The Spurning of Old Books: The Devaluation of the Past Threatens Higher Ed

Alan Jacobs’ new book, Breaking Bread with the Dead: A Reader’s Guide to a More Tranquil Mind, is a coaxing argument to read “old books that come from strange times.” Readers of his previous works The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction and How to Think will not be surprised that Jacobs, distinguished … Continue reading “The Spurning of Old Books: The Devaluation of the Past Threatens Higher Ed”


Leaving the Blight of Higher Education: Part I–Farewell, Students

Editor’s note: This is the first of a two-part series. In May of 2020, my wife and I took our retirement after more than 30 years of teaching college, the last 20 years of which we spent at what I will call Upstate Consolation University, a mid-tier state college somewhere in the Northeast. My wife … Continue reading “Leaving the Blight of Higher Education: Part I–Farewell, Students”


To De-Politicize Art Schools, Students Need to Fight Back  

It has never been harder to teach artistic individualism in America. A religious devotion to the causes of social justice dominates the ideas of professors in the academy, and David Randall’s report “Social Justice Education in America” has made clear that their evangelical zeal for teaching students the merits of intersectional political activism is topped … Continue reading “To De-Politicize Art Schools, Students Need to Fight Back  “


Blueprints for Reform

The university system in the United States has accomplished a great deal of good, but it has strayed from its chief goals of scholarly inquiry and responsible teaching, especially in the past 20 years. All too often, universities allow teaching to become shallow and trendy, failing to challenge students intellectually and disparaging traditional principles of … Continue reading “Blueprints for Reform”


Where Did ‘Cancel Culture’ Come From?

“People that work at universities and newspapers should be the most intellectually free people in the world.” Few would vocally disagree with these words recently said by former New York Times writer Bari Weiss. And yet, despite living in the freest country in the world, it’s become increasingly risky for students, academics, and journalists even … Continue reading “Where Did ‘Cancel Culture’ Come From?”


Free Speech and Liberal Education–Two Endangered Pillars of Society

Fifteen years ago, American higher education was beset with serious problems, especially rising costs, politicization of the curriculum, the mania over diversity, and falling academic standards. At that time, however, few people would have said that among its problems was the threat to freedom of speech on campus. But one scholar who did see that … Continue reading “Free Speech and Liberal Education–Two Endangered Pillars of Society”


The New American Academy: Break Out the Crayons and Play-Doh

The idea of a campus “safe space”—a university-sanctioned oasis where students can go to destress and feel at ease—has had its share of ridicule. And it’s not hard to see why: It is often hard to distinguish between a college safe space and a preschool daycare. For example, in April 2019, the University of North … Continue reading “The New American Academy: Break Out the Crayons and Play-Doh”


UNC Board Steps Up to Defend Civil Discourse on Campus

An important new front in the culture war has opened up at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, one with major implications about intellectual diversity and how universities in North Carolina are to be governed. The controversy concerns plans for a new “Program on Civic Virtue and Civil Discourse,” scheduled to begin in … Continue reading “UNC Board Steps Up to Defend Civil Discourse on Campus”


The End of Being a Duke Professor and What It Means for the Future of Higher Education

The end of the spring semester marks the 20th anniversary of my professorship at Duke, first as an assistant professor and then as an associate professor of the practice at the Sanford School of Public Policy. During this time, I regularly taught the required ethics class for all undergraduate public policy majors. I won multiple … Continue reading “The End of Being a Duke Professor and What It Means for the Future of Higher Education”


The Coming Crises for Christian Colleges

An African-American pro-life speaker recently spoke at a Midwestern college and several members of the school’s student government declared the speaker “had made many students, staff, and faculty of color feel unheard, underrepresented, and unsafe on our campus.” On America’s politicized campuses, that hardly is news. However, these were not students at some notoriously leftist … Continue reading “The Coming Crises for Christian Colleges”