Rescuing “Virtue and Talents” Amidst the War on Tests

On March 28, 2022, Stuart Schmill, Dean of Admissions and Student Financial Services at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) announced the school’s plan to restore the consideration of standardized tests to its undergraduate admissions process. A heavyweight bucks against the self-destructive path of attacking merit and standards. Will more follow suit? Or, is MIT’s … Continue reading “Rescuing “Virtue and Talents” Amidst the War on Tests”


The Long Decline of the University of Pennsylvania

The University of Pennsylvania was an excellent school when I was an undergraduate there in the mid-1960s. The politics were polyglot, reflecting an era when the professional classes and even the professoriate were more ideologically diverse than is the case today. Campus activism of earlier in the decade surrounding civil rights marches had faded and … Continue reading “The Long Decline of the University of Pennsylvania”


A Frenemy on the Left: Robert Boyers on The Tyranny of Virtue

I have long been fond of saying that there are colleagues for whom I would be delighted to vote if they sought my support for service on a university committee, but not if they were running for political office. I’d like to think that Robert Boyers, a genuine literary intellectual who teaches at Skidmore College … Continue reading “A Frenemy on the Left: Robert Boyers on The Tyranny of Virtue


From Hiring to Admissions, Universities Seek Ideological Conformity in Applicants

Are you a freshly-minted Ph.D. holder interested in becoming a tenure-track computer science professor at UNC-Chapel Hill? First, you’ll have to submit a “diversity statement” describing your “commitment to diversity.” Candidates seeking to be an assistant professor at Boston University’s business school should include references to the “diversity contributions” they would bring in their cover … Continue reading “From Hiring to Admissions, Universities Seek Ideological Conformity in Applicants”


Are Summer Reading Assignments Indoctrinating Freshmen?

Often, incoming freshmen receive their first university assignment before the school year even begins: the summer reading. Many institutions see the summer reading assignment as an opportunity for new students to develop a sense of camaraderie. By reading the same book, the idea is that students will engage in thought-provoking conversations and have a shared … Continue reading “Are Summer Reading Assignments Indoctrinating Freshmen?”


Letter to the Editor: Diversity offices are unnecessary

To the editor: Excellent piece on diversity offices. They are both unnecessary and damaging to a university’s proper mission. They are unnecessary because universities have survived quite well without them for 1000 years. They are damaging because, as the article shows, they have no beneficial effects and several deleterious ones, such as the introduction of … Continue reading “Letter to the Editor: Diversity offices are unnecessary”


Sensitivity by Proxy

It is hard to fathom the extent to which American colleges and universities have been taken over by Critical Theory, race-based or not. One good indication is that French and Canadian leaders are warning their citizens about the dangers of importing these ideas from the U.S. In an October speech about the dangers of further … Continue reading “Sensitivity by Proxy”


The Trouble with Faculty Hiring Booms in a Politicized Time

Most businesses and the general public had a brutal year in 2020—perhaps with the notable exceptions of Zoom and toilet paper manufacturers. Universities suffered as well, with enrollment drops and budget cuts forcing them to freeze hiring and salaries, furlough faculty and staff, and restrict spending. Some colleges even went insolvent, with many others on … Continue reading “The Trouble with Faculty Hiring Booms in a Politicized Time”


Macalester College: Liberal Arts or Monoculture?

Macalester College is a small (2,000-plus students), highly regarded, and very selective liberal arts college in St. Paul, Minnesota. It is proud of its liberal reputation and international outlook, and touts as past faculty vice presidents Hubert Humphrey and Walter Mondale, as well as undergraduate Kofi Anan, previous head of the United Nations. Macalester boasts … Continue reading “Macalester College: Liberal Arts or Monoculture?”


Identity Politics Versus Basic Logic: Should Colleges Offer Affirmative Action for the Female Majority?

Academic postmodernism is no stranger to the idea that classical Enlightenment values such as reason, equal treatment, and individual agency should be cast aside for the sake of racial and sexual grievances. We should denounce reason and science as the legacy of “dead white men”—or so we are told. Western academia has become both ideologized … Continue reading “Identity Politics Versus Basic Logic: Should Colleges Offer Affirmative Action for the Female Majority?”