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ERIC Number: EJ897935
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 2
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0190-2946
Is This Curriculum for Sale?
Zweigenhaft, Richie
Academe, v96 n4 p38-39 Jul-Aug 2010
In June 2009, North Carolina's Guilford College, a small liberal arts college with strong Quaker origins and a decidedly progressive image, announced that it had accepted a large grant from the BB&T Charitable Foundation--$500,000 over a ten-year period. As has been the case at some, but not all, of the colleges and universities that in recent years have received grants from the BB&T Foundation, the money came with specific curricular and extracurricular strings attached. Those strings all connected to Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged," a lengthy, polemical novel that endorses individualism, justifies selfishness, and idealizes capitalism. This article discusses the specific obligations that come with the Guilford grant. It commits the college to offering an upper-level interdisciplinary course titled "The Moral Foundations of Capitalism" once a year for the next ten years. Other readings in the course may vary, but each time the course is taught, it must include the assignment of "Atlas Shrugged." It will also be one of the required readings for those students who have been designated "Ethics of Capitalism Scholars" (the grant includes scholarship money for two to three such students a year). In addition to these curricular commitments, there is a co-curricular commitment: the college agreed (until the year 2019) to provide a copy of "Atlas Shrugged" to every student who majors either in business or in economics when that student enters his or her junior year. Guilford is far from alone in embracing both BB&T's money and its requirements. The BB&T Foundation of North Carolina gave eighteen grants totaling more than $1.3 million to the Ayn Rand Institute of California between 2003 and 2008, according to the Foundation Grants Index. During that time, it also gave 119 grants totaling nearly $9.2 million to more than fifty colleges and universities across the country. Two of the most recent were awarded to High Point University and the University of Maryland in February and March of this year. In accepting the ten-year grant for $500,000, Guilford College has signed on to a multimillion-dollar effort to promote the ideas of "Ayn Rand" and to require some of its students to read "Atlas Shrugged." BB&T has persuaded Guilford College to showcase Rand's ideas about capitalism as if they were among the seminal perspectives in the academic fields of business and economics
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: North Carolina