SHORT TAKES


October 30, 2008

Delaware Indoctrination: You Haven't Heard It All

The Foundation For Individual Rights in Education is set to release (mid-day Friday) a compendious report by Adam Kissel on the Delaware Residential Life Program. If you haven't followed this rank system of indoctrination (now happily suspended) the FIRE report is a comprehensive and sobering account of the roots and influences of the Delaware system.

Most importantly, and disquietingly, the FIRE report exposes the extent to which the Delaware program was by no mean isolated - it was simply the most forceful implementation of explicitly political "educational outcomes" encouraged by the American College Personnel Association for all colleges. Once instituted, the Res Life system became, most egregiously, a model for the ACPA and other "res life" professionals. Here's Kissel on the topic:

ResLife was so proud of its achievements that the University of Delaware began to hold annual Residential Curriculum Institutes for trusted counterparts from around the United States and Canada. Over 70 people from more than 35 schools registered for the first one in January 2007, which focused on the university's cutting-edge "curricular approach." The institute was cosponsored by the ACPA, which sent its president, Jeanne S. Steffes, to be the opening speaker. Then---University of Delaware President David Roselle was on hand to welcome the participants, and the keynote address by Marcia Baxter Magolda of Miami University of Ohio was sponsored by Delaware's Office of the Provost and its Academic and Student Affairs Council.

Residence Life staff, some of them sporting Ed.D. degrees from the university's own School of Education, also began publishing articles about the cutting-edge methods of the curriculum---without quite revealing the sustainability agenda. For instance, in the November--December 2006 issue of About Campus, a magazine for college and university educators, Kerr and Associate Director of Residence Life James Tweedy published "Beyond Seat Time and Student Satisfaction: A Curricular Approach to Residential Education." In that article, Kerr and Tweedy discuss their desired "learning goals," which include requiring each student to, among other things, "explore societal privilege and the experiences of those disadvantaged in our democracy," "explore social identity privilege," and "explore class privilege." They also---creepy as it sounds---discuss potential improvements to the program, such as "the possibility of identifying behavioral factors that can be observed and recorded by hall staff members."

The Delaware program may be gone, but its advocates are still legion. The report is essential reading on an impulse to indoctrinate still far from dormant. Check in for the full document tomorrow.

If you're unfamiliar with the story, catch up with John Leo's "The Worst Campus Codeword".

Comments (1)

h budd:

For some months now we have been reading about this vile program at U Del. One question that I haven't seen addressed: suppose a student quickly concluded that "Campus Life" was a crock and then no longer attended, what would happen?

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