Math Teachers are Taught that Elementary Math Education is a “Struggle for Justice”

Does the average person have any idea what is now considered “normal” in the field of K-12 education? I already had some misgivings after reading Jay Schalin’s devastating review of the curricula in education schools: The Politicization of University Schools of Education: The Long March through the Education Schools. Nevertheless, I was unprepared for what … Continue reading “Math Teachers are Taught that Elementary Math Education is a “Struggle for Justice””


A Perennial Question: What Makes a Good College Teacher?

Each generation returns the same complaints: college teachers drone, college teachers lack creativity and spark, nay, they often lack even rudimentary pedagogical awareness. And since the ascendance of what William James coined the “PhD Octopus” of credentialism and narrowed specialization, far too many see their work with students as an impediment to their research. Look … Continue reading “A Perennial Question: What Makes a Good College Teacher?”


Derek Bok’s Higher Expectations – Our Colleges Should Accomplish More

Former Harvard president Derek Bok has long lamented that our institutions of higher education largely underperform in their missions. He has now written another book making that argument. His Higher Expectations is a coolly rational analysis of what needs to be done to improve American undergraduate education. He uses as his frame a study by … Continue reading “Derek Bok’s Higher Expectations – Our Colleges Should Accomplish More”


How Can Professors Inspire Students to Want to Learn?

COVID-19 has revolutionized how we think about online college teaching. Until last spring, two perspectives predominated. One argued that massively enrolled online classes presented by impressive teachers or prestigious universities would increase efficiency while preserving quality. The other worried about the quality of online classes, and that the gap between those able to afford in-person … Continue reading “How Can Professors Inspire Students to Want to Learn?”


True Learning Starts With Real Mentorship

There’s a chasm between the purpose of a liberal arts education and how many colleges and universities actually operate. Throughout academia, excessive value is placed on efficiency, research publications, and prestige—things that are, at best, ancillary to a liberal education’s central purpose of growing in wisdom and pursuing truth. Consequently, instead of focusing on nurturing … Continue reading “True Learning Starts With Real Mentorship”


Without Financial Transparency, Colleges Mislabel Research Spending as Instructional

Public colleges spend public money, but college officials are reluctant to make information about their budgets easy to understand. That aversion to transparency makes it easier to pass non-instructional expenses along to students. Many experts have discussed the problem. But without transparency, it can be hard to show just how much so-called instruction is actually … Continue reading “Without Financial Transparency, Colleges Mislabel Research Spending as Instructional”


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?”


The Challenges That the UNC System’s Top Teachers See for the Future

Good teaching is vital for college students to learn, but the work demands on professors and what type of work is actually rewarded means that teaching can be of secondary importance. To keep teaching quality high, the University of North Carolina system tries to recognize great teaching. For 25 years, the UNC system has given … Continue reading “The Challenges That the UNC System’s Top Teachers See for the Future”


Is the UNC System Serious about Teacher Training Reform?

On Valentine’s Day, The University of North Carolina System released “Leading on Literacy: Challenges and Opportunities in Teacher Preparation Across the University of North Carolina System.” For me, it was not love at first sight. “Leading on Literacy” represents the latest effort by the UNC System to address the shortcomings of teacher education programs generally and literacy … Continue reading “Is the UNC System Serious about Teacher Training Reform?”


Are Students Addicted to Distraction?

A few years ago, something changed in class. I customarily taught classes where my students read multiple books, wrote thoughtful reflective essays, and came to class prepared to engage in rich discussions. I’d often come to class with a few notes and the goal of being extemporaneous for the duration of the class. Every student … Continue reading “Are Students Addicted to Distraction?”