A Perennial Question: What Makes a Good College Teacher?

Each generation returns the same complaints: college teachers drone, college teachers lack creativity and spark, nay, they often lack even rudimentary pedagogical awareness. And since the ascendance of what William James coined the “PhD Octopus” of credentialism and narrowed specialization, far too many see their work with students as an impediment to their research. Look … Continue reading “A Perennial Question: What Makes a Good College Teacher?”


Derek Bok’s Higher Expectations – Our Colleges Should Accomplish More

Former Harvard president Derek Bok has long lamented that our institutions of higher education largely underperform in their missions. He has now written another book making that argument. His Higher Expectations is a coolly rational analysis of what needs to be done to improve American undergraduate education. He uses as his frame a study by … Continue reading “Derek Bok’s Higher Expectations – Our Colleges Should Accomplish More”


How Can Professors Inspire Students to Want to Learn?

COVID-19 has revolutionized how we think about online college teaching. Until last spring, two perspectives predominated. One argued that massively enrolled online classes presented by impressive teachers or prestigious universities would increase efficiency while preserving quality. The other worried about the quality of online classes, and that the gap between those able to afford in-person … Continue reading “How Can Professors Inspire Students to Want to Learn?”


True Learning Starts With Real Mentorship

There’s a chasm between the purpose of a liberal arts education and how many colleges and universities actually operate. Throughout academia, excessive value is placed on efficiency, research publications, and prestige—things that are, at best, ancillary to a liberal education’s central purpose of growing in wisdom and pursuing truth. Consequently, instead of focusing on nurturing … Continue reading “True Learning Starts With Real Mentorship”


The Case Against the Cult of Critical Thinking

To speak against critical thinking in today’s academy is comparable to denying the divinity of Jesus in the medieval church—it’s heterodox. Not only does it rail against the values of contemporary scholarship, it may even be foolish in light of today’s students. Isn’t the lack of critical thinking the problem in modern society? Here’s how … Continue reading “The Case Against the Cult of Critical Thinking”