About

The James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal is a nonprofit institute dedicated to improving higher education in North Carolina and the nation. Located in Raleigh, North Carolina, it has been an independent 501(c)(3) organization since 2003. It was known as the John W. Pope Center for Higher Education Policy until January 2017.


What We Are Trying to Achieve

Our goals are to improve colleges and universities, especially in North Carolina.

We want to:

  • Increase the diversity of ideas taught, debated, and discussed on campus;
  • Encourage respect for the institutions that underlie economic prosperity and freedom of action and conscience;
  • Increase the quality of teaching and students’ commitment to learning so that they graduate with strong literacy and fundamental knowledge;
  • Encourage cost-effective administration and governance.

To do this we will:

  • Inform parents, students, trustees, alumni, and administrators about actual learning on campus and how it can be improved;
  • Inform taxpayers about the use and impact of their funds;
  • Find ways to acquaint students with ideas that are dismissed or marginalized on campuses today;
  • Be a watchdog for legislative and administrative governance.

What We Do

The university system in the United States has accomplished a great deal of good, but we believe that higher education in the United States, including North Carolina, has strayed from its chief goals of scholarly inquiry and responsible teaching.

All too often, universities allow teaching to become shallow and trendy, failing to challenge students intellectually and disparaging traditional principles of justice, ethics, and liberal education. Students know little about the history of their country or the institutions that led to this nation’s prosperity and liberty. Students can get by without taking rigorous courses, and non-academic activities overshadow scholarship. As a result, many college graduates have poor skills in computation, communication, and logical analysis. Faculty are allowed excessive latitude in what they teach and often get away with little teaching at all, because research is emphasized. Taxpayers as well as students and their families pay hefty prices to support a system that often appears to provide little educational value.

To address these and other problems, the Martin Center conducts studies in areas such as governance, curriculum, financing, access, accountability, faculty research, and administrative policies. We explore ways to increase the accountability of trustees, administrators, faculty, and students. And we engage in the broader dialogue about how to improve higher education around the nation.

In these endeavors, we are motivated by the principles that have traditionally guided public policy in the United States: limits on government; freedom to pursue goals through voluntary means, both for-profit and nonprofit; accountability through private property rights; and the belief that competition is an excellent regulating force.