Looking at Higher Ed Through Rose-Colored Glasses

It can be tempting for college leaders to focus solely on data that support their policy initiatives—to the exclusion of other relevant information. Unfortunately, intentionally or not, University of North Carolina system president Margaret Spellings seems to have given in to this temptation. At Spellings’ last meeting of the UNC Board of Governors with her … Continue reading “Looking at Higher Ed Through Rose-Colored Glasses”


Departure of Spellings from UNC Creates Opportunity for Governance Reform

The surprise resignation of Margaret Spellings from the presidency of the University of North Carolina system presents an opportunity to improve the system’s insufficient governance policies. The key to this improvement is to hire an independent staff member for the Board of Governors, subject only to the board. The state legislature has already recognized this … Continue reading “Departure of Spellings from UNC Creates Opportunity for Governance Reform”


Are North Carolina Universities Biased? Look at What Students Are Reading

North Carolina just added a new layer of meaning to its motto, First in Flight. This time the state is the first in the nation to get campus free speech off the runway.   The North Carolina Campus Free Speech Act lofts the idea that college students and invited speakers have a right to express … Continue reading “Are North Carolina Universities Biased? Look at What Students Are Reading”


Reward Achievement: Give Credit for Advanced Placement

Using Advanced Placement (AP) courses to fulfill college requirements has long helped college students save both time and money. But there are varying opinions about the value of AP courses and exams, with some arguing that they do not match the rigor of introductory college courses they replace. This disagreement sometimes leads to inconsistency in … Continue reading “Reward Achievement: Give Credit for Advanced Placement”


Public Universities as Commercial Landlords: Where Do We Draw the Line?

Late last year, NC State University purchased two small office buildings on Oberlin Road, near the university’s East campus, for the price of $3.1 million. Their location, situated between NC State’s historic bell tower and the thriving private, mixed-use community at Cameron Village, has considerable commercial value. If State finds new tenants for the buildings … Continue reading “Public Universities as Commercial Landlords: Where Do We Draw the Line?”


Study Only What You Want? Not If You Want to Be Successful

Recently, a general education course at UNC-Chapel Hill, “Big-Time College Sports,” was canceled. This sparked controversy after the course’s professor, Jay Smith, argued that the class, which he had taught in previous semesters, was axed because its treatment of Chapel Hill’s recent academic/athletics scandal cast the university in a negative light. Lost in much of … Continue reading “Study Only What You Want? Not If You Want to Be Successful”


A Graduate’s Perspective: Thought Police Are Undermining Higher Education

During my time at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where I graduated this spring, many of my peers and professors seemed to genuinely care about the free exchange of ideas, students were often pushed to explore all sides of an issue, and analysis of factual evidence was usually a key goal of … Continue reading “A Graduate’s Perspective: Thought Police Are Undermining Higher Education”


Dear Secretary DeVos, Please Prioritize Financial Literacy

Congratulations, Secretary DeVos, on your recent appointment to lead the U.S. Department of Education. Now the real work begins. Your position requires you to prioritize competing educational ideas to promote the mission of “student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness.” While much attention has been given to your advancement of school choice, I write to … Continue reading “Dear Secretary DeVos, Please Prioritize Financial Literacy”


No Lessons Learned: Campus Intolerance Intensifies in the Trump Era

At this year’s Association of American Colleges and Universities meeting, held in late January in San Francisco, a sense of misgiving filled the conference hall. Panelists raised, implicitly, the question whether higher education has become out of touch with Donald Trump’s America. They fretted over their belief that the current social and political climate is … Continue reading “No Lessons Learned: Campus Intolerance Intensifies in the Trump Era”


Your Generosity Is Helping to Improve Higher Education

As each year comes to a close, I take some time to review what the Pope Center accomplished during the previous 52 weeks, to analyze what challenges we still face, and to plan for what awaits us in January and beyond. None of our work here would be possible without you, so I wanted to … Continue reading “Your Generosity Is Helping to Improve Higher Education”