How NC State Became Free-Speech Friendly

Free speech on North Carolina’s campuses has come a long way in the last decade. North Carolina State University is the most recent school to earn a “green light” from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) for its speech policies. Nearly ten years ago, when the Martin Center partnered with FIRE to take … Continue reading “How NC State Became Free-Speech Friendly”


UNC System Schools Profiting Off Unused Student Meals

College meal plans can help students avoid buying groceries and cooking for themselves—but they can also cost thousands of dollars each semester. In the University of North Carolina system, some students get a relative bargain, but others pay 60 percent more with fewer spending options. Even though some UNC campuses take in hundreds of thousands … Continue reading “UNC System Schools Profiting Off Unused Student Meals”


Colleges Should Stop Forcing Students to Live On-Campus

A long-time practice for many private universities has been to require most freshmen and sophomores to live in campus residence halls. State-supported public universities, too, have copied their private counterparts in recent years. However, doing so drives up the cost of education and restricts the constitutional rights of public university students—all in the name of … Continue reading “Colleges Should Stop Forcing Students to Live On-Campus”


Another Confucius Institute Closes

North Carolina State University is one of the latest universities to announce plans to close its Confucius Institute. Eleven American colleges and universities have parted ways with these Chinese government-funded centers, eight of them in the last 14 months. The Chinese government funds some 500 Confucius Institutes at colleges and universities around the world, and … Continue reading “Another Confucius Institute Closes”


UNC, NC State Partner to Combat Teacher Shortage

As the cost of higher education soars, it’s heartening to hear of universities and professors looking for new ways to meet student needs. Localized innovations allow universities and reformers to experiment and find out what works. And those small changes, once proven, can lead to big shifts in how universities operate. This kind of trial … Continue reading “UNC, NC State Partner to Combat Teacher Shortage”


Can Higher Ed Revive Rural North Carolina?

Many rural counties in the United States—including those in North Carolina—are on life support. They are struggling with shrinking and aging populations, shuttered businesses, disappearing job bases, and a general sense of hopelessness. While their plight may be common knowledge, there is little consensus about how this situation can be resolved. Some policymakers and researchers … Continue reading “Can Higher Ed Revive Rural North Carolina?”


How Much of an Effect Do University Writing Programs Have?

The list of top-rated college writing programs is dominated by private institutions. But North Carolina State University is one of only a few public universities to break through. It is well-respected for how it teaches writing. According to a 2017 U.S News & World Report poll, NC State’s writing program is #12 in the nation … Continue reading “How Much of an Effect Do University Writing Programs Have?”


How the North Carolina Legislature Can Improve Higher Education in 2018

Legislators returned to Raleigh last week for the beginning of a special session. Education was at the top of the agenda, with the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee meeting Tuesday to discuss various changes to North Carolina’s K-12 programs. That’s as it should be. Here in North Carolina, education makes up roughly 40 percent of … Continue reading “How the North Carolina Legislature Can Improve Higher Education in 2018”


Howling Cow Ice Cream: An NC State Experiment in Hands-On Learning

In the past, I’ve been critical of commercial activity on North Carolina’s public university campuses. It competes with private business, attracts unfair tax advantages, and may (in some cases) violate provisions of the Umstead Act. It’s also far outside a public university’s three-part mission of education, research, and service. In most cases, I think business … Continue reading “Howling Cow Ice Cream: An NC State Experiment in Hands-On Learning”


Public Universities as Commercial Landlords: Where Do We Draw the Line?

Late last year, NC State University purchased two small office buildings on Oberlin Road, near the university’s East campus, for the price of $3.1 million. Their location, situated between NC State’s historic bell tower and the thriving private, mixed-use community at Cameron Village, has considerable commercial value. If State finds new tenants for the buildings … Continue reading “Public Universities as Commercial Landlords: Where Do We Draw the Line?”