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Russell Nieli

Russell K. Nieli is a lecturer in Princeton University’s politics department. Author of an important study of the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, he has written numerous articles on public policy topics and edited an anthology of writings on affirmative action. Nieli graduated summa cum laude from Duke University, received his Ph.D. from Princeton in 1970, and taught at several colleges before returning to Princeton. He is the author of two papers published by the Pope Center:“The Decline and Revival of Liberal Learning at Duke: The Focus and Gerst Programs” in March 2007 and, in August 2007, "From Christian Gentleman to Bewildered Seeker."

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Articles by Russell Nieli

From Christian Gentleman to Bewildered Seeker Aug 15, 2007
Russell K. Nieli's new essay tells the story of the increasing loss of purpose and focus suffered by American universities over the ages. Nieli, a lecturer in Princeton University’s politics department, has authored an important study of the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, written numerous articles on public policy topics and edited an anthology of writings on affirmative action. Nieli graduated summa cum laude from Duke University and received his Ph.D. from Princeton in 1970. He previously authored a Pope Center research paper in March 2007, “The Decline and Revival of Liberal Learning at Duke: The Focus and Gerst Programs.”

From Christian Gentleman to Bewildered Seeker Aug 15, 2007
A new essay from the Pope Center fills a critical void in understanding today’s university. “From Christian Gentleman to Bewildered Seeker” reveals how the nation’s universities lost their coherence and purpose and became fragmented and over-specialized. This beautifully woven history reports on the major transformation that began in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and received new momentum during the late 1960s.

The Decline and Revival of Liberal Learning at Duke: The Focus and Gerst Programs Mar 12, 2007
Two academic programs at Duke University are helping undergraduates experience a well-rounded education, and these programs could be copied by other universities. This is the message of a new report from the Pope Center for Higher Education Policy, “The Decline and Revival of Liberal Learning at Duke: The Focus and Gerst Programs,” by Russell K. Nieli. Duke is responding to a problem that afflicts many universities: There is no longer a “core curriculum. “ Students round out their education by selecting courses that meet loose “distribution requirements,” but the resulting education can be fragmented, limited, and incoherent. Duke has countered this fragmentation by forming the Focus and Gerst programs. To view the executive summary of the report, click here.

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