The Post-Truth Classroom

Veritas. Lux et veritas. Veritas vos liberabit.  Truth. Light and truth. Truth will set you free. These are the official mottos for Harvard, Yale, and Johns Hopkins. They reflect a conception of the university in which the dissemination and discovery of truth is the school’s main purpose. In the past, these institutions largely lived up … Continue reading “The Post-Truth Classroom”

Universities Have Forgotten Their Purpose: Pursuing the Contemplative Life

Editor’s note: this essay is adapted from a talk delivered by Jessica Hooten Wilson at Word on Fire’s Good News Conference on November 7, 2021, in Orlando, Florida. Universities are suffering an identity crisis. They don’t know what they are or what they are for. Nearly forty years ago, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn proclaimed, “Men have forgotten … Continue reading “Universities Have Forgotten Their Purpose: Pursuing the Contemplative Life”

The “Permanent Crisis” of the Humanities

“Part of the story of why the humanities are always in crisis is that we have needed them to be in crisis.” This provocative declaration was made by Chad Wellmon, German studies and history professor at the University of Virginia, during a speech he gave on June 23, 2021, as part of a lecture series … Continue reading “The “Permanent Crisis” of the Humanities”

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”