The Martin Center has won victories for students and citizens—in North Carolina and around the country

Since 2003, the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal has been the voice for state higher education policy reform and excellence in higher education. The Martin Center’s goal is a lofty one: to renew and fulfill the promise of higher education in North Carolina and beyond. 

To get there, Martin Center writers and scholars study and report on critical issues in higher education. We use what we learn to recommend policies that can create change. We’ve led the way for reforms on a variety of issues—from campus free speech to university funding models.

With a team of dedicated policy experts and affiliates, the Martin Center has the vision to renew higher education, with prudent and effective policy solutions. We communicate these solutions to thousands of citizens and stakeholders through our website, newsletters, and social media. Every year, Martin Center experts appear on tv, radio, and podcasts, publish policy research reports and model legislation, and meet with citizens and university stakeholders.

“Whether we agree or not, I learn a lot from your articles, and I think your constructive criticism is valuable for both the university and our taxpayers.”

— Erskine Bowles, former president, the University of North Carolina


“The Martin Center has earned a reputation for well researched and highly detailed positions concerning the pressing issues faced by our university campuses today. Their recommendations for reform of university curricula and policies are at times controversial but always provocative.”

— The Honorable Burley B. Mitchell, Jr., former Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court

“Academics like to comment on the ills of society but not on the ills of their own institution. The Martin Center plays a vital role of thoughtful critic.”

— Roger Meiners, Goolsby Distinguished Professor of Economics and Law, University of Texas at Arlington 

“If you favor higher standards for higher education, and if you believe the goal of diversity should also include some conservative thinkers among the faculty, the Martin Center is on your side.”

— Governor James G. Martin 

Over the years, our work has paid off with major policy victories, improving higher education to benefit students and taxpayers in North Carolina and beyond.

Some of the Martin Center’s most notable accomplishments include:

  • Inspiring new university policies on institutional neutrality, student fees, performance funding, transparency, and partisan activities 
  • Informing discussions in Washington, DC  on student loans and grants by testifying before Congress
  • Informing  legislation on free speech, students’ religious freedom,  board governance, and viewpoint diversity—in North Carolina and beyond
  • Writing model legislation to end political litmus tests that has been used across that country
  • Ending discrimination against men in North Carolina universities by filing complaints with the Office for Civil Rights
  • Holding schools of education accountable for teaching the science of literacy to North Carolina’s future teachers
  • Exposing wasteful and politicized university spending to inform North Carolina’s budget priorities, including strategic cuts to higher education
  • Helping to make the UNC System the best in the country for student speech protections