A Small College Is Suffering from Self-inflicted Wounds

Recently, one of my neighbors saw students from Elizabethtown College, where I taught for many years, walking down the street wearing what looked like the puzzle pieces featured as symbols by Autistic Awareness. When he asked why they were wearing the all-white puzzle pieces, one of the coeds proudly explained that they were dramatizing the … Continue reading “A Small College Is Suffering from Self-inflicted Wounds”


What the Feds Can Do for Higher Education: Appoint Richard Vedder

Assuming that Betsy DeVos, the new secretary of education, has sufficient commitment and stamina, she will change how her department addresses K-12 education. Her support of school choice through charter schools and voucher programs is well known. DeVos’s department is also deeply involved in higher education, but the issues are different. What roils higher education … Continue reading “What the Feds Can Do for Higher Education: Appoint Richard Vedder”


The Accelerating Pace of Change in Higher Education

Judging from recent books, articles, and editorials, higher education is poised for a cataclysmic collapse. There is a considerable body of opinion that systemic problems such as runaway tuition, student debt, low graduation rates and pervasive elitism are so wired into the collective culture of college faculty and administrators that only drastic and disruptive measures … Continue reading “The Accelerating Pace of Change in Higher Education”


Starving the Beast Prompts Choleric Call to Fatten a Sacred Cow

Listening to University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill law professor Gene Nichol’s radical riff ripping trustees and the UNC system’s Board of Governors as cowards, and Republican lawmakers as oppressive racists, one might get the feeling he is on a career suicide mission. But in an auditorium half filled with fawning university professor compatriots … Continue readingStarving the Beast Prompts Choleric Call to Fatten a Sacred Cow”


Bigger’s Better? In Higher Ed’s Amenities Arms Race, Bigger’s Just Bigger!

Testifying before the U.S. Senate in 2013, University of Wisconsin professor Sara Goldrick-Rab described college campuses as “glorified summer camps.” She said administrators were “engaging in an arms race to have the most impressive bells and whistles.” That depiction may at first seem hyperbolic, but even a cursory glance at many of today’s college campuses … Continue reading “Bigger’s Better? In Higher Ed’s Amenities Arms Race, Bigger’s Just Bigger!”


A Letter to Conservatives: You Need College and College Definitely Needs You

Dear conservative parents and students, First, I would like to address conservative parents. Lately, I hear many of you questioning whether you should send your kids to college. Maybe they should just go to trade school or straight into the workforce. I certainly agree that college is not for everyone. There are many trade and … Continue reading “A Letter to Conservatives: You Need College and College Definitely Needs You”


Hillary Clinton Lost, But Her “Free” College Idea Lives On

During last week’s hearings on President Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, Senator Bernie Sanders asked her, “Will you work with me and others to make public colleges and universities tuition-free through federal and state efforts?” That, of course, was an idea that he and Hillary Clinton supported in last year’s presidential campaign—free … Continue reading “Hillary Clinton Lost, But Her “Free” College Idea Lives On”


Competition Is Helping to Bring Affordability, Efficiency Back to Higher Ed

As higher education has become increasingly competitive in recent years, many colleges have had to find creative ways to maintain their enrollment figures and distinguish themselves in the market. For some, this has meant lowering their tuition rates at a time in which inflated prices often seem to be the norm. Seeing already-struggling colleges constraining … Continue reading “Competition Is Helping to Bring Affordability, Efficiency Back to Higher Ed”



In North Carolina, Community College Controversies Open Pandora’s Box

At their best, community colleges provide educational opportunities to individuals who otherwise might not have them. They offer specialized workforce training that can lead to rewarding careers, as well as streamlined transfer options for those seeking more advanced degrees. But it seems that, while singing the praises of such schools, policymakers have overlooked serious problems … Continue reading “In North Carolina, Community College Controversies Open Pandora’s Box”