6. Frequently Asked Questions

In developing this proposal and sharing it with trusted friends, a number of questions have been posed. All have been very useful in refining this proposal.

6.1. Will it be possible to find suitable persons and institution for the Steering Committee in a cost effective manner?
6.2. Will it not be a problem finding enough persons who share Hillsdales values to form a steering committee?
6.3. This program is tied to Hillsdale college with it's historical connection to protestant religion and values and enlightenment philosophy. Given that Ecuador is a Catholic country will this not be a problem? Will this make it difficult to form a Steering Committee?
6.4. Hillsdale makes a big point being independent of influence from government entities. This has resulted in Hillsdale being excluded from any US Government funding. This is what makes a program like this one necessary. It also may make the institution suspect in the view of some currently dominant political groups and perhaps the US Government itself. This actually is one of the main features that has attracted me to this institution. It could exclude this program from any being a candidate for collaboration with any US institutions such as local consulate. Is this a problem?
6.5. Hillsdale was founded by free will baptists and while non-denominational, there appears to be a religious undercurrent ... which could be an issue for Catholics, though the pictures show a Jewish observant—so that this might be a non-issue.
6.6. What is not clear is the ethnic diversity of the student body and faculty. They filled out no data for the comparison.
6.7. Generally where there is a cadre of Latins, other Latins feel more welcome. However, if there are very few with few ethnic faculty, then a couple relatively less advantaged Ecuadoreans could really stand out and be isolated. How is the school structured for this population or is it not yet ready. We would want to have a program where kids feel welcome and not exceptional. There is also an issue of economic mix disparity-with our kids on scholarship and other ethnics might be super rich, not really allowing a mix. These issues concern me as my daughter went to a small liberal arts school-Middlebury. There were very few ethnic students and few ethnic faculty and they really were apart from the rest. There she felt some racism and she is clearly half Gringa. To have successful program, students must be successful and that means happy.
6.8. With the current political climate and with Michigan being a red state we must be careful that our students are not treated poorly.
6.9. What are the entrance requirements to Hillsdale College? SAT/ACT/other/essays/personal interview/obviously serviceable English? This is a daunting, tough and very time consuming process. Clearly, the job is not done here until the two candidates are accepted and have arrived in Michigan and are enrolled. That is a lengthy process and full of potential missteps and mis-communications.
6.10. Also, until the person has the appropriate student visa(another full and expensive process), has the ticket and all the personal gear ready to go to travel to Hillsdale is another nine yards. Probably most candidates will have never left Ecuador, so there will be the normal angst of that trip which must be managed. They will probably need help with the acquisition of a PC perhaps best done in Michigan.
6.11. I believe you would need the right kind of coordinator here to manage all these details to assure that two qualified persons are finally enrolled.

6.1.

Will it be possible to find suitable persons and institution for the Steering Committee in a cost effective manner?

I'm not really sure. This is our first attempt.

6.2.

Will it not be a problem finding enough persons who share Hillsdales values to form a steering committee?

Some persons may find Hillsdales values out of fashion and/or off putting, I don't think this will be a big problem. The main appeal of the program is the quality of the education that Hillsdale provides. Not any particular ideology. It focuses on teaching critical skills and universal values rather then indoctrinating students with specific ideas.

6.3.

This program is tied to Hillsdale college with it's historical connection to protestant religion and values and enlightenment philosophy. Given that Ecuador is a Catholic country will this not be a problem? Will this make it difficult to form a Steering Committee?

I investigated this very question on my visit. I believe that my report along with Hillsdales web page information address any such concerns more than satisfactorily.

6.4.

Hillsdale makes a big point being independent of influence from government entities. This has resulted in Hillsdale being excluded from any US Government funding. This is what makes a program like this one necessary. It also may make the institution suspect in the view of some currently dominant political groups and perhaps the US Government itself. This actually is one of the main features that has attracted me to this institution. It could exclude this program from any being a candidate for collaboration with any US institutions such as local consulate. Is this a problem?

I can only speculate on the answer to this question at this point. We'll just have to wait and see. I doubt that we'll get any issues from the Ecuadorean Government on this point as my recollection is that the Ecuadoreans are proud of their relative independence from US Government influence.

In any case, In my presentation where Hillsdale is mentioned, I intend to put primary emphasis on the high quality of the educational experience - for which there is ample evidence. I don't spend a lot of time on the above issues related politics of higher education in the United States.

6.5.

Hillsdale was founded by free will baptists and while non-denominational, there appears to be a religious undercurrent ... which could be an issue for Catholics, though the pictures show a Jewish observant—so that this might be a non-issue.

the page: https://www.hillsdale.edu/about/college-profile/ has a bunch of useful data. Under "Type of College" it lists Four-year, independent, classical liberal arts, coeducational, residential, nonsectarian Christian

6.6.

What is not clear is the ethnic diversity of the student body and faculty. They filled out no data for the comparison.

I wouldn't expect detailed statistics on ethnicity as that would run counter to the values that the institution supports. This includes rejection of tenets of identity politics and emphasis on merit as a criteria in admissions, grading, etc. This same page shows total undergrad count of 1466 students including students from 14 different countries. Note that currently there are no students from Latin America.

6.7.

Generally where there is a cadre of Latins, other Latins feel more welcome. However, if there are very few with few ethnic faculty, then a couple relatively less advantaged Ecuadoreans could really stand out and be isolated. How is the school structured for this population or is it not yet ready. We would want to have a program where kids feel welcome and not exceptional. There is also an issue of economic mix disparity-with our kids on scholarship and other ethnics might be super rich, not really allowing a mix. These issues concern me as my daughter went to a small liberal arts school-Middlebury. There were very few ethnic students and few ethnic faculty and they really were apart from the rest. There she felt some racism and she is clearly half Gringa. To have successful program, students must be successful and that means happy.

Right. This is why I don't believe ethnic divisions should be promoted. In the current context I think it should be addressed on a case by case basis. That is if a student doesn't feel comfortable unless his ethnicity is explicitly considered in some way, this would likely not be a good program for him. Hillsdale explicitly states that merit is the only appropriate measure to be used in judging students. This is one reason that it is prohibited from accepting any funding from the US government. Students which attend will have to adjust to this way of thinking and find a way to reconcile this with the ideas currently in vogue. They will have to learn to think for themselves. Yeah - life will likely be a little harder for them - but they'll more likely get a real education.

6.8.

With the current political climate and with Michigan being a red state we must be careful that our students are not treated poorly.

LOL - of course I've got another view. I think that the treatment of most students in US universities today amounts to intellectual equivalent of abuse of adolescents. Their web site: https://www.hillsdale.edu along with the information in the public domain you've found make me comfortable that the only agenda of this institution is teach young people how to think for themselves. This outlook is sadly lacking in most US institutions of higher learning.

6.9.

What are the entrance requirements to Hillsdale College? SAT/ACT/other/essays/personal interview/obviously serviceable English? This is a daunting, tough and very time consuming process. Clearly, the job is not done here until the two candidates are accepted and have arrived in Michigan and are enrolled. That is a lengthy process and full of potential missteps and mis-communications.

I'm afraid I don't have more specific requirements regarding admission requirements. I'm guessing that test scores would be a big part of it as GPA across countries, school types, etc are very hard to use for comparison. Also the recommendation of the local Steering Committee might play a big role.

6.10.

Also, until the person has the appropriate student visa(another full and expensive process), has the ticket and all the personal gear ready to go to travel to Hillsdale is another nine yards. Probably most candidates will have never left Ecuador, so there will be the normal angst of that trip which must be managed. They will probably need help with the acquisition of a PC perhaps best done in Michigan.

I should note that Hillsdale has a highly structured environment for at least the first two years. All students are required to live at the on campus dormitory for at least 2 years. They are accustomed to provide support and supervision for such students. I envision a requirement that scholarship recipients accept campus employment of 10 hrs/week. There is also a requirement some sort of service. The financial aid setup contemplates all the issues above are handled by the college. That is another reason why this college is well suited as a destination. I believe that all these issues are addressed by the financial aid package administered by the college. They take a very proactive role in "managing" their students. Not something that I would have preferred when I was their age, but I think it works well for our purposes. I'm very confident that If we get them prepared so they can be accepted, the rest can be handled by the staff at Hillsdale.

6.11.

I believe you would need the right kind of coordinator here to manage all these details to assure that two qualified persons are finally enrolled.

I understand your concerns here. But I think it's too early to firm up these sort of details. In the course of talking with prospective "plan administrator", I think (with help and collaboration with my contacts at Hillsdale) we can make an agreement that will satisfy everyone.