Opportunity Lost: UNC’s Board of Governors Rejects a Helpful Innovation

Wise decision making depends on knowledge of the full range of options and information, not with rhetoric designed to push a specific agenda. And leadership that seeks out only one side of the story will not produce good governance. Sadly, the University of North Carolina system’s Board of Governors seems to prefer limiting its information … Continue reading “Opportunity Lost: UNC’s Board of Governors Rejects a Helpful Innovation”


Remaking Society One Five-Year Strategic Plan At a Time

In January of this year, the University of North Carolina (UNC) Board of Governors unanimously adopted a system-wide strategic plan commissioned by President Spellings. The plan, entitled Higher Expectations, provides an outline of specific goals and metrics that are aimed to help the University prioritize its efforts in the next five years, essentially functioning as … Continue reading “Remaking Society One Five-Year Strategic Plan At a Time”


Somewhere Between a Jeremiad and a Eulogy

Half of me is reluctant to write something harshly critical about higher education in the United States because I’m such a true-blue believer in, beneficiary of, and insider to the system. I’m an outspoken apostle for the small liberal arts college (SLAC) form of education, a distinctly American institution. But that institution is falling fast … Continue reading “Somewhere Between a Jeremiad and a Eulogy”


Athletics Department Oversight of Academics: A Scandal Waiting to Happen

If a university ignores potential conflicts of interests between athletics and academics, it imperils itself. Athletics departments that lack academic oversight signal misplaced priorities and pose a risk of becoming a national scandal. Specifically, athletics departments that run their own academic advising and tutorial programs without supervision from the academic side of the university lower … Continue reading “Athletics Department Oversight of Academics: A Scandal Waiting to Happen”


My State Struggles With the Perils of Legislating Higher Education Reform

Universities have by and large rendered themselves unable to be policed—sometimes quite literally—and that has not gone unnoticed by the legislators who fund them. Wisconsin’s Campus Free Speech Act is just the latest attempt by states to impose some order on institutions by compelling their colleges and universities to take free speech seriously. Thus far, … Continue reading “My State Struggles With the Perils of Legislating Higher Education Reform”


Should All University Property Be Tax-Exempt?

Connecticut legislators made headlines last year when they introduced a bill to tax revenue-generating college and university property. The bill was crafted to help New Haven, where Yale University is located, remain solvent. The bill specifies that any commercial property that is owned and operated by a university and that generates more than $6,000 in … Continue reading “Should All University Property Be Tax-Exempt?”


Faculty Hiring Needs Proper Checks and Balances

Editor’s note: This is the second part of an essay on how to restore ideological balance in universities without affirmative action for conservative scholars. The first part can be found here. The ideological imbalance of American university faculties is not new. Whether one looks at faculty voter registrations, publications, course syllabi reading lists, or merely … Continue reading “Faculty Hiring Needs Proper Checks and Balances”


Vote No for Affirmative Action for Conservatives

Editor’s note: This is the first part of an essay on how to restore ideological balance in universities without affirmative action for conservative scholars. The second part can be found here. Legislating a problem away is an extremely tempting option, when available. Why not try to fix the most intractable problem in public higher education—its intensifying … Continue reading “Vote No for Affirmative Action for Conservatives”


The Contemporary Relevance of A Poem on the Underground Wall

The last train is nearly due The underground is closing soon And in the dark deserted station Restless in anticipation A man waits in the shadows On my return to Georgetown’s campus this fall, I was greeted with the following broadcast e-mail message dated September 6: Dear Members of the Georgetown University Community, We write … Continue reading “The Contemporary Relevance of A Poem on the Underground Wall


The Campus Free Speech Problem Worsens and Washington Finally Acts

The turnabout in federal policy towards higher education has been dramatic. Back on September 7, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced that her department was rescinding the 2011 “Dear Colleague” letter in which the Obama administration’s Office for Civil Rights imposed new standards for the way colleges must deal with allegations of sexual assault and … Continue reading “The Campus Free Speech Problem Worsens and Washington Finally Acts”