The Daniel Webster Program at Dartmouth College:

I am delighted to announce the new Daniel Webster Program at Dartmouth College. Headed up by Dartmouth Government Professor James Murphy, the program will host lectures, conferences, and provide curriculum counseling for students seeking to study Western Civilization. The precise focus of the program reflects Jim's particular interests--the continuity of thought from the Ancients to the Moderns.

This Friday the Webster Program will have its first "Janus Lecturer," Anthony Kronman, who will lecture on his book "Education's End." I read Dean Kronman's book back in the fall and found it to be a terrific and stimulating work. His chapter on the terrible influence of political correctness on education, and especially the humanities, is an especially valuable and original chapter.

I wish Professor Murphy and all those affiliated with the Webster Program all the best. This is a splendid undertaking and I am extremely pleased that it has come about. I wish that we had this when I was a student!

When I was in college I didn't have strong views on the value of a core curriculum (we didn't have one, of course). After going to law school, however, I have become a believer in the value of some sort of core curriculum or common learning experience. In my opinion first year of law school is one of the most effective learning experiences that students can have in their educational career, and one reason is because the first year of law school is essentially a core curriculum. Students take all of the same classes and wrestle with all of the same new concepts. Equally important, this provides students with a common currency of concepts and educational challenges, such that the out of classroom experience reinforces the in-class experience. Students start finding themselves talking about cases and using concepts outside of their class time. One difficulty with upper-class learning in law school, I think, is that the curriculum quickly becomes fragmented such that students are no longer taking the same classes and being exposed to the same set of concepts.

I think that undergraduate education would similarly benefit from having some similar sort of common learning experience.