Stephen Speicher

Founders College website

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Founders College has inaugurated their initial website. This introduction to the college is a single page, with the full website due to appear this September.

The website indicates that the college will offer "initial majors in business, economics, philosophy, history, literature and the arts, and an education certificate." More ambitious and more comprehensive than I had earlier anticipated. The website also confirms that professors will be trained according to a program determined by the college, and that there will be no tenure for professors at Founders College. Hallelujah for that!

Student applications will be accepted shortly, for classes commencing in Fall 2007.

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Just reading their website brings a large smile to my face. I look forward to the revolution that the site mentions taking place in education and beyond.

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Makes me think there might actually be somewhere I could enjoy studying economics...

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If this report is correct, Founders College may have found its home in Campbell County, Virginia.

Campbell County may become home to a new college. Organizers of a private for profit liberal arts college have purchased the old Merritt Hutchinson Resort near Leesville.

They're planning to build a school, residential community for faculty, along with a retirement community and golf course on the site.

Founders College hopes to enroll 75 to 100 students as early as next fall and eventually grow to as many as 1,500 students.

The plan must first get approval from the county. The planning commission could consider it next month.

And, as a further indication of plans moving ahead, the following ad appeared in both HigherEdJobs.com and InsideHigherEd.com:

In our mission to ignite a revolution of excellence in liberal arts education, Founders College seeks extraordinary candidates for the position of Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). The CMO is an executive-level ambassador for the college, responsible for leading the successful implementation of our marketing strategy, including: production and distribution of student recruitment communications (including internet-based communication), response to inquiries about the college, coordination of college fairs, supervision of regional recruiters, development and placement of print and website advertising and conversion of applicants to matriculation.

The successful CMO candidate will be a smart, rational professional with a passion for higher education and some related experience. We are looking for an excellent communicator, who is well organized, conscientious, has an entrepreneurial mindset and who interacts well with others. Career ambition and a demonstrated track record in marketing and sales are highly desirable.

Willingness to travel is required.

Compensation includes a six-figure salary, equity in a growing for-profit company, and a performance-based bonus.

If you are interested in this exciting opportunity, please email your letter and resume to:

Tamara K. Fuller

Executive Vice President &

Chief Strategy Officer

Founders College Education, Inc.

tfuller@founderscollege.com

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If this report is correct, Founders College may have found its home in Campbell County, Virginia.

Campbell County may become home to a new college. Organizers of a private for profit liberal arts college have purchased the old Merritt Hutchinson Resort near Leesville....

Here is a description of the Merritt Hutchinson Resort, along with photos (click on "PHOTOS"). An interesting excerpt:

It comprises approximately 1,100 acres in the foothills of the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains, "where heritage is history".

This listing from "THE WALL STREET JOURNAL Guide to Property" puts a property value of $12,000,000 on the Resort. This is a serious investment and start-up for Founders College. I wish them the best.

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Founders College has confirmed the site location in this press release:

Founders College Announces its Location in Virginia

Founders College has contracted to open its Fall 2007 operations* in Campbell County, Virginia, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

The four-year, residential liberal arts college plans to locate on the site of the Merritt Hutchinson Estate, a luxurious resort and conference center situated between Roanoke and Lynchburg, Virginia. The property’s extensive facilities integrate the intimacy of a gracious country manor with the sophistication of old-world opulence and modern comfort. The future campus includes over 1100 acres of rolling hills and lakes, and numerous recreational options such as fishing, swimming, hiking, golf and equestrian.

"After months of extensive research, we chose Virginia primarily because of its unparalled business-friendly environment," says Tamara Fuller, Founders’ Chief Strategy Officer. "Founders College will provide students with an exceptional education that sparks a lifelong passion for knowledge. We wanted our choice of location to honor the uniqueness of that vision."

For more information on Founders College, visit www.founderscollege.com. For media inquiries, contact Sarah Francomano at 617-937-2580 sarah.francomano@mslpr.com

*Disclaimer: The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia has authorized Founders to use "College" in conjunction with its post-secondary education affairs and business in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Founders College has filed an Institutional Application Certification Form with the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia. Founders College also has entered a contract for the purchase of land and buildings -- the Merritt-Hutchinson Estate in Campbell County,Virginia -- to serve as its campus, subject to zoning and other permits of the County Government. In accordance with Virginia Code Annotated Section 23-276.4, until the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia issues a Certificate to Operate, Founders College may not solicit or accept the enrollment of students.

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I look forward to touring the campus with my daughter in about 14 years, assuming things go well.

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Founders College has confirmed the site location in this press release:

Link for the press release?

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Founders College has confirmed the site location in this press release:

Link for the press release?

I do not think there is an official link for Founders College press releases yet. Perhaps when a more full version of their website comes online next month. I just reproduced the press release itself.

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A interesting perspective on the Founder's College. (Link )

DISCLAIMER:

I know very little about Gary Hull and since very little information has been released on the Founder's College, I can't agree or disagree with the linked essay.

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A interesting perspective on the Founder's College. (Link )

"nteresting perspective" would not be my choice of words. That piece is one extended smear by implication and innuendo. And, as it has so properly been characterized to me by another, it is a piece worthy of modern skeptics. Note the skeptic's favorite epistemological trick: arbitrary questions designed to instill doubt in the unfocused reader.

The "interesting perspective" of that piece is worthy of the tabloid journals, not mention on THE FORUM. I only allow the reference now so that those who would be so unfortunate to see it anyway, have the benefit of my relegating that piece to the trash heap in which it belongs.

And, stating this for the benefit of "noumenalself" and any supporters of that piece (if there are any), I will not permit any attempted defense or support for that trash on THE FORUM.

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DISCLAIMER:

I know very little about Gary Hull ...

For the record, over the years I have had personal disagreements with Gary Hull. I say this lest anyone even have the inkling of an impression that any personal allegiance is involved here on my part, Any support I have voiced here towards Founders College is a simple matter of justice: support for a substantial project that could be of enormous value, and recognition of a rational dream sought by Gary and others in the project.

As to some Objectivist detractors: whatever happened to objectivity and benevolence?

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As to some Objectivist detractors: whatever happened to objectivity and benevolence?

I feel compelled add my "amen, brother" to this statement. I thought that was a hatchet piece and it significantly lowered my opinion of its author in my estimation.

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I only allow the reference now so that those who would be so unfortunate to see it anyway, have the benefit of my relegating that piece to the trash heap in which it belongs.

Trash, indeed. It's just a bunch of ominous-sounding questions. It reminds me of a form of argument called an appeal to probability, which works a bit like first reciting a list of every conceivable bogeyman and then shouting “Boo!” at the end. What a shame.

Oddly, he/she concludes his cutting questionnaire by asking, "Why have so many Objectivists been so uncritical about [Founders College]?" If he had really wanted to know the answer to that question, he might have asked it before going public with so many derogatory comments.

As for the FUD factor (fear, uncertainty, and doubt), I say who cares if some specific facts about the proposed college have not been addressed publicly? I think we can safely assume that by the time Mr. Hull opens his college, he will do so with all the necessary facts on the table. And who cares if he and his partners make a few mistakes going forward? Is that any reason to pull the plug? Surely we can expect to see some above-average ingenuity and determination coming from Mr. Hull and his investors, to say the least. Problems can be solved.

I just don't get it. Why make Mr. Hull's already difficult job even more difficult by casting aspersions on his private ambitions before he even gets started? Why not at least show a little positive thinking, or as Stephen put it, how about some benevolence? Not to mention a strong focus on selfishness and independence.

On that note, I have to ask myself rhetorically, what difference does any of this make to my life? I for one am curious and hopeful about Founders College. Its prospects are looking quite good — as near as I can tell, that is, given the limited flow of information up to now. But whether it succeeds or fails, what on Earth do I gain personally by being a naysayer? Absolutely nothing.

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On that note, I have to ask myself rhetorically, what difference does any of this make to my life? I for one am curious and hopeful about Founders College. Its prospects are looking quite good — as near as I can tell, that is, given the limited flow of information up to now. But whether it succeeds or fails, what on Earth do I gain personally by being a naysayer? Absolutely nothing.

Indeed. I've taken a wait-and-see attitude towards Founders College. Some of the information they've put out sounds promising. Some is too vague to serve as a basis for judgement. I'll neither condemn nor praise without more information, although I will wish Dr. Hull well in his endeavor.

There is one element I noticed in the critique that I think deserves comment. The concern that Hull is seeking to "ghettoize" Objectivist intellectuals carries a tinge of collectivist thinking, as though said intellectuals are somehow the property of the Objectivist movement and Dr. Hull would be misappropriating resources by hiring them. These people are individuals, capable of making their own judgements about how best to pursue their own careers and values. Even if an institution like Founders College is not the best way to change the culture, those involved with it are under no obligation to sacrifice their own values to the goal of maximizing the speed of cultural change. The contrary position is based on a subtle but pernicious altruistic moral premise.

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I just don't get it. Why make Mr. Hull's already difficult job even more difficult by casting aspersions on his private ambitions before he even gets started? Why not at least show a little positive thinking, or as Stephen put it, how about some benevolence? Not to mention a strong focus on selfishness and independence.

And the overall lack of objectivity is simply astounding. Note, for instance, the level of concern that is expressed by one of the commenters on that blog. GS finds it disturbing that Founders College did not start "small on rented property, pitching themselves as an experiment in education." Does GS begrudge Hull et al for having the audacity to start on a large scale, putting their own money where GS's mouth is? Where exactly is it ordained that "small on rented property" is the proper approach for starting a college? Is GS an expert on business plans for start-up colleges? Does GS have any knowledge whatsoever of the detailed plans of those who are actually willing to stake their reputation and invest their own money in that which they value? How dare GS, out of sheer ignorance, plant the seeds of an approach that is supposedly "disturbing[ly]."

Likewise for GS finding it disturbing that Founders College has the audacity to present itself as a serious and valuable place for learning, rather than presenting itself as GS's "pitching themselves as an experiment in education." If Hull et al have the confidence of their own judgment are they supposed to sacrifice that to GS in the name of humility? GS further rails against the plans for the college because "they are purchasing expensive properties, hiring gourmet chefs, and offering themselves up as the new Rolls Royce of education to a demographic that has no reason to give credence to their claims." This is absolutely amazing. Again GS seems to begrudge the willingness of Hull et al to invest their own money in first class facilities, as if doing so is some ipso facto failing. As to the "credence to their claims," Founders College has so far only made public a single-page website, with the rest to follow. It will be up to prospective students, the "demographic," not GS, to judge whether Founders College seems worthy of their attention, and when more information is made available they will some more evidence to do so. But GS, out of sheer ignorance, turns forthcoming details into a premonition of failure. GS claims: "Given this, the founders themselves cannot have good reason to think that a venture of this sort, carried out in this manner and on this scale, will succeed." Superlatives cannot adequately express the illogic of GS's argument and conclusion. GS knows nothing about the specific detailed plans of the college, but based on his own ignorance he concludes, (or, perhaps mindreads is a better expression) that the founders of the college themselves cannot have good reason to think their plans (of which GS knows virtually nothing) will succeeed!

Apparently "objectivity" is easier for some Objectivists to spell than to actually implement. I am truly disgusted at the spectacle I see. Not knowing the details it is perfectly reasonable to think of Founders College as a risky venture, much like many other businesses that are formed. But to condemn the project virtually out of hand, based on ignorance and assuming the worst, to rip apart the dreams of Objectivists who are willing to invest their time, money and effort in what could possibly turn out to be a spectacular venture, is pathetic beyond words.

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[...] a tinge of collectivist thinking, as though said intellectuals are somehow the property of the Objectivist movement and Dr. Hull would be misappropriating resources by hiring them.

You have offered a very important insight. I would like to expand it little, as I see it.

The Objectivist movement is just that -- a movement. That means a certain kind of social phenomenon: a lot of individuals who are taking individual actions toward a common goal. Those individuals may or may not be aware of others in the movement, and some of them may or may not choose to organize their actions among themselves. But, regardless of the level of interaction or organization within it, no one owns the movement, and no one owes allegiance or accountability to the other individuals moving toward the common goal.

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Noumenalself is willing to attack Founders College and Gary Hull with what seems little insight into the subjcet. The subject of starting a business and a new idea/college.

Gary Hull does not have to give anyone but his backers and possible clients any insight into his college if he so chooses. That would be like expecting Edison to give you his insight on one of his projects in full detail before he brought it to the market. Gary Hull's ideas are new and with something new I almost always see condemnation from people that are unwilling to think outside their little compartamentilized area, nothing new.

To spend 12 million dollars on a project is something that I am almost positive required a lot of thought before hand. No one that I have ever met in the business world just gives you 12 million dollars without good cause. If Noumenalself really wanted the answeres to his questions he could write Gary Hull himself and request the answers to his questions, but he has not stated doing this. I would also state that Gary Hull has no responsibility in responding to those questions unless the person were either a client or stockholder in the venture.

Another thing that most people do not realize is the monetary backing situation. Some situations require and monetary backers require that you go into something all the way with no other commitments. That being another professorship with another college as your side job does not work. This seems to me (as a business owner), something that had to be taken on fully and not something that could be done halfway. But, of course someone with no business knowledge might have a differnet perspective on the idea, and hence why they will most likely never be in business.

I would have never gone into business if I would have listened to all the naysayers. First, the naysayers said I could not compete against all the bigger companies/facilities. Second they said just go small time at first out of your house of garage. Also, the fact that my ideas were totally different than what most people have ever heard. Wrong, wrong and wrong, as I have been in business for over 6 years now and still going forward. I bought equipment and went $20,000 into debt right from the begining (although I did work part-time on the weekends for the first six months). Second, I have actually drawn clients away from the big companies as they were not receiving the value they expected from the other companies. Lastly, starting a company out of my gargae was not the standard that I wanted to set for my company.

There are many things that I have learned from reading historical events. One of those things is that great thinkers usually get condemned because of their ideas or actions. This usually happens because the great thinker thinks so far in front of everyone else that even objective people cannot see their vision. Great minds are just that great, not because they think like others but because they think in bigger context than most can even imagine.

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Is Founders College the future of college education? Is Harvard going to follow Gary Hull's plan?

Commentary magazine for September 2006 is up on the web. Donald Kagan of Yale writes on what's wrong with Harvard, "As Goes Harvard..." With quotes from Harvard president, Bok, dean of Harvard College, Lewis, etc. the conclusion is Harvard needs to more like Founders College.

No, he didn't say Founders college but every point covered as a problem for Harvard, was covered by what little Dr. Hull has said about what he wants Founders to be.

Harvard Dean, Lewis:

"But there is absolutely nothing that Harvard can expect students will know after they take three science or three humanities courses freely choosen from across the entire course catalog."

"A curriculum that exposes Harvard as "a university without a larger sense of educational pupose or a connection with its principal constituents."

Donald Kagan:

"to the Harvard faculty, undergraduate education is at best of secondary interest."

"Core Curriculum...distinguished by the absence of any core of studies generally required."

"Significant number of courses in Harvard College are taught by graduate students...a collection of inexperienced leaders of discussion or pseudo-discussion groups."

"...most faculties lack precisely that requisite sense of professional responsibility, and are instead the major obstacle to improvement."

Harvard President, Bok:

"Many seniors graduate without being able to write well enough to satisfy their employers."

"Many cannot reason clearly or perform competently in analyzing complex, non-technical problems, even though faculties rank critical thinking as the primary goal of a college education."

"Most have never taken a course in quantitative reasoning or aquired the knowledge needed to be a reasonably informed citizen in a democracy."

The typical curriculum as "a vast smorgasbord" amounting to "an admission of intellectual defeat."

An Administration's powerlessness over a tenured faculty causes a "lack of compelling pressure to improve undergraduate education" that helps explain professors' "casual treatment" of the purposes of undergraduate education, "their neglect of basic courses that develop important skills, their reluctance even to discuss issues of pedagogy, their ignorance of research on student learning, and their unwillingness to pay attention to much of what goes on outside the classroom."

Seems Gary Hull is ahead of the curve.

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Is Founders College the future of college education? Is Harvard going to follow Gary Hull's plan?

Commentary magazine for September 2006 is up on the web. Donald Kagan of Yale writes on what's wrong with Harvard, "As Goes Harvard..." With quotes from Harvard president, Bok, dean of Harvard College, Lewis, etc. the conclusion is Harvard needs to more like Founders College.

No, he didn't say Founders college but every point covered as a problem for Harvard, was covered by what little Dr. Hull has said about what he wants Founders to be....

The detailed comments in the article are very interesting. Thanks for posting this. (For all, here is a pointer to the article in Commentary.)

I can't help but note that, according to the U.S. News & World Report rankings, Harvard is ranked 2nd among the top national universities, right behind Princeton and just ahead of Yale. Pretty sad.

If Hull can deliver on the points at issue, I surely wish him the best. As I have said repeatedly, the proof will be in the result.

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Those college rankings are somewhat pointless, however. US News changes the criteria every year, generally rotating Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Stanford, Duke, MIT, and Caltech around the top three. I wouldn't take it as too much of an indication of anything.

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