University Shrugged: Duke ethics professor to launch for-profit college

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Sick and tired of how American universities operate, professor Gary Hull is setting out to launch a new, for-profit university. Dubbed Founders College, Hull hopes to do away with "publish or perish" atmospheres and tenured professorships, focus on education, and provide a "classic" liberal arts curriculum. It sounds like a gutsy experiment (he's also cutting the sports teams). Hull hopes to mold great communicators out of his students, and he's definitely talking big: The new institution intends to rigorously train its professors, evaluate them constantly on their performance, and give them the fuel to "light minds on fire." He's also promising a profit, despite the $22,000-a-head tuition rate. While academics are on the fence about his prospects, the Ayn Rand-inspired philosopher seems to at least have his marketing bases covered. He's secured the first round of backing for his institution, recruited like-minded profs, and he's planning on hiring the best PR firms in the land to handle his campaign.
Of course, I'm wondering why a man so intent on creating a profit hasn't tried to auction off the name yet (I, for one, would be more inclined to drive-thru Taco Bell Founders College). I'm also wondering whether Ayn herself would approve of such a rigid curriculum, or instead champion the class cutters and drop-outs. In any case, it'll be fascinating to see what happens. Thanks Toby!

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July 25, 2006 - 7:25am
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