National Scholars Program

Discussions and Opportunities

Freshman Scholars attend a book discussion with visiting author Dr. Shamus Khan and NSP Faculty Fellow Dr. Sarah Winslow. Book  discussion

Book and Film Discussions

On the recommendation of Scholars, the NSP staff taps an engaging CU professor to coordinate a year-long book discussion series, typically focusing on a single theme (such as upheaval and revolution, the construction of memory). Many Scholars choose to participate in these discussions — even though they carry no academic credit — for their personal intellectual development and to enhance the intellectual life of the NSP community. For select books, students will also watch a film adaptation and discuss the differences between the forms and the choices made by the filmmakers. Past titles discussed are:
  • Howl, Allen Ginsberg (book and film)
  • Slaughterhouse Five, Kurt Vonnegut (book and film)
  • Possession, A.S. Byatt  (book and film)
  • The Remains of the Day, Kazuo Ishiguro (book and film)
  • Sophie's Choice, Alan Pakula (film only)
  • Watchmen, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons (book and film)
  • Everything is illuminated, Jonathan Safran Foer (book and film)
  • The Remains of the Day, Kazuo Ishiguro (book and film)
  • Mrs. Dalloway, Virginia Woolf
  • Small Island, Andrea Levy
  • Atonement, Ian McEwan
  • Bastard Out of Carolina, Dorothy Allison
  • Saturday, Ian McEwan
  • The Golden Compass, Philip Pullman
  • The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood
  • Bel Canto, Ann Patchett
  • Fugitive Days, Bill Ayers
  • Maus, Art Spiegelman
  • The Assassins' Gate: America in Iraq, George Packer
  • The Prince, Niccolo Machiavelli
  • The Quiet American, Graham Greene
  • Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand
  • Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe
  • Saturday, Ian McEwan
  • Generosity, Richard Powers
  • Galatea 2.2, Richard Powers
  • Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Jonathan Safran Foer

News Discussions

The Scholars themselves take the lead on coordinating regular news discussions. A small team polls all Scholars on topics of interest from thew news, then researches the topic and sends short articles to read before the discussion. Again, this is an optional experience that Scholars participate in simply to learn more about the world around them...and each other. Recent topics have included:

  • Confirmations and controversies of Supreme Court nominees Samuel Alito, Harriet Miers, John Roberts
  • Hurricane Katrina and subsequent challenges and controversies
  • 2006, 2008, 2012 elections
  • Nuclear programs in Iran and North Korea
  • Intelligent design in courts
  • Valerie Plame indictments and investigation
  • Palestinian elections and Hamas
  • World reaction to Mohammed editorial cartoon
  • U.S. port security in foreign hands
  • Clemson campus newspaper controversies
  • Immigration reform
  • 2006 mid-term elections
  • Five years after 9/11
  • U.S. policy on, definition of "torture"
  • Changes in college admissions policies
  • Nobel Peace Prize Winner Muhammad Yunus
  • New Media versus Old Media
  • Conflict Diamonds
  • The Biology and Commerce of Beauty
  • The Jena 6 controversy
  • The role of religion and religious institutions in US politics
  • The crisis at the Iraq/Turkey border
  • The constitutional crisis in Pakistan
  • The Mideast peace talks in Annapolis
  • Recent advances in stem cell research
  • Challenges facing women in the professions

Dinner Discussions

When an issue arises in the news or the Scholars want to learn more about a topic, the NSP coordinates a "dinner discussion." These events include top Clemson professors or expert community leaders who give short talks followed by intense Q&A with the Scholars. Past topics include:

  • National security after 9/11
  • Enron, WorldCom and financial scandals on Wall Street
  • Civil liberties after 9/11
  • The future of NASA after the loss of the Space Shuttle Columbia
  • Negotiation strategies
  • Professional etiquette
  • International business-university-government collaboration in research and economic development
  • Cancer research at Clemson
Scholars meet with Moisés Kaufman, author of "The Laramie Project" for a question and answer session before the performance. The Laramie Project


Campus Special Events

When Clemson hosts special visitors, National Scholars are often the first invited to meet them. The NSP staff frequently coordinates small group discussions and teas with Presidential colloquium speakers, government officials, and business leaders. Scholars have met with the following guests, many at events co-sponsored by the NSP:

  • Jane Goodall, primatologist
  • Paul Solman, economics report for PBS Newshour
  • Lee Hamilton, co-chair of the 9/11 commission
  • James Frey, author of A Million Little Pieces
  • Dan Flinter, managing director emeritus of Enterprise Ireland
  • Eugene Jarecki, writer/director of the documentary Why We Fight
  • Ben Bernanke, chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve
  • David Wilkins, U.S. ambassador to Canada
  • John Ikerd, expert on economic and environmental sustainability
  • Gokhan Bacik, professor of politics at Fatih University (Turkey)
  • Deepak Kumar, professor of history of science at Jawaharlal Nehru University (India)
  • Bill Harris, CEO of Science Foundation Arizona
  • Richard Miles, U.S. ambassador to Azerbaijan and Bulgaria
  • Adam Goodheart, author of 1861:The Civil War Awakening
  • Ta-Nehisi Coates, author of The Beautiful Struggle, and senior editor of The Atlantic
  • Dr. Shamus Khan, author of Privilege