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”


An Ambassador of Civil Discourse

In today’s universities—and in society in general—the ability to engage in intellectually rigorous and courteous conversation can appear to be a lost art. All too often, the rule of politically correct opinions wields an overwhelming power over the ability to engage in thoughtful debate. But there is increasingly pressure to restore civil discourse to the … Continue reading “An Ambassador of Civil Discourse”


What to Look For in Higher Ed in 2018

New Year’s Day means a time to take stock of what’s happened on college campuses. Higher education in 2017 had more of students leading campus protests, college administrators struggling to protect free speech for controversial speakers, and some politicians defending academic integrity. Some of those trends have been positive while others are, with any luck, … Continue reading “What to Look For in Higher Ed 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”


We’re One People, Not ‘Two North Carolinas’

University of North Carolina system president Margaret Spellings recently outlined her plans for higher education to drive economic prosperity in the News & Observer. Her “Two North Carolinas” class rhetoric was remarkably reminiscent of that of another North Carolina public figure with ties to the University of North Carolina. That is, failed (and disgraced) former … Continue reading “We’re One People, Not ‘Two North Carolinas’”


UNC’s New Gen Ed Proposal Reflects Major Philosophical Shift from Knowledge to Process

It is imperative that universities take the time to deeply reflect on their purpose (or rather, purposes). There is no better time for UNC-Chapel Hill to do so than now, as it crafts a new general education curriculum. In 2016, the dean of College of Arts and Sciences, Kevin Guskiewicz, decided that it was time … Continue reading “UNC’s New Gen Ed Proposal Reflects Major Philosophical Shift from Knowledge to Process”


Athletic Travel and Practice Requirements Are Overwhelming Students

Over Thanksgiving break, when most students headed home for the holiday to catch up on sleep and maybe some homework, NC State’s basketball team traveled to the Bahamas. They were there to participate in the seventh annual Bad Boy Mowers Battle 4 Atlantis tournament along with seven other American teams. By the end of the … Continue reading “Athletic Travel and Practice Requirements Are Overwhelming Students”


Easing the Transition from Soldier to Scholar

The college diploma has long been regarded as the ticket to the good life. And most well-paid jobs require some kind of academic credential. But academia is not the only place to learn valuable skills and reasoning. The United States armed forces also have a long track record for training young people for demanding tasks. … Continue reading “Easing the Transition from Soldier to Scholar”


Should All University Property Be Tax-Exempt?

Connecticut legislators made headlines last year when they introduced a bill to tax revenue-generating college and university property. The bill was crafted to help New Haven, where Yale University is located, remain solvent. The bill specifies that any commercial property that is owned and operated by a university and that generates more than $6,000 in … Continue reading “Should All University Property Be Tax-Exempt?”


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?”