Filed under Commentary

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

The End of Male Supremacy

Women are not equal to men; they are superior in many ways, and in most ways that will count in the future. It is not just a matter of culture or upbringing. It is a matter of chromosomes, genes, hormones, and nerve circuits. It is not mainly because of how experience shapes women, but because … Continue reading

Inequalities in Education Continue to Fuel Wealth Gap in U.S.

A recent report titled “The Racial Wealth Gap” examined, in conjunction with other factors, the role education plays in the persistent wealth gap between minorities and their White counterparts in this country. The authors noted that, “despite rising college attendance rates among Black and Latino households, barriers to completing a degree have actually widened the … Continue reading

How to be a PhD Big Companies Want to Hire

One of the graduate students two years ahead of me went to an interview with Genenetech and it was a big deal. I remember everyone talking about it because most of the other students just went right into an academic postdoc. Very few ever interviewed with a big company. Sure, a lot of students sent … Continue reading

Are Public Universities Becoming Bastions of Privilege?

Is a state university still fulfilling its mission if it enrolls nearly as many out-of-state students as in-state ones? Is a public university fulfilling its mission if it’s reducing the number of seats for low-income students while increasing spots for wealthier ones? These questions are increasingly being asked in many states around the country—and for good … Continue reading

How Liberal Arts Offer The Very ‘Workplace Skills’ Critics Demand

The Association of American Colleges and Universities recently released the findings of a Hart Research Associates survey that provides useful data for the ongoing national discussion about whether higher education — liberal education in particular — is meeting national needs, in particular for an educated workforce. As I approach the end of my 44th year … Continue reading

Free Community College Could Cost More Than We Think

When I taught consumer finance to law students and consumer advocates, I always warned my students about “free” financial products. Few things, I told them, are truly free. Every time my students saw the word free, I urged them to focus on the three “C’s”: costs; catches and consequences. One or more of these three … Continue reading

Academia’s 1 Percent

Will your Ph.D. lead to an academic job? To answer that question, prospective students are often encouraged to see how recent graduates fared — a task easier said than done. Department placement lists are catalogs of untold stories, a logroll of the disappeared. Those who left academia are erased: According to my own alma mater, … Continue reading

Universities May Become Extinct

Those of us who daily enjoy the grand settings of America’s established universities may be forgiven for thinking they will last forever. Many have lasted centuries, and for at least some of us, things have never been better. Ranks of eager applicants vie for admission – more than we can accept. At the University of … Continue reading