Filed under Commentary

What Is the Point of College?

… [A]s higher education expands its reach, it’s increasingly hard to say what college is like and what college is for. In the United States, where I now teach, more than 17 million undergraduates will be enrolling in classes this fall. They will be passing through institutions small and large, public and private, two-year and … Continue reading

How Will Education Be Different in 100 Years

A video from The Atlantic. At this year’s Aspen Ideas Festival, we asked a group of professors, engineers, and journalists how education will change in a century. “I mean, will you need to know knowledge?” asks the journalist Amanda Ripley. “Or will you just need to be an amazing processor of information and an analyst?” Other panelists include Pamela … Continue reading

Information Technology: The Accidental Career for Ph.D.s

The United States has two major employment dilemmas. On the supply side, American universities produce a well-documented surfeit of Ph.D.s, far in excess of the number of tenure-track job openings. On the demand side, the American information-technology industry is greatly in need of skilled workers. But there has yet to be a move to direct … Continue reading

Pols’ High Anxiety Over Higher Ed

College, once a sure ticket to the middle class, is causing a lot of anxiety these days. People are concerned about its cost, about low graduation rates and about the poor employment prospects of some graduates. Hillary Clinton complained about the burden of student debt in a speech in New York last month. Senator Marco Rubio … Continue reading

Federal Solutions To Our Student Loan Problem

My dad grew up in a country that was generous and farsighted enough to see that the more its people learned, the more its people earned. So after deploying to fly a B-24 Liberator over Japan, he went to college on the GI Bill and learned enough to open his own law practice. And he … Continue reading

Tightrope for Adjunct Faculty at Community Colleges

“Your students are afraid of you.” “Really?” “Yes. You are intimidating. Try to smile more in class so they are more comfortable with you.” What began as the strangest, most Twilight Zone-like experience that I have ever had in my 13 years of teaching ended up being one of the most humiliating and frustrating conversations … Continue reading

The Slow Death of the University

A few years ago, I was being shown around a large, very technologically advanced university in Asia by its proud president. As befitted so eminent a personage, he was flanked by two burly young minders in black suits and shades, who for all I knew were carrying Kalashnikovs under their jackets. Having waxed lyrical about … Continue reading

School: What is it Good for?

One of the curious features about schooling is that there is no explicit consensus about its purpose. Any assertion with regards to function should dramatically affect both the content of what is taught and the structure in terms of how to best instill the things that are taught. For instance, if the purpose of schooling … Continue reading