Yippee! Objectivist College Being Formed!

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Objectivist professor Gary Hull, a professor at Duke, plans for-profit college with classic curriculum:

DURHAM, N.C. – Gary Hull thinks today’s colleges are failing, and he believes he has a better way.

Hull, who teaches at Duke University, plans to start a liberal-arts college in the fall of 2007. His plan is to operate it as a for-profit business, with investors, a copyrighted curriculum and a bottom line. … Called Founders College, the school would offer programs in liberal arts and business and a classic curriculum in philosophy, history, economics and literature, Hull says. He hopes to start with 100 students the first year and build to 500 by the fifth year. Tuition would be about $22,000 a year, Hull says, and the school would have no sports teams.

At Duke, Hull is a nontenured faculty member and director of the university’s Program on Values and Ethics in the Marketplace. He is a scholar of Rand, the novelist and philosopher who wrote “Atlas Shrugged” and “The Fountainhead.” Her philosophy emphasized individualism, rational self-interest, capitalism and limited government.

But Hull maintains there is no connection between Founders College and any particular philosophy or outside organization such as the Ayn Rand Institute, for which he has written articles.

This might not be a terrible idea–and it’s good to see any challenge to the monopolistic educational establishment–but private conservative and religious schools have a hard enough time competing. If Founders College adopts a Randian secular “rational” hostility to religion and Christianity, that might make it even more difficult to find students. And of course it is crucial that it become accredited. One can only assume that accreditation is one of its goals. If not, it is probably a mistake: if a college degree is not accredited, one might as well save the money and time and become an autodidact.

Interestingly, one of the reasons George Reisman–an intellectual giant; sincere, honest and passionate scholar of freedom; and true gentleman–was kicked out of the Ayn Rand Institute in one of its many purges, is apparently Reisman’s disagreement with Harry Binswanger’s policy of discouraging graduate students in philosophy from pursuing their doctorates. As one account has it in this forum,

And who was on the ARI Board of Directors that voted to pay the high salaries to Schwartz and Binswanger? Why, Schwartz and Binswanger, of course! Surprise! That’s right. Schwartz and Binswanger voted, as members of the Board of Directors, to pay themselves high salaries out of the ARI coffers, for teaching at the Objectivist Graduate Center. … [Reisman] didn’t want to pay Schwartz and Binswanger …. [Reisman] thought that the needs of the students at the Objectivist Graduate Center could be met just as well, and for far less money, by using local Objectivist graduate students and PhDs, instead of flying Schwartz and Binswanger across the country for seven weeks, and paying them fifty thousand dollars (about ten times what a typical college professor makes for the same amount of teaching). … Of course, this wouldn’t have put any money in the pockets of Schwartz and Binswanger, so George was declared to be “immoral,” and kicked out of the ARI.

(See also, on this: Why I do not support the “official” Objectivist “movement”; George Reisman’s Campaign for Capitalism; Reisman vs. ARI (Re: The Betsy Speicher Flip Flop)).

9:46 am on September 6, 2006