The Intercollegiate Studies Institute, Inc., or (ISI), is a non-profit educational organization founded in 1953. According to ISI, more than 50,000 college students and faculty across the United States are members. As members, these individuals take advantage of programs designed to supplement a collegiate education and to provide access to resources that will help one achieve a genuine liberal arts education, which the organization defines as an education based primarily on the works of influential men and women in the European and Christian traditions.
The organization is typically considered paleoconservative, with Roman Catholic affiliations. In fact, the very reason given for the existence of ISI is that education in the modern university is insufficiently liberal (in the traditional sense) to meet the needs of a classical education. Further, the organization fights political correctness and liberal bias among campus professors.
In a speech to the Heritage Foundation [date unknown], the ISI President, T. Kenneth Cribb Jr., stated:
We must...provide resources and guidance to an elite which can take up anew the task of enculturation. Through its journals, lectures, seminars, books and fellowships, this is what ISI has done successfully for 36 years. The coming of age of such elites has provided the current leadership of the conservative revival. But we should add a major new component to our strategy: the conservative movement is now mature enough to sustain a counteroffensive on that last Leftist redoubt, the college campus...We are now strong enough to establish a contemporary presence for conservatism on campus, and contest the Left on its own turf. We plan to do this by greatly expanding the ISI field effort, its network of campus-based programming.
A young Yale University graduate, William F. Buckley Jr., was ISI's first president. The current president, T. Kenneth Cribb, a former Reagan administration official, has led the institute since 1989 and is credited with vastly expanding ISI's revenue.
ISI runs a number of programs organized to fight alleged political correctness and liberal bias on collegiate campuses. First, it organizes campus conservative groups into a national overhead organization under ISI and maintains contact with the groups, in much the same way as the Leadership Institute. Second, it holds the yearly "Polly Awards" which sheds media scrutiny on questionable campus events across the nation .
In providing what ISI calls a "classically liberal education" to its member students, ISI runs other programs. It publishes a number of "Student's Guide to..." books, including A Student's Guide to Liberal Learning, providing a classical introduction into several disciplines . Second, it holds events such as conferences that feature prominent conservative speakers and academics, and provides funding for students to attend these conferences. With some of the funding, ISI is affiliated with the Liberty Fund.
Every year, ISI holds its summer Honors Program for exceptional conservative students, and offer transportation and room and board free of charge for students to participate in a colloquium usually held in Oxford, England .
In the summer of 2005, ISI Books, the imprint of the Institute, published It Takes a Family: Conservatism and the Common Good, by Pennsylvania Republican Senator Rick Santorum, which premiered at #13 on the New York Times best sellers list. The controversial book has once again gained the focus of state and national attention during the 2006 reelection campaign of Senator Santorum.
One of the Institute's stated goals is placement of conservative and libertarian student newspapers on major college campuses in America. Each year, the Institute funds new campus publications, and administers a network of existing papers .
- Article Discussing the Collegiate Network, circa 1996