Blowing the Boiler of American Education

The need for change in the visual arts may offer a way to fix two of the many fundamental problems afflicting American liberal arts education in general. These are the related problems of grade inflation and providing students with degrees that may lead to a good career. Over the last decade, the number of Americans … Continue reading “Blowing the Boiler of American Education”


The Scuba Model of Higher Education

Scuba diving ought to be very dangerous. Recreational diving involves submerging to depths of up to 60 feet. If something goes wrong at that depth, a quick return to the surface is not an option. Ascending to the surface too quickly will cause decompression sickness, which can be deadly. The diver needs to solve any … Continue reading “The Scuba Model of Higher Education”


Regional Colleges Can Compete by Emphasizing Choosing the Right Major

The wage premium attached to a bachelor’s degree largely explains why high school graduates who would have previously looked for a job now apply to college. But they need to know up-front that what they major in has far more importance in landing a well-paying job than where they spend the next four years. For … Continue reading “Regional Colleges Can Compete by Emphasizing Choosing the Right Major”


To Close the Skills Gap, Create Industry-Vetted Certificate Programs for Students

Even though experts believe college is still worth the cost, employers question the value to their businesses. Many believe college degrees do not provide graduates with the skills needed in today’s workplace. In a 2014 survey of over 600 business leaders, only 11 percent strongly agreed that college graduates had the skills their companies needed. The majority believed that universities … Continue reading “To Close the Skills Gap, Create Industry-Vetted Certificate Programs for Students”


Leaving the Blight of Higher Education: Part II–Farewell, Faculty

Editor’s note: This is the second of a two-part essay; part I can be read here. The previous essay dealt with the moral decline of the student body in higher education—one of the motives behind my recent retirement after three decades of teaching college English. When I began teaching, most of the English faculty members, … Continue reading “Leaving the Blight of Higher Education: Part II–Farewell, Faculty”


Is Academic Reform for Insiders Only?

“Reform” is an appealing word, suggesting change intended for the better. It is frequently used in discussions of higher education. Critics, especially conservative ones, point out visible cracks in the Ivory Tower and demand that they be “reformed.” Politicians do the same. And deep-pocketed donors have their own ideas of what higher education should be, … Continue reading “Is Academic Reform for Insiders Only?”


The Uncertain Future of Coding Boot Camps

Students are enrolling in coding “boot camps” at record rates, with the number of graduates increasing from about 2,200 in 2013 to an estimated 23,000 in 2017. However, the booming popularity of coding schools was not enough to prevent two prominent ones, Dev Bootcamp and The Iron Yard, from closing down recently. Coding boot camps … Continue reading “The Uncertain Future of Coding Boot Camps”


Closing the Gap at North Carolina’s Historically Black Universities

Earlier this month, the Triangle Business Journal revealed that graduates from North Carolina’s Historically Black College and Universities (HBCUs) are lagging their peers in terms of median salary after graduation. As the state bolsters its efforts to attract more students to its public HBCUs, it’s especially important to discover the cause of such disparities and … Continue reading “Closing the Gap at North Carolina’s Historically Black Universities”


The "gainful employment" rule won’t make students better off by decimating the for-profit sector

At the end of October, the Department of Education released its much-awaited "gainful employment" rule. It is supposed to fix (or at least lessen) the problem that many students who pursue vocational training with federal student aid money wind up without a job that pays well enough for them to cover their loans.