The Benefits of Renewing Education with the Socratic Method

“I cannot teach anybody anything. I can only make them think.” —Socrates Classical education—a tradition of education with ancient roots—is becoming an increasingly popular alternative to the current K-12 public education model. Its emphasis on reading the Great Books and making students active participants in their own education is appealing to parents and educators who … Continue reading “The Benefits of Renewing Education with the Socratic Method”


The Idea of a University: When Trustees Turn a College into a Commodity

Editor’s Note: This article by Randolph Bourne, a writer and public intellectual, was originally published as “The Idea of a University” in The Dial on November 22, 1917. This is the second of a Martin Center “History of Higher Ed” series where the Center will republish overlooked writings that shaped American higher education. In September 1917, … Continue reading “The Idea of a University: When Trustees Turn a College into a Commodity”


Round One—Harvard Beats Asian Americans

In a long-awaited decision, federal trial judge Allison Burroughs has ruled that, while Harvard does consider a student’s race in determining who gets in and who doesn’t (“the use of race in and of itself is admitted”), nonetheless Harvard is not breaking the law. That outcome was not surprising, and the judge’s opinion is unlikely to … Continue reading “Round One—Harvard Beats Asian Americans”


The Success of Community College ‘Non-Completers’

A sense of urgency has taken hold of higher education leaders nationwide. Reports of declining community college graduation rates and the lack of skilled workers have led policymakers and college leaders to sound the alarm and vow to do whatever it takes to lower the high rate of “dropouts” and equip students to meet the … Continue reading “The Success of Community College ‘Non-Completers’”


Did You Know? Student-Athletes Can Be Admitted to UNC Schools Despite Low Academic Success

College admissions standards are meant to determine whether a student is academically prepared to succeed at college. Colleges also have Minimum Admissions Requirements (MARs) and Minimum Course Requirements (MCRs), which are set floors that a would-be student’s test scores, GPA, and completed high school courses can’t fall below for admittance. In the UNC system, those … Continue reading “Did You Know? Student-Athletes Can Be Admitted to UNC Schools Despite Low Academic Success”


Can Independent Christian Study Centers Restore the Soul of Higher Education?

In The Soul of the American University published in 1994, the historian George Marsden gave a powerful account of how once-great pillars and trend-setters of American higher education have abandoned even a residual commitment to the Christian foundations on which they were founded. The cultural, political, social and economic upheavals of the 20th century moved … Continue reading “Can Independent Christian Study Centers Restore the Soul of Higher Education?”


The True Cost of a PhD: Giving Up a Family for Academia

In 2012, CBS noted the bleak future that awaited PhD graduates. From 2005 to 2009, American universities graduated 100,000 new PhDs but only created 16,000 new professorships. The average PhD student spends 8 years in graduate school and turns 33 years old before they graduate. Unfortunately, the outlook for PhDs hasn’t improved since 2012. More … Continue reading “The True Cost of a PhD: Giving Up a Family for Academia”


Did You Know? UNC System Grads Carry Less Student Debt

Most students rely on loans to pay for college; colleges raise their prices, and student debt increases. Now, about 44 million students collectively owe $1.6 trillion in student debt. In North Carolina, at least, graduates carry less debt than their peers. North Carolina ranks 37th in the country for total debt levels of its graduates, … Continue reading “Did You Know? UNC System Grads Carry Less Student Debt”


Overlapping Magisteria–A Review of Anthony Kronman’s ‘The Assault on American Excellence’

In his new book The Assault on American Excellence, Yale law professor Anthony Kronman traces many of the current woes of American universities back to the use of one word in one opinion in one court case. That word is “diversity” and the opinion was Justice Lewis Powell’s in the 1978 Bakke case about minority … Continue reading “Overlapping Magisteria–A Review of Anthony Kronman’s ‘The Assault on American Excellence’”


The Free Online Courses that Cultivate the Mind

The task of learning never ends for those who want to grow in wisdom. But in a world of eight- or ten-hour workdays, traffic jams, and daily responsibilities, it can be easy to put the life of the mind on the back burner. Besides time constraints, another difficulty is that education is expensive. For those … Continue reading “The Free Online Courses that Cultivate the Mind”