Healing Civic Culture One Conversation at a Time

We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature. —Abraham Lincoln A certain degree of polarization is a natural consequence of political discourse. The … Continue reading “Healing Civic Culture One Conversation at a Time”


How Colleges Have Made Students Poorer and Undereducated

There is general agreement among higher education observers and reformers that tuition and fees at public universities have increased at an unsustainable pace. It’s equally uncontroversial to note that financial aid hasn’t kept up with unrelenting tuition increases, leaving students in the lurch. In his new book, “The Impoverishment of the American College Student,” James … Continue reading “How Colleges Have Made Students Poorer and Undereducated”


Did You Know? Student Loan Defaults Are Most Common in West Virginia, New Mexico

When students are late making a monthly payment on their federal student loans, the loan becomes delinquent. And if they don’t make any payments for 270 days, most types of federal student loans go into default. The Department of Education provides data on cohort default rates by institution, which informs the public of how many … Continue reading “Did You Know? Student Loan Defaults Are Most Common in West Virginia, New Mexico”


Students Tear Down Anti-Socialism Display at UNC Charlotte

Universities may not target unpopular speech on campus often, but when they fail to protect it, the results are similar to officially silencing speech. A recent example of this lack of effort to protect comes from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where an anti-socialism display was destroyed on campus within a day after … Continue reading “Students Tear Down Anti-Socialism Display at UNC Charlotte”


A Complicated Debate: Have States Been Disinvesting in Higher Education?  

“Two days. Two reports citing the same data. Two different conclusions.” That is how Rick Seltzer described the near-simultaneous release of two studies looking at state funding in Inside Higher Ed. The first study was written by myself for the Texas Public Policy Foundation and found that state disinvestment is a myth. The second study, … Continue reading “A Complicated Debate: Have States Been Disinvesting in Higher Education?  “


Did You Know? Regret Comes with Taking Student Loans

A recent report from Payscale showed that a majority of college graduates regretted their college decision. Out of the 250,000 students surveyed, about 12 percent had some regret the major they picked. The biggest regret, though, came from borrowing student loans. While that regret is consistent among generations, millenials are the first ones to regret … Continue reading “Did You Know? Regret Comes with Taking Student Loans”


Architecture Programs Need a Change: Put People First—Not ‘Art’

This essay responds to the British architecture schools’ “Open Letter to the Architectural Community: A Call for Curriculum Change.” Since educating architects is a global problem, the analysis presented here is aimed at an international audience. We are at a pivotal point in recognizing the relationship between the built and natural environments and human health … Continue reading “Architecture Programs Need a Change: Put People First—Not ‘Art’”


An Anti-Free Speech Conference in Greensboro

Scholars gathered October 24 and 25 at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro to discuss free speech—and focused on its alleged pernicious effects. The takeaway was that the problem is not enough free speech in public, but too much free speech in public. The conference, “Finding Expression in Contested Public Spaces,” featured a keynote … Continue reading “An Anti-Free Speech Conference in Greensboro”


Blinding Themselves: The Cost of Groupthink in Social Psychology

The social sciences have a problem: If their scholars think too much alike, they will be blinded to the flaws and gaps in their research. Rather than explaining how individuals in society act and think, academics can sometimes slip blinders on themselves and the public. Polling shows broad agreement within some disciplines. For instance, recent … Continue reading “Blinding Themselves: The Cost of Groupthink in Social Psychology”


Did You Know? Grievance Studies in the UNC System

As academia becomes increasingly political and some professors call for an activist academy, some critics have questioned the impact of “cultural studies” and critical theory on the quality of research in the humanities. Academics Helen Pluckrose, James Lindsay, and Peter Boghossian have led the reaction against scholarship-as-activism with their famous “grievance studies” hoax. The three … Continue reading “Did You Know? Grievance Studies in the UNC System”