Peer Review, a Tarnished “Gold Standard”

I recently submitted a manuscript to an education journal, a review essay of another scholar’s work. It opened with a compliment of the author’s “highly-praised and influential work.” To that statement, one reviewer of my manuscript asserted that I used “emotionally loaded language of incredulity, dismissiveness, and hyperbole.” More “tone policing” comments riddled the review, … Continue reading “Peer Review, a Tarnished “Gold Standard””


When Universities Don’t Step Up, Good Professors Are Forced to Step Down

With “cancel culture” running rampant on social media, in politics, and in the classroom, professors who put forth the effort to help students think critically and challenge their beliefs are needed more than ever. Over the last 15 years at Central Michigan University, journalism professor Timothy Boudreau championed those practices in his classroom, to the … Continue reading “When Universities Don’t Step Up, Good Professors Are Forced to Step Down”


Addressing Masculinity in Higher Ed

As a lecturer in the humanities, I have had the privilege and challenge of moderating discussions of controversial topics, often based on literary texts. Over the past two years, the number of students self-censoring or not speaking when a topic is seen as “not for them” has increased dramatically. Instead, many of them visit during … Continue reading “Addressing Masculinity in Higher Ed”


Be Reasonable, But Not Naive, About the Crisis in Higher Ed

Let’s Be Reasonable: A Conservative Case for Liberal Education is indeed a reasonable book. Drawing on thinkers from John Locke to Allan Bloom, Ursinus College political theory professor Jonathan Marks cuts through the excesses of higher education commentary and makes a compelling case that the underlying problem at the heart of higher education‘s troubles is … Continue reading “Be Reasonable, But Not Naive, About the Crisis in Higher Ed”


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”


Dear Humanists: You Have Done That Yourself

Every time I read an op-ed piece from some English professor (and isn’t it always an English professor?) whining about the demise of the humanities, in The Chronicle of Higher Education or elsewhere, I’m reminded of that great scene from Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.    You know the one. As Anakin Skywalker and his erstwhile friend and … Continue reading “Dear Humanists: You Have Done That Yourself”


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”


The Future of the Humanities Is Not an Adjunct-Fueled Decline

Rumors of the humanities’ decline have been greatly exaggerated, a new report by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences says. While the popularity of specific majors has changed, overall, the humanities as a whole are still attracting a strong number of students. Most importantly, the study didn’t find any evidence for a decline in … Continue reading “The Future of the Humanities Is Not an Adjunct-Fueled Decline”


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Save the Humanities by Flipping the Curriculum

For more than two decades, professors have been “flipping” classrooms to move course material online and use classroom time for student-centered activity and more complex, collaborative thinking. This flip strikes me as a good analogy for a needed reform: Flipping some required humanities courses from the first half to the second half of a college … Continue reading “Save the Humanities by Flipping the Curriculum”


Why Students Should Still Pick a History Major

Since the 2008 financial crisis, the history field has seen a precipitous decline in the number of bachelor’s degrees awarded in American colleges. As Benjamin Schmidt, a historian at Northeastern University, reported in the American Historical Association’s Perspectives, the number of history degrees awarded fell by 30 percent—from 34,642 to 24,266 in just nine years … Continue reading “Why Students Should Still Pick a History Major”