Emerson’s Vision of the American Scholar

Editor’s Note: This is an abridged version of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s The American Scholar, a lecture he gave to Harvard’s Phi Beta Kappa Society in 1837. This is the third of a Martin Center “History of Higher Ed” series where the Center will republish overlooked writings that shaped American higher education. In the light of … Continue reading “Emerson’s Vision of the American Scholar”


A Path Forward for Reforming College Sports

As we move into 2020, it is important to assess where we are with the uniquely American phenomenon of elite, commercialized college sports.   Often, what is claimed about college sports is not what’s actually happening. The industry and its largest governing body, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), claim to promote an academic-first culture … Continue reading “A Path Forward for Reforming College Sports”


Russell Kirk on Higher Education

Russell Kirk isn’t known as a policy wonk. The Great Books, not the mathematical or statistical models of economic technicians, were his organon of choice. He devoted essays to broad, perennial themes like “the moral imagination,” “liberal learning,” and “the permanent things.” Read his numerous columns about higher education, however, and you might come away … Continue reading “Russell Kirk on Higher Education”


Sky-High Athletics: UNC Spends $125,000 on Private Planes for Recruiting

To reach far-flung towns, private planes can be indispensable. The University of North Carolina system, for instance, has an air fleet to shuttle doctors around the state. UNC Air Operations expands the reach of high-quality health care to remote parts of the state and allows doctors to train medical students while still practicing medicine. The … Continue reading “Sky-High Athletics: UNC Spends $125,000 on Private Planes for Recruiting”


Our Hopes for Higher Ed Reform in 2020

As priorities shift in the minds of higher education leaders and students, it’s important to take stock of recent changes on the local and national levels. At the Martin Center, we have our eyes on some reforms at the top of our list for 2020: Jenna A. Robinson, President More Colleges Experimenting with Income Share … Continue reading “Our Hopes for Higher Ed Reform in 2020”


Books We’d Like to See Under the Christmas Tree in 2019

One of my favorite projects at the Martin Center is the cultivation of our small-but-growing higher education library. So far, we’ve collected more than 600 books about higher education and the ideas that inform our understanding of education—as an institution, a lifelong project, and a higher calling. I enjoy perusing the latest offers from academic … Continue reading “Books We’d Like to See Under the Christmas Tree in 2019”


How Medical Schools Are Polarizing Tomorrow’s Doctors

To be a successful doctor, it is no longer enough to make an accurate diagnosis and recommend an effective treatment. Today’s medical schools want their students to be well-versed in politics—and not just any politics, but issues embraced by the left. Left-leaning issues are weaving their way into the curriculum and woe to those who … Continue reading “How Medical Schools Are Polarizing Tomorrow’s Doctors”


The Continual Creep of Social Justice into Higher Education

Editor’s note: This article is adapted from a December 6 speech at an event hosted by the National Association of Scholars and the Martin Center on social justice and identity in American higher education. Social justice activists say they want to bring about a golden age. The road to the golden city always requires more … Continue reading “The Continual Creep of Social Justice into Higher Education”


New Research Shows Federal Student Aid Is Worse than We Thought

For years I have railed against the dysfunctional federal student loan program. The availability of cheap federal student loans has enabled universities to increase tuition fees aggressively, helping fund an unproductive academic arms race that, among other things, has led to sizable administrative bloat on most campuses. The proportion of recent college graduates from the … Continue reading “New Research Shows Federal Student Aid Is Worse than We Thought”


Battling the Red Guards of Red Pedagogy

As education goes, so goes nearly everything else: politics, culture, and social cohesion. And those who form the minds of teachers—who, in turn, instruct young minds—arguably wield even greater influence. It is unsurprising, then, that schools of education, where teachers receive their training, are at the epicenter of ongoing ideological battles. As the Martin Center’s … Continue reading “Battling the Red Guards of Red Pedagogy”