UF names new director for 1-year-old civics education center

Gainesville, FL, USA - May 11, 2016: An entrance to the Universi
The new center started offering classes this past spring.

A new leader is coming to the University of Florida’s Hamilton Center for Classical and Civic Education, which was inaugurated just last July as an effort to improve political diversity at the state’s flagship university.

Dr. William Inboden will be moving to Gainesville from the University of Texas-Austin, after 10 years as the “founding director” of the Clements Center for National Security there, “the premiere (sic) institution for research and teaching of history, strategy, and statecraft,” according to its website.

The center is named for William J. Clements Jr., a former Texas Governor and deputy defense director under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford.

His salary, including base and administrative supplement, will be $360,000, university officials said.

“Dr. Inboden is an outstanding scholar and teacher,” UF President Ben Sasse said of the center’s new head. A prepared statement from UF continued: “We are thrilled to welcome him. … The Hamilton Center is an important part of UF’s interdisciplinary commitment to rigorous scholarship, to excellent teaching, and to intellectual diversity.”

UF’s center is named after Alexander Hamilton, one of the nation’s founding fathers. So far, it’s received $13 million in state appropriations, with $10 million appropriated this Session.

Remaking the state’s public colleges and universities had been a stated goal for Gov. Ron DeSantis as he decried trendy ideologies and the “cultural Marxism” he says have taken over education. State college Presidents signed a statement rejecting diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). Lawmakers passed legislation (SB 266) last Session that defunded DEI programs.

Inboden is “overjoyed” to accept his new position, according to a news release from UF.

“I … am honored to lead the Hamilton Center’s next phase of growth into a college within the University of Florida,” Inboden’s prepared statement said. “The mission of the Hamilton Center — of research and teaching on the knowledge, skills, and values that undergird a free society — could not be more vital in our present moment.”

The inaugural director of the Hamilton Center, John Stinneford, has asked to transition back to the faculty of the Levin College of Law, while remaining as a “senior fellow” of the Hamilton Center, the release said.

Under his leadership, the release said, the Hamilton Center has hired nine tenured or tenure-track faculty and an additional 10 lecturers, visiting faculty, and postdoctoral fellows; developed six undergraduate courses; and established the “Hamilton Fellows” program.

The Center started offering classes in the spring term, which just concluded.

The six classes offered were “Happiness and Well-Being” and literary deep dives into Nicomachean Ethics, the “Political writings of Rousseau,” John Milton’s “Paradise Lost,” Homer’s “The Odyssey,” and Dante’s “Purgatorio.”

The Hamilton Center also hosted an event, “What is Western Civilization?” discussion between two professors, Anthony Grafton of Princeton and James Hankins of Harvard.

The Chronicle of Higher Education profiled the new center in February, noting its unique structure outside the rest of UF’s programs and departments and its creation through the advocacy of the nonprofit “Council on Public University Reform” which has virtually no public profile.

The article says it started with a “provocative proposal,” in a six-page Word document saying the center’s fundamental mission would be to seek truth that is threatened by “cancel culture and uniformity of opinion on campus.”

The description has echoes of the Governor’s definition of “woke,” which he describes as a “war on the truth.”

Inboden, whose master’s and doctorate degrees are from Yale University, is an expert in the U.S. presidency, the Cold War, grand strategy, history and statecraft, and religion and international affairs, UF officials said. An author of numerous books, book chapters, journal articles, essays and op-eds, Inboden most recently published the book “The Peacemaker: Ronald Reagan, the Cold War, and the World on the Brink.”

Inboden’s commentary has appeared in numerous outlets including The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, POLITICO, The Hill, National Review, World Weekly Standard, NPR, CNN and BBC, according to UF’s release.

Before academia, he served in several policy positions, including the National Security Council staff at the White House, the State Department, and as a staff member in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, the release also said.

___

A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics contributed to this report.

Anne Geggis

Anne Geggis is a South Florida journalist who began her career in Vermont and has worked at the Sun-Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal and the Gainesville Sun covering government issues, health and education. She was a member of the Sun-Sentinel team that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Parkland high school shooting. You can reach her on Twitter @AnneBoca or by emailing [email protected].


One comment

  • Dont Say FLA

    June 12, 2023 at 3:07 pm

    Who exactly is indoctrinating 1 year olds on how civics is supposed to work? Moms For Liberty, I’ll guess.

Comments are closed.


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