, The Hudson Review, The Weekly Standard, Crisis, and The New York Sun. She currently blogs for First Things.

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Salaries & Benefits Insurance Travel Teaching American History Sponsorships Occupancy Equipment & Supplies Legal, Accounting, & Other Fees Fundraising Consultant Other Consulting Conference Springer Subscriptions Phone, Postage, & Miscellaneous Fines Other operating Expenses Website

593,844 10,000 60,000

140,000 60,000 50,000 0 25,000 2,500

647,126 6,840 48,552 51,973 4,417 73,525 17,067 34,561 55,329 17,500 112,723 65,272 47,153 0 19,089 7,600




Grants Conference Receipts Contributions Dues Earnings/Cash/Money Market Teaching American History Springer Royalties

600,000 150,000 200,000 60,000 25,000 120,000 12,000

855,410 50,357 161,348 93,414 40,327 * 14,217




50,000 75,000 20,000 35,000 45,000


*Funds received but booked for 2012

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SUPPORT NAS The National Association of Scholars gratefully welcomes contributions. We are a non-profit organization and gifts we receive are tax-deductible. Gifts and bequests to NAS support our research projects and our efforts to foster intellectual freedom and academic excellence in American higher education. HOW YOUR PLANNED GIFT CAN HELP THE NAS—AND YOU You can use any number of tax-advantaged financial tools to support the NAS and our mission of higher education reform, while at the same time returning benefits to you and your family. For instance, you can: make a tax-free gift from your IRA, donate appreciated securities to NAS, which could cost you less than the tax deduction you would receive, make NAS a beneficiary of your will, revocable trust, or retirement plan—costing you nothing during your lifetime, donate assets that you no longer need or want, such as an art collection, a second home, land, or a life insurance policy, and realize tax advantages by selling to NAS property at a charitable discount or deeding to NAS your home while you continue to live there. For more information about these and other planned-giving vehicles, please contact your tax advisor or attorney. If you then decide to proceed and would like to discuss the possibility of a planned gift to the National Association of Scholars, please contact Wanda Cooley at To support NAS, visit us online at


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National Association of Scholars Annual Report 2013  

A report on the work of the NAS in 2013

National Association of Scholars Annual Report 2013  

A report on the work of the NAS in 2013