The Spurning of Old Books: The Devaluation of the Past Threatens Higher Ed

Alan Jacobs’ new book, Breaking Bread with the Dead: A Reader’s Guide to a More Tranquil Mind, is a coaxing argument to read “old books that come from strange times.” Readers of his previous works The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction and How to Think will not be surprised that Jacobs, distinguished … Continue reading “The Spurning of Old Books: The Devaluation of the Past Threatens Higher Ed”


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”


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”


Can the President Cancel Student Debt? Should He?

Many people and groups are pressuring Joe Biden to issue an executive order that would cancel some or all federal student debts shortly after he takes office. During the campaign, Biden said that he would immediately cancel $10,000 of student debt for each borrower, but some want the incoming president to go further. For example, … Continue reading “Can the President Cancel Student Debt? Should He?”


Why Do UNC Schools Spend Money on Diversity Training That Doesn’t Work?

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to include information about UNC-Charlotte, which responded to a public records request after publication. Higher ed leaders love committees and training sessions. The technocratic mind that rules campus sees a problem and usually decides that the solution is more resources and education. Once the money is spent and … Continue reading “Why Do UNC Schools Spend Money on Diversity Training That Doesn’t Work?”


University Administrators’ Pandemic Power Grab

Universities’ profligate spending habits have caught up with them after substantial losses in student enrollments due to COVID-19. As undergraduate enrollment fell by 4.4 percent and students had fewer “on-campus experiences,” universities desperately began laying off employees. Some even have plans to consolidate departments and entire campuses. Those actions spell trouble for the future of … Continue reading “University Administrators’ Pandemic Power Grab”


UVA and the Dangerous Politicization of Our College Campuses

It is no secret that our colleges and universities have witnessed a sea change in campus culture over the past two decades. Political correctness has run rampant. High-profile incidents such as the Yale Halloween costume controversy and phenomena such as safe spaces and building re-namings have captured public attention. College officials, however, assure us that … Continue reading “UVA and the Dangerous Politicization of Our College Campuses”


Heavy Is the Head that Wears the Crown

Since 2015, the University of North Carolina system’s Board of Governors (BOG) has endured one controversy after another, beginning with protests over decisions to close three “academic centers” for being overly political and to replace Democrat Thomas Ross as the system president with Republican Margaret Spellings. Some of the problems have been of the board’s … Continue reading “Heavy Is the Head that Wears the Crown”


The Problem of Higher Ed and Economic Mobility

Virginia’s top public universities are largely stratified by socioeconomic status. Consider the following statistics that appear in the new book by James V. Koch and Richard J. Cebula, Runaway College Costs: How College Governing Boards Fail to Protect their Students. At the College of William & Mary only 13.6 percent of the student body comes … Continue reading “The Problem of Higher Ed and Economic Mobility”


Essential Knowledge: Students Should Study the Classical World

Countless students begin and graduate from college with an impoverished humanities education, a reality that should disturb any proponent of the liberal arts. According to a recent report by the Independent Institute entitled Is it Time for a “490 B.C. Project”? High Schoolers Need to Know Our Classical Heritage, “schools are undermining the humanities” by … Continue reading “Essential Knowledge: Students Should Study the Classical World”