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?”

Will This New College Ranking System Upend the Status Quo?

Higher education reformers have long argued that colleges’ admissions selectivity reveals little about their educational quality and how well they prepare students for the workforce and civic life. The U.S. News & World Report rankings, which have dominated the field for more than 30 years, are based heavily on schools’ acceptance rates and students’ standardized … Continue reading “Will This New College Ranking System Upend the Status Quo?”

Student Learning Outcomes and the Decline of American Education

Educational fads always come with a shelf life; the implacable resistance of reality eventually makes them expire. Usually, the promised educational miracle has done more harm than good. The wreckage is all around us: the Self-Esteem Movement, Students Right to Their Own Language, Whole Language, Whole Math, Multiple Learning Styles, Guide On the Side Not … Continue reading “Student Learning Outcomes and the Decline of American Education”