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Full-Time Non-Tenured Faculty Represent Innovation, Not Aberration
The increased use of non-tenure track (NTT) faculty by universities has drawn condemnation from many entrenched in the seniority system. But critics may be ignoring the more complex realities of modern higher education. They may also be ignoring the rise of full-time NTT faculty, which recent evidence suggests has significantly benefited schools and students. Fortunately, officials at Western Carolina University, NC State University, and other schools in North Carolina and elsewhere are recognizing that the NTT is not a monolith, and are taking steps to establish better faculty hiring systems.... More »
February 08, 2016


Cutting Costs Is Possible. These Schools Did It.
As the stock market gyrates and talk of a new recession begins, many universities have reason to worry. The cost of college education hasn't stopped rising, students are fearful of being burdened by debt, and political pressure is beginning to weigh in. Congress is entertaining a bill that would require 25 percent of a school's endowment spending to go toward student financial aid, and several presidential candidates have unveiled plans to solve the student debt crisis. At the state level, the return of state support to its pre-recession levels may be in jeopardy. But a few universities have chosen to take a different route. In addition to looking for more state revenues, they've found ways to reduce their expenditures and to ease the financial burden on students.... More »
February 05, 2016


Post-Protest Mizzou: Adverse Consequences of the Capitulation
Nearly three months have passed since student protests upended the institution where I teach law, the University of Missouri (Mizzou). There have been several changes on the Columbia campus. We now have a highly regarded African-American interim president, Michael Middleton, who has a long history at the university. Our interim chancellor seems far more attuned to the campus climate and hosts weekly "chats with the chancellor" to foster a more open atmosphere. On the surface, things seem to have returned to normal or perhaps even improved. Recent trends, however, suggest that the protesters' "success" may prove ephemeral.... More »
February 03, 2016


Universities' Credit Ratings Indicate the Need for Bold Reform
North Carolina's higher education market is, for the most part, vibrant. The state is home to more than 50 four-year universities as well as 60 community colleges. And online education, certificate programs, and non-traditional job training initiatives have given prospective students even more options. Nevertheless, some institutions are experiencing significant financial woes. Unaddressed, such problems could result in campus closings or, worse, perpetual taxpayer bailouts of ineptly-managed universities.... More »
February 01, 2016


Bad Incentives Undermine the Scientific Process
The scientific process is broken. The tenure process, "publish or perish" mentality, and the insufficient review process of academic journals mean that researchers spend less time solving important puzzles and more time pursuing publication. But that wasn't always the case.... More »
January 29, 2016


Academia UK: A Dictatorship of the Righteous
In Great Britain, as in the United States, a growing moral consensus and a lack of political diversity among faculty and administrators is moving higher education away from the pursuit and transmission of knowledge in favour of the promotion of politically correct values. Bad as that problem is in the U.S., it is at least as bad on this side of the Atlantic; perhaps worse. While in America there is strong pushback against those who want to change universities from places of open inquiry into places that tell students what they should think, there is less of that in Britain.... More »
January 27, 2016


The Campus Sustainability Movement: A Threat to the Marketplace of Ideas
An especially pernicious brand of environmentalism—"sustainability"—is on the verge of becoming an unstated, but very real, part of North Carolina State University's mission. University leaders are developing an aggressive public relations campaign and curriculum change that could create a system in which students are inculcated in social justice, environmental justice, and progressivism—all of which are tenets of sustainability. Left unchecked, this seemingly harmless movement (which has a strong presence at other North Carolina universities, too) could sow the seeds of social upheaval by turning hearts and minds away from the principles of a free society.... More »
January 25, 2016


The New Creationists
As a liberal who grew up near California's Bible Belt in Orange County, I was brought up to believe that the enemies of reason were the Christian creationists who taught that the world is 6,000 years old and that biologists can't explain the evolution of complexity without invoking a divine creator. While I still believe creationists are wrong, I have come to see their progressive academic counterparts as a bigger problem. I'll call them the New Creationists. They use Darwin as a bludgeon against the old creationists, but then reject scientific conclusions when they conflict with their political convictions.... More »
January 22, 2016


American Colleges Are Forgetting to Teach Citizenship
We have come to ignore what has always been understood as a primary goal of education: the formation of reflective and responsible citizens. We are paying the price for that neglect today. All too many Americans, even nominally well-educated ones, do not understand their own political and economic systems, and are appallingly ignorant of the American past. They are bereft of any sense of love for, or profound connection to, their own nation and its traditions. Needless to say, such citizens will have neither the intelligence nor the heart to meet the rigorous challenges of a very demanding future. We will have to do better, and start doing so very soon, if we are to maintain a republican form of government.... More »
January 20, 2016


Concussions: The Latest Reason to Question College Athletics
The multi-billion dollar college athletics industry is under attack. While there is no shortage of reports on academic and financial abuses, a new problem is emerging: evidence of long-term neurological effects caused by high-impact head trauma in football. This problem has gained notoriety from a new movie, Concussion, which tells the story of a doctor trying to link previous head trauma to uncommon deaths in professional football players.... More »
January 18, 2016


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