A New Evaluation of American Institutions of Higher Learning

Posted: Jul 02, 2008 11:12 AM
A New Evaluation of American Institutions of Higher Learning

I met Paul T. Yarbrough through my daughter, Diana, and her husband. My son-in-law, Lieutenant Colonel Craig Pascoe, was stationed at the Air Force base near Albuquerque, and in due course he and Diana became acquainted with the Yarbrough family. They found they had much in common, including their religion and politics. Yarbrough, an attorney in New Mexico, eventually became a supporter of the mission of Free Congress Research and Education Foundation (FCF). Over the years we engaged in a lively e-mail exchange.

Three years ago Yarbrough called me and asked if I had a recommendation for a good college or university, as his family was considering possibilities for their son, who now attends the University of Dallas. Years ago Diana was on the board of Christendom College in Front Royal, Virginia, and I once took a course there, but while I am confident that Christendom College has not succumbed to political correctness, I could not provide much reliable information beyond that. Yet his question was not unique. In an average year roughly a dozen parents contact me to inquire whether a specific college is sound. I always try to oblige them but am never confident about much of the information I pass on.

While U.S. News and World Report for years has published its evaluation of American institutions of higher learning, the magazine assesses the entire spectrum of schools. Thus, a small college competes with Harvard and Princeton.

More recently, National Review published an evaluation, but it also covers a broad range of institutions. Yarbrough and I lamented the lack of a separate report about smaller institutions which are not trapped in the academic diseases of quotas, political correctness and the suppression of ideas. What was meant to be a five minute conversation turned into a forty minute discussion about what parents need to evaluate institutions morally and intellectually. During the conversation I asked Yarbrough to undertake an evaluation of institutions which are sound in every respect. He agreed to do so. Over a period of several months he obtained catalogues, examined curricula and asked many questions.

The result of this conversation will be published as a special Notable News Now on Thursday, July 3. It will be available on our website thereafter. We are able to recommend nine colleges-some Roman Catholic, some Protestant, some secular. In addition, we commend a number of emerging institutions which appear promising, but about which we lack sufficient information to ascertain whether young minds will be corrupted intentionally or encouraged to lose their faith on campus.

We are hopeful that other websites will use this study. Anyone may use it, provided he acknowledges that it is a product of the Free Congress Research and Education Foundation. We hope to publish an updated study annually. Our fondest hope is that some of the emerging institutions will make the final list and that colleges which are not noted in this report will make the case to Yarbrough to be included in the updated report. Given that Yorktown University.com now is accredited, we will include online institutions in the next report.

This study is positive while noting areas in which specific colleges could improve. It does not condemn those institutions which have not made the list. However, Yarbrough will be pleased to answer personal inquiries made of him. Information on how to contact him directly will be included with the study.

FCF is indebted to Yarbrough for the seriousness with which he approached this assignment and for the hundreds of hours he put into the project. I especially appreciate that he volunteered to do this study for no compensation. This is your study. We did it for those who are unsure where to send their young adults for higher education. We want to hear from you with your critique. Any comments you send will be kept confidential and will be taken seriously. We want to hear if you think our evaluation is incorrect and, if so, why. We exist to serve you. This is just another means to do so.