The Ayn Rand Institute looks like its got its very own university, Founders College, kicking off this year.
For a flavour, here's the Novel course's reading list:
Victor Hugo, Dostoevsky, Ayn Rand, Nathaniel Hawthorne (especially The Scarlet Letter), Quo Vadis, Tolstoy (esp. Anna Karenina), Walter Scott (esp. Ivanhoe), Alexander Dumas, H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, O. Henry, Calumet K, Mickey Spillane, Donald Hamilton, Thomas Wolfe, Balzac, John O’Hara, Frederic Brown, Kafka, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Gone With the Wind, Thomas Mann, Theodore Dreiser, Sinclair Lewis.
Hmmm. Looks like pretty much the usual suspects. No doubt Tolstoy and Thomas Wolfe fans are for the high jump, whereas a suitable appreciation of Mickey Spillane will get you an A+. Not that I'm knocking pulp of course. I'm a big Matt Helm fan myself.
Update: A couple of anonymous comments insist that there is "absolutely no connection" between the ARI and Founders. I based my post on the facts that long time ARI supporter and writer Gary Hull, as Anonymous put it "designed the core curriculum and teacher training, a brilliant achievement in rational education" in addition to recently stepping down as CEO and Chairman, and who is, according to Founders website, staying on as "Chief of Educational Research and Development with responsibilities for cultivating the faculty, developing the curriculum and teacher training, and maintaining the highest level of academic standards" - something that seems to clash with Anonymous' claim that Hull "has no involvement with the operations of the college whatsoever."
Further, Founders' Philosophy Professor Robert Garmong is a regular writer for, and presumably a supporter of, the ARI. Some of his work can be found on the ARI site here, here, and here.
Also, Founders Business Professor Steve Gedeon seems to be a member the ARI-supporting Toronto Objectivist Association, an organisation which also carries Founders opening as a news story on its website. We also find that Robert Garmong, and the presumably related Dina Garmong have also contributed articles and "educational lectures and events" here.
Additionally, Founders Art History Professor Lee Sandstead is also described here as an "Objectivist Art Historian", who has written for The Intellectual Activist during its ARI-endorsed period. Interestingly, two reviews of Sandstead's writing are the only on-line articles in the archives of, you guessed it, the Toronto Objectivist Association. Sandstead also seems to have personally maintained a chronology of Ayn Rand's life and works, and speaks at events promoted by ARI supporters.
Thus we find long term Objectivists, and ARI supporters at that, are at least 50% of the faculty thus far announced, in addition to the college itself being reportedly ARI supporter Gary Hull's "brainchild." Given the extremely small size of the Ayn Rand Institute in the scheme of liberal academia, this composition seems unlikely to be coincidental.
We will also leave aside intriguing hints like the makeup of the reading list, and the general tone and rhetoric of the site itself.
Thus our anonymous commentator's claim - "There is absolutely no connection between ARI and Founders College" - seems itself highly questionable. But then perhaps this is just another of Objectivism's famous "contextual" absolutes. Their other claim - that we are "labeling the college as ARI-related" and that this is "unfair, unsupported and only serves to marginalize something you have not bothered to research" is therefore likewise.
However, in the spirit of open-mindedness, I will add a question mark to the post heading, and rephrase the opening line similarly. And if our anonymous commentators would be prepared to step forward and name themselves, then perhaps we might take their comments a little more seriously.