purdue shakeup

Purdue Shakes Up Academe (Not All Presidents Are as Innovative as Mitch Daniels)

Five years ago, higher education was abuzz over distance learning, a “disruptive technology.” The big question was whether traditional colleges and universities could incorporate the new technology or if they would be crippled because they couldn’t adapt to it. The rapid growth of for-profit online schools and the advent of MOOCs (massive open online courses) … Continue reading “Purdue Shakes Up Academe (Not All Presidents Are as Innovative as Mitch Daniels)”


My University Wastes Time and Money on Sexual Assault Training

If anyone needed a reminder that American colleges and universities have become expert at wasting time and money, my recent experience with mandatory “sexual assault training” might supply it. I am on the faculty at the University of Wisconsin–Whitewater (UWW), where I teach English. Last February, all members of the campus community were informed by … Continue reading “My University Wastes Time and Money on Sexual Assault Training”


Why Colleges Should Be Allowed to Limit Students’ Federal Loans

Student loan debt, now totaling roughly $1.3 trillion, is the second largest source of debt in the United States. This is especially concerning given that there are presently eight million people in default on their student loans. Under federal law, colleges, especially those with open enrollment such as two-year technical schools, face severe consequences if, for … Continue reading “Why Colleges Should Be Allowed to Limit Students’ Federal Loans”


Administrative Bloat on Campus: Academia Shrinks, Students Suffer

American campuses have drifted away from academia and toward administration. The shift badly impacts the traditional mission of both college and students. Ideally, college infuses knowledge and critical thinking through a free flow of ideas. But modern campuses are ideological battlefields where real debate is discouraged. Ideally, students are exposed to a wide range of … Continue reading “Administrative Bloat on Campus: Academia Shrinks, Students Suffer”


A Critical Education Department Position Has Been Filled—and Filled Well

“Dems are taking forever to approve my people, including Ambassadors,” President Trump tweeted on June 5. “They are nothing but OBSTRUCTIONISTS! Want approvals.” Fortunately for President Trump, many appointments don’t require Senate approval, and a cabinet member may appoint leaders to certain high-level positions within his or her department. This week Secretary of Education Betsy … Continue reading “A Critical Education Department Position Has Been Filled—and Filled Well”


Assessment and Power in the University

Universities have been assessing students by grading their work since the Middle Ages.  Sometimes students complained that the professor wasn’t fair, but nobody thought the system was fundamentally flawed. Then, about three decades ago, a new idea arose in American universities—that campus bureaucrats needed to assess student learning outcomes. This occurred as part of a … Continue reading “Assessment and Power in the University”


The UNC Board of Governors Needs Its Own Staff

The University of North Carolina was founded with an excellent governance structure—with one glaring flaw that allows power to be concentrated in the General Administration rather than dispersed between the several branches. That flaw is the Board of Governors’ dependence on the administration for information. In 2013, I proposed that this problem could be corrected … Continue reading “The UNC Board of Governors Needs Its Own Staff”


Senate Budget Is Prudent, Predictable (And That’s a Good Thing)

The budget released by the North Carolina Senate in early May sets a careful course for higher education. It includes modest increases over last year’s budget for both the University of North Carolina system and the state’s community college system. It also includes several policy changes aimed at making higher education more transparent and efficient. … Continue reading “Senate Budget Is Prudent, Predictable (And That’s a Good Thing)”


Are Full-Time Faculty Being Adjunctified? Recent Data Show Otherwise

The “adjunctification” phenomenon is a familiar concern to most recent Ph.D. graduates, as well as a recurring criticism of perceived trends in faculty employment. One professor recently wrote that it was a professional “shame.” This issue seems to have hit a boiling point in the past few years, with a multitude of articles and reports … Continue reading “Are Full-Time Faculty Being Adjunctified? Recent Data Show Otherwise”


21st Century College Admissions: Bidding for Brains

Going through the college process makes no sense. First, kids guess where they might want to go, then pay to apply, wait to hear, and, if accepted, fill out financial aid forms, wait, and eventually learn what it will cost. That’s a poor process for buying something that costs between $100,000 and $300,000. My daughter’s … Continue reading “21st Century College Admissions: Bidding for Brains”