Are Students Learning the Right Skills? Why Academia Needs to Go Back to the “Basics”

Last year, Forbes published a headline, “Americans rank a Google internship over a Harvard degree.” It seems higher education is quickly losing hold of its value proposition as the best way to prepare for a job or advance in one’s career. And that’s not because of a lack of new advancements or insights. Especially in … Continue reading “Are Students Learning the Right Skills? Why Academia Needs to Go Back to the “Basics””

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””

Reforming Dysfunctional Teacher Education: ‘Back to the Future?’

Most American children are trapped in public elementary and secondary schools that are either mediocre or dysfunctional. Readers who wonder if this statement is polemical should know that for almost two decades, the federal government’s National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), the nation’s highly respected school assessment tool, has documented that on average, less than … Continue reading “Reforming Dysfunctional Teacher Education: ‘Back to the Future?’”

Did You Know? Regret Comes with Taking Student Loans

A recent report from Payscale showed that a majority of college graduates regretted their college decision. Out of the 250,000 students surveyed, about 12 percent had some regret the major they picked. The biggest regret, though, came from borrowing student loans. While that regret is consistent among generations, millenials are the first ones to regret … Continue reading “Did You Know? Regret Comes with Taking Student Loans”

Did the Hoaxers Do Anything Wrong?

One of the three “Sokal Squared” academic hoaxers, Peter Boghossian of Portland State University, has been accused of violating his university’s research policies. Boghossian is the only one of the three to hold an (untenured) academic position and so is the only one vulnerable to disciplinary action. Boghossian and his compatriots parodied fashionable social-“science” research; … Continue reading “Did the Hoaxers Do Anything Wrong?”

Carnegie Classifications—What’s All the Fuss?

“Dartmouth falls out of an exclusive group,” declared a 2016 headline in The Washington Post just days after the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education released its 2015 classifications that moved Dartmouth College from the R-1 (that is, Research 1) to the R-2 (Research 2) category. “A Key Survey Indicates that Dartmouth May Be … Continue reading “Carnegie Classifications—What’s All the Fuss?”

Intellectual Diversity and Academic Professionalism

Editor’s Note: This is a condensed version of a speech Dr. Otteson gave at a January James G. Martin Center luncheon. Our topic today is the importance of intellectual diversity on campus. I doubt there is anyone here who does not believe in the importance of intellectual diversity on campus, so I would like to … Continue reading “Intellectual Diversity and Academic Professionalism”

Psychology Professors Argue Against Groupthink in Their Field

Does social science research and understanding suffer because most of the individuals working in the field are on the left side of the political spectrum? A new book gives us strong reasons to think so. The book is entitled The Politics of Social Psychology and was edited by professors Jarret Crawford and Lee Jussim. Its … Continue reading “Psychology Professors Argue Against Groupthink in Their Field”

Perverse Incentives in Science: 21st Century Funding for 20th Century Research

The Paradigm Shift Not long ago I was working with my occasional co-author, an associate dean in the school of economic, political and policy sciences at the University of Texas at Dallas, on creating a campus research institute focused on spontaneous orders. That is a field that attempts to explain how social order emerges from … Continue reading “Perverse Incentives in Science: 21st Century Funding for 20th Century Research”

Why College Graduates Still Can’t Think

More than six years have passed since Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa rocked the academic world with their landmark book, Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses. Their study of more than 2,300 undergraduates at colleges and universities across the country found that many of those students improved little, if at all, in key areas—especially critical … Continue reading “Why College Graduates Still Can’t Think”