The Chancellor’s Dilemma: Finding Silent Sam a Home

There’s a monumental decision coming soon. Not one to decide the future of the nation, such as the midterm elections, but about an actual monument. The monument is Silent Sam, the statue dedicated to University of North Carolina students who fought in the Civil War that was pulled off its pedestal on the UNC–Chapel Hill … Continue reading “The Chancellor’s Dilemma: Finding Silent Sam a Home”


Departure of Spellings from UNC Creates Opportunity for Governance Reform

The surprise resignation of Margaret Spellings from the presidency of the University of North Carolina system presents an opportunity to improve the system’s insufficient governance policies. The key to this improvement is to hire an independent staff member for the Board of Governors, subject only to the board. The state legislature has already recognized this … Continue reading “Departure of Spellings from UNC Creates Opportunity for Governance Reform”


Reviving Trust in Higher Education, One Innovative College at a Time

Americans’ trust in higher education is crumbling. According to a recent Gallup poll, only 48 percent of American adults have a “great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in higher education. That number is down from 57 percent in 2015—the largest decline in confidence of any other institution. In efforts to rebuild that trust, … Continue reading “Reviving Trust in Higher Education, One Innovative College at a Time”


The Liberal Arts Are Important: But Whose Liberal Arts?

Over the decades, the conception of a liberal arts education appears to have slowly lost its meaning. Just because students may attend a “liberal arts” college does not mean that they will receive a liberal arts education as it was traditionally conceived. One person who decries this transformation of the liberal arts is author and … Continue reading “The Liberal Arts Are Important: But Whose Liberal Arts?”


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?”


Higher Education and the Threat of Fascism

In a recent essay published in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Yale philosophy professor Jason Stanley is haunted by a spectre—the spectre of American universities aiding the rise of fascism. (The essay, “Fascism and the University” is subscriber-only content, unfortunately.) He says that “patterns have emerged that suggest the resurgence of fascist politics globally” and … Continue reading “Higher Education and the Threat of Fascism”


Have North Carolina Colleges Improved Their Free Speech Protections?

Free speech on campus has become a point of concern for many. News reports describe speakers being disinvited from campus or shouted down. Events such as students being arrested for giving away free copies of the U.S. Constitution on a college campus have become ordinary. North Carolina has not been immune to this worrisome trend. In … Continue reading “Have North Carolina Colleges Improved Their Free Speech Protections?”


Do North Carolina Students Have Freedom of Speech? A Review of Campus Speech Codes

This report examines the speech and assembly protections for students and faculty members at North Carolina’s universities, both public and private. It is a follow-up to the 2010 report, “Do North Carolina Students Have Freedom of Speech? A Review of Campus Speech Codes.” In the eight years since the publication of that report, North Carolina … Continue reading “Do North Carolina Students Have Freedom of Speech? A Review of Campus Speech Codes”


A New Campus Invention for Policing Speech

Colleges are using a new tool with the frightening potential to shut down open dialogue. They go by the benign-sounding name of “bias response teams.”  Bias response teams monitor what students and faculty say. They encourage students to report, often anonymously, comments or behavior that make them feel uncomfortable or threatened, even if the speech … Continue reading “A New Campus Invention for Policing Speech”


A College Grows on Black Mountain

One of higher education’s perplexing questions is why, in a nation as diverse geographically, demographically, and philosophically as the United States, do most colleges and universities seem so much alike? One answer is that there is so much oversight: from accrediting agencies, from government bodies, and from professional associations, that conformity is assured. But that … Continue reading “A College Grows on Black Mountain”