Ken Starr to universities: Regain your soul

Colleges and universities must return to a “classical view” of higher education built on religion, morality, wisdom, and knowledge. That was the argument proffered by Baylor University President Ken Starr during a speech Oct. 3 in Cary, North Carolina.

Sponsored by the Pope Center for Higher Education Policy, the talk covered a range of topics. But Starr, an attorney and former federal judge best known for leading investigations surrounding President Bill Clinton in the 1990s, focused on three main steps to revitalize higher education: educating with a rigorous curriculum, educating for wisdom, and educating for freedom.

“Higher education needs to be a transformational experience aimed toward the good life, the virtuous life, the wise life,” Starr said.

To underscore the need for a more rigorous academic environment, Starr cited statistics showing that today’s college students spend an average of 27-hours per week studying outside the classroom, compared to an average of 40-hours per week in the past.

Starr also emphasized the importance of students and academics encouraging freedom at home and abroad. One practical way to do that, he said, is by engaging in the free market.

“The free market promotes human flourishing in a very practical way,” he said.

Peter Hans, Chairman of the UNC Board of Governors, also joined Starr during a panel discussion moderated by Pope Center Director of Research George Leef.

Click here to watch a video of the speech and discussion.