The American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA), “an independent, nonprofit organization committed to academic freedom, excellence, and accountability at America’s colleges and universities,” will hold the 2017 “Oases of Excellence Faculty Conference” on June 6 at the Cosmos Club in Washington DC. Scholars interested in higher education reform from across the country will attend. Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization (AHI) Executive Director Robert Paquette will be the featured speaker in Session IV: “Serving Students and Community: The Case for Independence.”

The conference will also feature AHI Academic Adviser Robert George, who will speak on the Madison Program at Princeton, and Stephen H. Balch, member of the AHI’s Board of Directors, who will discuss the founding of the Institute for the Study of Western Civilization at Texas Tech University.

“Whether we like it or not,” said Paquette, “we are engaged in a long twilight struggle for the heart and soul of the United States. To look at what is going on at many elite institutions of higher education in the United States, one might think that this country’s worst enemies were running the show. Look at the symptoms of decline: grade inflation, curricular incoherence and drivel peddling, absence of intellectual diversity, marginalizing and active persecution of conservative professors, politicized classrooms, left-wing thuggery, speech codes, safe spaces. I can easily extend the list. It has gotten so bad that in the total absence of conservative professors on some campuses, the liberals are being consumed by the radical left. To the great credit of ACTA, it has recognized the efforts on and off campus of organizations that refuse to accept academe’s slouching toward Gomorrah. This conference will provide a wonderful opportunity for those on the front lines to share their experiences and develop strategies for success. Dr. Michael Poliakoff and Dr. Jacquie Merrill deserve a hearty round of applause for putting together this conference.”



June 6, 2017
The Cosmos Club
2121 Massachusetts Avenue N.W. 20008

SCHEDULE (Participants by invitation only)


10:00 a.m. Registration and Breakfast

10:15 a.m. Welcoming Remarks
Michael Poliakoff, President, American Council of Trustees and Alumni

10:30 a.m. Session I: Why & How? Strategic Foundations of Program Success
Stephen H. Balch, Founding Director, Institute for the Study of Western Civilization at Texas Tech University

11:30 Lunch

12:15 p.m. Session II: Title TBA
Robert P. George, Director, Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions

1:15 p.m. Break

1:30 Session III: Developing and Sustaining an Intellectual Community
Jenna Silber Storey, Managing Director, Tocqueville Program

2:30 p.m. Break

2:45 p.m. Session IV: Serving Students and Community: The Case for Independence
Robert Paquette, Charter Fellow, Alexander Hamilton Institute

3:45 p.m. Closing Remarks
Jacqueline Pfeffer Merrill, Executive Director, Fund for Academic Renewal