Faculty Accountability Is Terrible—Even Students Have Better Standards

I became interested in academic accountability within the university because I had no choice: the lack of accountability I experienced at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington obligated me to act. I had become embroiled in a situation where I was morally bound to report wrongdoing. But I had no idea that being a … Continue reading “Faculty Accountability Is Terrible—Even Students Have Better Standards”


Why Can’t This Public University Stay Out of Court?

Located just north of Atlanta, Kennesaw State University is a school enrolling some 35,000 students. Arguably, the most noteworthy thing about it is the fact that its officials keep making decisions that land it in court. In February, the university’s “speech zone” policy came under attack. A student group, Ratio Christi, wanted to put up … Continue reading “Why Can’t This Public University Stay Out of Court?”


University Foundations Enable Waste, Fraud, and Abuse

By now, most Americans are aware of the widespread waste and decadence at many private and public universities. From lazy rivers to exorbitant chancellors’ salaries, examples abound. But those well-publicized cases, problematic as they are, can be easily addressed by parents and students who pay tuition and by legislators who control the purse strings. However, … Continue reading “University Foundations Enable Waste, Fraud, and Abuse”


The Quizzical Case of UNC’s “Buy Local” Resolution

State governments have long favored giving preferential treatment to businesses in the state. North Carolina, for instance, has a general policy that favors local companies for state purchases. Now, in a perplexing move, University of North Carolina system is exploring a similar measure. At a December meeting, the Board of Governors discussed a “buy local” … Continue reading “The Quizzical Case of UNC’s “Buy Local” Resolution”


Intellectual Diversity and Academic Professionalism

Editor’s Note: This is a condensed version of a speech Dr. Otteson gave at a January James G. Martin Center luncheon. Our topic today is the importance of intellectual diversity on campus. I doubt there is anyone here who does not believe in the importance of intellectual diversity on campus, so I would like to … Continue reading “Intellectual Diversity and Academic Professionalism”


Is Faculty Accountability Lacking at UNC Wilmington?

In my 45 years of teaching I have never filed an academic complaint against another faculty member—nor has one ever been filed against me. I have long believed that this demonstrates the overwhelming integrity of the teaching profession. But in 2012, as a professor and former chair in film studies at the University of North … Continue reading “Is Faculty Accountability Lacking at UNC Wilmington?”


Should We Stop Asking College Students to Evaluate Their Instructors?

At the end of every semester, at nearly every college in the country, millions and millions of students fill out student evaluations of teachers. These forms ask very sensible questions. Did the teacher effectively communicate the material? Were they available for students? Department chairs and deans take these evaluations very seriously. At teaching-intensive institutions, these … Continue reading “Should We Stop Asking College Students to Evaluate Their Instructors?”


Just How Many Diversity Employees Does the UNC System Need?

In June 2017 the North Carolina General Assembly requested that the state’s university system conduct a thorough analysis of its diversity and inclusion efforts as part of an ongoing assessment of programs’ cost efficiency and performance. Within three months from now, the legislature will receive a report that catalogs the system’s diversity procedures rather than … Continue reading “Just How Many Diversity Employees Does the UNC System Need?”


Title IX Is an Insult to Victims of Sexual Assault

Rape is an appalling crime. Its perpetrators deserve criminal prosecution and lengthy imprisonment upon conviction. Yet the discourse on sexual assault at American colleges and universities in the past few years has fueled a backlash. Until the recent revelations of #MeToo, colleges have dominated the discussion of sexual misconduct in America. (This focus is misplaced, … Continue reading “Title IX Is an Insult to Victims of Sexual Assault”


Who’s Really Playing Politics at UNC?

Once upon a time, there was a happy, sleepy university system in which nobody quarreled. The Board of Governors rubberstamped whatever the President wanted, the legislature gladly handed over whatever sums the President asked for, and the State Governor smiled on from above. But that period of comity in the governance of the University of … Continue reading “Who’s Really Playing Politics at UNC?”