CU-Boulder opens search for scholar in conservative thought, policy

Visiting scholar to be housed in College of Arts and Sciences
By Staff

The University of Colorado Boulder announced Tuesday the start of a national search for the inaugural Visiting Scholar in Conservative Thought and Policy.

An advisory committee of five faculty members and five community members is soliciting letters of interest and curriculum vitae for the position, which will be housed in CU-Boulder’s College of Arts and Sciences. The committee seeks a “highly visible” scholar who is “deeply engaged in either the analytical scholarship or practice of conservative thinking and policymaking, or both.”

Applicants could come from academic, military, media or policy communities, said CU-Boulder Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano, who added that he is supportive of the position and intrigued by its possibilities.

“I am excited that we are piloting a Visiting Scholar in Conservative Thought and Policy,” DiStefano said. “The position will add a fresh dimension to CU-Boulder’s long tradition of debate and discussion, and encourages our students to engage in critical thinking and civic discourse.”

Hank Brown – former CU President, U.S. senator and committee member – said the visiting scholar would add “breadth to the education that students get at the university.”

Search committee member Susan K. Kent, CU professor and chair of history, concurred.

“We are looking for a person who has spent her or his career thinking and writing about conservative thought and policy,” she said. “We are looking for a scholar or practitioner, someone with a solid track record of thoughtful analysis in areas such as philosophy, political science, economics, foreign policy, the military, sociology and/or history.”

The visiting scholar is expected to teach at least one course per semester and offer public lectures, public seminars and/or informal discussions with students and the public, Kent noted.

“The visiting scholar will do what we expect our regular faculty to do: present issues and problems in all their complexity and allow students to use their critical-thinking skills to arrive at their own judgments,” she added.

Kent said a candidate need not necessarily have a Ph.D., but is expected to have a publication record equivalent to that of a tenured CU professor, or, in the case of a practitioner, a body of knowledge and experience that positions that person as an expert.

Optimally, the visiting scholar would provide a view that spans diverse academic disciplines, said Earl Wright, CEO of AMG National Trust Bank and a non-faculty committee member.

Wright described the visiting scholar as an “entrepreneurial” initiative, and he described CU-Boulder as an unusually entrepreneurial institution. “If there’s an institution that can make this work, it’s CU-Boulder.”

Non-university committee members include: David Pyle, founder and CEO of American Career College; Mike Rosen, political commentator on 850 KOA and in The Denver Post; Bob Greenlee, former Boulder City Council member and mayor, and president of Centennial Investment and Management Company Inc.; Brown; and Wright.

CU faculty members on the committee include: Vanessa Baird, associate professor of political science; David S. Brown, professor and chair of political science; Bradley Monton, associate professor of philosophy; Murat Iyigun, professor of economics; and Kent.

The Visiting Scholar in Conservative Thought and Policy is a three-year pilot program supported by private funds. More than 20 donors have raised $1 million to support the program.

The concept was originally discussed in 2007 as an endowed chair requiring up to $9 million in donations. The economic recession that began in 2008 prompted the university to scale back the plan.

The committee will recommend a sole nominee by a majority vote. Keith Maskus, associate dean of social sciences and professor of economics, will chair the committee but will not vote.

The committee’s recommendation will need the approval of the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, the Boulder campus chancellor and the CU Board of Regents.

The committee hopes to have the first scholar on campus by 2013.