PHC: Wrapping up year one
by Michael P. Farris, Esq., PHC President
It's been an exciting year for Patrick Henry College's 88-student inaugural class, our 14 faculty members, and 14 staff. As we wrap up our second semester, we are pressing ahead to expand opportunities for our students and the greater PHC community.
Some of the research currently in the works by PHC students
Analysis of the Loudoun County Budget. The chairman of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors has requested student assistance in analyzing the proposed budget. The county administrator has proposed a substantial increase in the budget and local taxes. The board wants to identify areas where cuts can be made.
Judicial Selection. A coalition of conservative groups would like to influence the selection of judges to fill upcoming vacancies in the federal courts. PHC students will help investigate potential nominees to the bench and prepare a packet of information that could be used to advertise the qualifications of particularly attractive candidates.
Corporal punishment by foster and adoptive parents. The Commonwealth of Virginia currently requires all prospective foster care and adoptive parents to sign a pledge that they will not use corporal punishment on children placed in their care. Conservatives on the state board of social services are trying to change this policy to prohibit only "abusive" corporal punishment. PHC professor of government Dr. Stanley Watson has been appointed to a state advisory committee created to advise the board of social services on these issues. Students will help Dr. Watson research issues related to the law on corporal punishment and child abuse as well as existing scientific studies on the effects of corporal punishment.
Karen orphans trapped on the Thai-Burma border. Students who traveled with Dr. Paul Bonicelli to Thailand in January to conduct research on the Karen and Karenni tribes of Burma are continuing their work. A large number of the two tribes are Christians who, under persecution by the Burmese military government, have fled to refugee camps on the Thailand side of the border. They are trapped without passports or any identification that would allow them to immigrate. The students' goal is to prepare documentation on the plight of the orphans that can be used to persuade congressional and executive branch officials to permit the orphans to come to the United States where adoptive families await them.
First, we are offering a series of summer institutes or camps for teens in June. (See Capital Focus Teen Camps) We'll offer four camps, each focused on a theme—Journalism, the American Founders, Constitutional Law, and Political Activism. Teens aged 14 to 18 will spend one week learning from PHC professors and other experts, bringing classroom presentations to life through relevant field trips in the DC area. Attendees will be exposed to what professionals do in these fields by actually trying their hand at various projects.
PHC will also add an apprenticeship track in journalism this fall to our Government major. Students who choose to focus on news writing and reporting will take courses in writing and editing, then complete their apprenticeship under the tutelage of an in-house experienced journalism professor. They will write and edit news for various news outlets, gaining valuable experience to jumpstart a career in journalism.
The apprenticeship program for the public policy track of the Government major continues to move ahead rapidly. We have received several requests for research from government and public policy offices at state, local, and national levels. Before this semester is out, students will have conducted research on projects requested from the U.S. Congress, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and various think tanks and interest groups. (For descriptions of the projects, see sidebar at right.)
Finally, the college is pleased to announce that God has blessed us with 66 additional acres of land adjacent to the original college site, enabling us to expand the college to its fullest potential. This property will hold all of the buildings we will need, including eventually the law school, married student housing, and more classroom buildings. We are very grateful for all of the generous donors who made this purchase possible.
For the latest on PHC projects and admissions information, please visit our website, www.phc.edu.