Many, perhaps most, Americans are just now waking up to the meaning of “woke.” What does “woke” have to do with looting, bricks, fires, and blood in Portland, Seattle, and Minneapolis? One asks oneself, “Am I woke (good)? Or not woke (evil)? How woke is woke, how much wokeness is enough, and who decides?” In … Continue reading “Woke Me When It’s Over”
The title of this article alludes to Joan Didion’s famous essay about “love and death in the golden land,” a cautionary tale about the wreckage left behind when dreams collide with reality. Historically, California has always attracted dreamers and today one of the state’s biggest dreamers is Governor Jerry Brown, who once said, “A politician … Continue reading “A Dreamer of the Golden Dream: Jerry Brown’s Future for Higher Education”
Famed literary critic George Steiner once said that cultural knowledge allows one to “resist” and that “no one can make a zombie of you if you carry [cultural knowledge] inside of you.” Today, Steiner’s argument for cultural education is being severely tested. Just how little today’s students know about their own cultures was brought home … Continue reading “The High Cost of Cultural Amnesia”
Educational fads always come with a shelf life; the implacable resistance of reality eventually makes them expire. Usually, the promised educational miracle has done more harm than good. The wreckage is all around us: the Self-Esteem Movement, Students Right to Their Own Language, Whole Language, Whole Math, Multiple Learning Styles, Guide On the Side Not … Continue reading “Student Learning Outcomes and the Decline of American Education”
The American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) advises trustees and alumni about higher education issues, identifies “oases of [educational] excellence,” and examines graduation requirements at various colleges to answer the question “What Will They Learn?” In that report, ACTA scrutinizes each college’s curriculum, looking for seven requirements: composition, literature, foreign language, U.S. history, economics, … Continue reading “A New College Makes the (ACTA) Grade”
One should wish to “do no harm.” Reason must prevail. Professors should take steps to protect the truly damaged, but students who think they are emotionally triggered by imaginary, supernatural beings with magical powers would be better served by paying a visit to the campus health center.
Without tenure, higher education would become even more of a progressive echo chamber.
Do we still need the humanities? Yes, now more than ever. But the current academicization, politicization, and jargon mean that college may be the worst place to look for them. That’s where you go for Queerness, libidinal data, and negotiated flesh. On the bright side, it may be that the liberal arts and humanities will flourish once they escape the airless vaults of academia.
Here is how academics ruined the critical thinking movement
A book by a British professor fails to find good arguments for teaching the humanities.