The ACT is Still Useful

Standardized tests have been attacked for being biased against some groups of students. Is that true? Should we stop using them? Exams like the American College Test (ACT) are supposed to assess how much information students learned in high school and, by implication, their preparedness for college. However, they’ve been criticized as being biased against … Continue reading “The ACT is Still Useful”


Do American Undergraduates Still Respect Their Professors?

The pandemic has affected numerous aspects of daily life. Included among these are how students and faculty relate and respond to each other on campus. With many classes going virtual and universities dealing with unprecedented circumstances, student and faculty relations may well be expected to have shifted. How students view faculty can tell us many … Continue reading “Do American Undergraduates Still Respect Their Professors?”


Higher Education Used to Love Controversy

It is interesting but depressing to me that the more eminent a college or university is perceived to be, the more outrageous are efforts by administrators to stifle individual expression and enforce a numbing conformity of ideas reminiscent of universities in the old Soviet Union or Nazi Germany. The most prestigious group of schools in … Continue reading “Higher Education Used to Love Controversy”


N.C. Campuses’ Long War

World wars have been fought in less time than the battle the UNC and N.C. Community College Systems have waged to create a user-friendly database that active-duty military personnel and veterans can use to ease their transition into higher education. Lawmakers and veterans advocates want to know why higher-education officials have failed for nearly a … Continue reading “N.C. Campuses’ Long War”


AP Economics is a Model of Academic Rigor

As a college professor and former academic dean, I have long heard that Advanced Placement courses are generally not the equal of their college equivalents. Each of the 38 AP courses has a related college course, for which a qualifying student may receive college credit. Upon completing an AP exam, each student receives a score … Continue reading “AP Economics is a Model of Academic Rigor”


Why the Canon Wars Still Matter

Like an overlong proxy war, the “canon” skirmishes of the 1980s and ’90s no longer feature in the media, though the conflict persists. As in a battle over this or that town, the ongoing war might manifest as a fight over particular books, but the real disagreement exists between competing visions for humanity and society. … Continue reading “Why the Canon Wars Still Matter”


ECU Makes the Secret Hurt Visible

Is higher education the highest priority for East Carolina University, or is the institution just pushing a political narrative? On August 19th, ECU held its 2022-23 faculty convocation, and the Martin Center was able to attend via livestream. The speeches and events that transpired were eye-opening and revealed much about the path ECU is encouraging … Continue reading “ECU Makes the Secret Hurt Visible”


Why Blacks Must Be Responsible for Closing the Racial Achievement Gap

It’s no secret that black students fare poorly on the academic achievement scale. Their scores on standardized achievement tests, their academic performance while in school, and their rates of enrollment and graduation lag far behind their white and Asian counterparts. The persistence of this achievement gap is harmful to society. But how can we close … Continue reading “Why Blacks Must Be Responsible for Closing the Racial Achievement Gap”


Measuring the Spread of DEI

A constant concern in my academic sub-field of comparative politics is how to create concepts and measurements that stand up to scrutiny when applied to several cases. When we hear someone claim that politics in Country X are “corrupt,” our first questions are “What do you mean by corruption?” and “Compared to where?” This concern … Continue reading “Measuring the Spread of DEI”


What SAT Scores Say About Teacher Effectiveness

The SAT has been in the news again, this time because of the claim that test-optional policies are a way for colleges to covertly impose affirmative action. It’s true that such policies have created a two-tier system that allows colleges to accept more black and Hispanic students than would otherwise qualify for admission. But the … Continue reading “What SAT Scores Say About Teacher Effectiveness”