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”


North Carolina’s Apprenticeship Program Offers Big Potential at Small Cost

Recently, a bill was introduced in the North Carolina legislature that would shift control of the state’s apprenticeship program from the department of commerce to the community college system. The goal is to streamline the program and make it more aligned with some of the community colleges’ workforce development initiatives. The program, “ApprenticeshipNC,” has been … Continue reading “North Carolina’s Apprenticeship Program Offers Big Potential at Small Cost”


Let’s Not Throw the Dual Enrollment Baby Out with the Bathwater

Dual enrollment programs, which allow high school students to take college courses for college credit, have been getting some bad publicity lately. In 2013, the popular college watchdog site Minding the Campus reported problems with instructor qualifications. More recently, an article here on the Martin Center site questioned the way dual enrollment programs are administered … Continue reading “Let’s Not Throw the Dual Enrollment Baby Out with the Bathwater”


If We Can’t Repeal the Higher Education Act, Let’s Improve It

The United States got along nicely for its first 176 years without any federal legislation on higher education. (A good reason why there was no such legislation is the absence of any authority for it in the Constitution, but that’s not a point I want to go into here.) In 1965, however, Congress passed and … Continue reading “If We Can’t Repeal the Higher Education Act, Let’s Improve It”


Citing Genetics and Power of Rock Music, Physicist Says Diversity Crossbreeds Excellence

James Gates Jr. is a theoretical physicist renowned for his work with supersymmetry, supergravity, and string theory. The University of Maryland professor says he prefers to shun publicity, but his curriculum vitae boasts of many accomplishments and honors, including service on former President Obama’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. He also is an … Continue reading “Citing Genetics and Power of Rock Music, Physicist Says Diversity Crossbreeds Excellence”


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”


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”



Will We, at Last, Do Something About Accreditation?

Accreditation is supposed to act as a quality guarantee for colleges and universities, but it works very poorly. Students can and regularly do graduate from accredited schools without having learned anything. It’s as if toasters with the Underwriters Laboratories seal were prone to shorting out and catching fire. We know, for example, that a large … Continue reading “Will We, at Last, Do Something About Accreditation?”


Educating for the Workplace: A Dilemma

Recently I attended a meeting of a committee of the University of North Carolina system’s Board of Governors that has a mission of “setting goals for economic impact.” Higher education’s role in the economy cannot be ignored; the extent of that role is, however, highly debatable. Some people believe that academia is the place to … Continue reading “Educating for the Workplace: A Dilemma”