Cheaters Never Prosper—Or Do They?

Students can survive by cheating unless their professors enforce academic integrity standards. We presume such enforcement exists, but my personal experience suggests otherwise. Let’s be honest: professors face unpleasant consequences if they resist cheating, but no consequences if they look the other way. Professors respond to their incentive structure like other living beings. I was … Continue reading “Cheaters Never Prosper—Or Do They?”

Reform in 2022: Our Hopes for the New Year

While the year 2021 wasn’t quite as tumultuous and unpredictable as 2020,  the higher education landscape continues to look very different: overall enrollment continues to drop and countless institutions have issued vaccine mandates. At the same time, schools have become all the more emboldened in demanding ideological allegiance to the “diversity, equity, and inclusion” movement. … Continue reading “Reform in 2022: Our Hopes for the New Year”

Are College Exit Exams a Valid Measure of Learning? It’s Complicated

Given the enormity of the public and private investment in US higher education, of course we should evaluate its effectiveness. But, how? It is claimed that over 200 higher education institutions administer the one-size-fits-all Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA). When administered pre-post—that is, near the beginning and then again near the end of a student’s program—the … Continue reading “Are College Exit Exams a Valid Measure of Learning? It’s Complicated”

How Higher Education is Going to Change

Predictions that American higher education is on the verge of great change have been heard for quite a few years, but so far the system doesn’t look much different than it did twenty years ago. Perhaps the prognostications were wrong. I have never doubted that higher education was on an unsustainable path and after reading … Continue reading “How Higher Education is Going to Change”

Making a College Degree More Valuable the Wrong Way

It’s old news by now that the wage premium attached to a college degree largely depends on the field of study. Engineering and health care, for example, are far more likely to lead to a faster economic payoff than the arts or religion. But what if prospective employers were provided convincing evidence that graduates actually … Continue reading “Making a College Degree More Valuable the Wrong Way”

The Scuba Model of Higher Education

Scuba diving ought to be very dangerous. Recreational diving involves submerging to depths of up to 60 feet. If something goes wrong at that depth, a quick return to the surface is not an option. Ascending to the surface too quickly will cause decompression sickness, which can be deadly. The diver needs to solve any … Continue reading “The Scuba Model of Higher Education”

Did You Know? The Ignorance of College Graduates

Students are paying a higher price tag for college, but is the quality of their education also increasing, or at least staying stable? A lot of indicators suggest “no.” During the George W. Bush administration, the Spellings Commission found evidence that “the quality of student learning at U.S. colleges and universities is inadequate and, in … Continue reading “Did You Know? The Ignorance of College Graduates”

It’s Time to Start a New University

Two viruses—one biological, the other ideological—have delivered a mortal blow to American higher education. Hundreds, maybe thousands, of colleges and universities will soon be wiped out by an unprecedented combination of financial exigency and revolutionary ideology. Professors at collapsing institutions are desperate to leave, and slews of senior faculty, including some very distinguished ones, have … Continue reading “It’s Time to Start a New University”

The Better Teacher: A Professor or Another Student?

Professors, particularly at research universities, wear many hats. On the one hand, they are instructors, entrusted to pass on knowledge to their students. On the other hand, they are researchers and are expected to add to their field’s body of knowledge. As a way to help professors balance their two roles, “discussion sections” have become … Continue reading “The Better Teacher: A Professor or Another Student?”

Should We Stop Asking College Students to Evaluate Their Instructors?

At the end of every semester, at nearly every college in the country, millions and millions of students fill out student evaluations of teachers. These forms ask very sensible questions. Did the teacher effectively communicate the material? Were they available for students? Department chairs and deans take these evaluations very seriously. At teaching-intensive institutions, these … Continue reading “Should We Stop Asking College Students to Evaluate Their Instructors?”