A Conversation with UNC-Chapel Hill’s New Provost, Chris Clemens

Late last year, UNC-Chapel Hill’s chancellor, Kevin Guskiewicz, announced the appointment of the university’s new executive vice chancellor and provost, Christopher “Chris” Clemens. Clemens, who officially began his new role on February 1, has had a long career at UNC, having first joined the Department of Physics and Astronomy as an astrophysicist in 1998. He’s … Continue reading “A Conversation with UNC-Chapel Hill’s New Provost, Chris Clemens”


Placing Limits on Faculty Speech

Editor’s note: This is part 2 of a two-part series of articles. Part 1 can be found here.  What are the boundaries of the “fitness” standard for faculty employment in regard to the extramural comments of faculty? (These are comments made about the world beyond the campus.) Some argue that there are none, that professors … Continue reading “Placing Limits on Faculty Speech”


“Death by a Thousand Cuts”: Professor Files Lawsuit Against NC State University

Incidents of academics being targeted for their views are on the rise, according to a new report by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). FIRE notes that the number of targeting cases has sharply increased from 24 incidents in 2015 to 113 in 2020. Unfortunately, that trend doesn’t appear to be slowing down … Continue reading ““Death by a Thousand Cuts”: Professor Files Lawsuit Against NC State University”


Is it Time to Rethink Tenure?

In a recent article for the Martin Center, Duke professor Mike Munger asked an important question: should “a political board composed of nonacademics…be empowered to evaluate faculty proposals on hiring and curriculum in the first place?” He argued that, in practice, boards have already ceded that authority. For many years, shared governance, at least on … Continue reading “Is it Time to Rethink Tenure?”


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”


Mental Health and the Professoriate During the Pandemic

Remember the stereotype of the lazy college professor living an almost stress-free life while enjoying tenure, virtually a sinecure, often supported by taxpayer dollars? Tomes and articles identifying examples of this professor abound. Along with this job protection comes the opportunity to impose political correctness with impunity. Try telling that story to true contrarians. For … Continue reading “Mental Health and the Professoriate During the Pandemic”


Covid-19 College Shutdowns: Making Professors More Empathetic

The COVID-19 pandemic has been an equalizer among parents of school-aged children across the United States. As Americans learn to juggle jobs, families, and their children’s education, this experience is revealing what “normal” looks like for many college students who have done the same long before the pandemic hit. In 2015, for example, my brother … Continue reading “Covid-19 College Shutdowns: Making Professors More Empathetic”


The Purely Imaginary ‘Rightward Transformation’ in Higher Education

One of the most peculiar claims to gain currency in higher education holds that academia has become captive to nefarious monied interests on the political right. Writings in this genre almost always hail from scholars on the left, and attribute a variety of problems in the academy—both real and imagined—to the ulterior-motived influence of conservative … Continue reading “The Purely Imaginary ‘Rightward Transformation’ in Higher Education”


The Diversity Distortion

In 1996, Alan Sokal, a professor of physics, submitted a hoax article to Social Text, a journal of postmodern cultural studies, which published it. Last year, in what became known as the Sokal Squared hoax, James Lindsay, Helen Pluckrose, and Peter Boghossian created 20 fake papers that they submitted to several cultural studies journals. Seven … Continue reading “The Diversity Distortion”


A Much-Needed Satire of College Has Arrived

Inane occurrences on college campuses tend to parachute into national news headlines every week or two. Those glimpses, however, cannot do justice to the reality of the collegiate atmosphere. To do so, a recent satire on higher ed—Original Prin by Randy Boyagoda—captures that atmosphere well for those outside the academic bubble. It’s light-hearted rather than … Continue reading “A Much-Needed Satire of College Has Arrived”