Ashbrook Named an Oasis of Excellence

December 24, 2020

The Ashbrook Center at Ashland University has been named one of over 50 Oases of Excellence by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA). The Oases of Excellence project recognizes university-based programs that promote the study of American history, government, and political theory. The Oases of Excellence project also aims to introduce these outstanding programs to a wider audience.

“These programs are an effective way to change the culture of the academy from the inside,” said ACTA president Anne Neal. “Instead of blindly writing checks, it is time donors target their giving to initiatives that provide students with a broad-based education in foundational texts and ideas.”

Ashbrook Executive Director Jeff Sikkenga expressed gratitude for the honor of being included in the 50 Oases of Excellence. Sikkenga explained, “Like other university-based programs ACTA recognized, Ashbrook encourages the study of primary source documents.  Ashbrook Scholars – our undergraduate honors program – challenges students to read and discuss great texts from Aristotle to Jefferson.”

Sikkenga added, “Ashbrook has published dozens of volumes to help restore America’s historical understanding. From our flagship 50 Core American Documents volume to our more recent Core Documents series that covers every facet of American History and Government from The American Founding, to The Civil War, to Race and Civil Rights, our goal is to provide students, teachers, and students with direct access to the primary documents that tell the entirety of America’s story. Only with this direct access can young Americans learn to think for themselves and understand our history through their own reason rather than someone else’s distorted narrative.”

In addition, Ashbrook conducts education programs for high school teachers that encourage them to cut the tether to textbooks and teach American History and Civics with primary source documents.  “We’ve been able to reach over 33,000 teachers in all 50 states through our online resources at, webinars, weekend seminars, one-day seminars, and our Masters in American History and Government program.”

Like other organizations in the Oases of Excellence directory, Ashbrook is working to engage alumni and supporters, by transforming higher education in America and advancing liberal arts education through American history and Western civilization.

ACTA is an independent, non-profit organization committed to promoting academic freedom, excellence, and accountability at America’s colleges and universities by targeted support to organizations across the country.

Ashbrook is an independent center at Ashland University dedicated by President Ronald Reagan in 1983. The mission of the Ashbrook Center is to strengthen constitutional self-government by educating our fellow Americans—students, teachers, and citizens—in the history and Founding principles of our country and the habits of reflection and choice necessary to perpetuate our republic.