On Topic

Preparing for the ‘after’ life in higher ed

A new book argues that colleges don’t do enough to promote post-graduate success

When Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa published Academically Adrift in 2011, it exposed the shortcomings of undergraduate learning.

Jump-starting the liberal arts conversation

How liberal education helps reshape ourselves and society

Read just about any editorial page these days and you’ll see a familiar refrain: “Is a college degree still worth it?” Wesleyan University (Conn.) President Michael Roth argues that not only is it worth it, but that it is more important than ever.

Higher education admittedly faces many challenges over cost and access. Online instruction, certificate courses and skills-based learning offer fixes, but Roth says there is much more to higher education than just getting a job.

Unmet obligations, misplaced priorities in higher ed

Examining a social class system that disadvantages the majority

A common notion of college is that it’s a great equalizer—anyone who works hard and applies themselves can achieve a better life.

But Elizabeth Armstrong, a sociologist from University of Michigan, and Laura Hamilton, a professor from University of California, Merced present a different reality in Paying for the Party: How College Maintains Inequality (Harvard University Press, 2013). The authors say that, on today’s campuses, success depends as much on where you’re from and who you know as it does on academic ability.

Building ‘the perfect university’

CEO of the Minerva Project says it starts with a clean slate, without the baggage of a traditional school.

What if you could create a new kind of university? What would it be like?

For Ben Nelson, CEO of the Minerva Project, it would combine a redefined student body, a reinvented curriculum, rigorous academic standards, cutting-edge technology and an immersive global experience. Nelson launched Minerva in 2011 to provide an Ivy League-like education at a fraction of the cost.

Escaping the athletic trap

How college sports has led to an ‘arms race’ in which there are more losers than winners

College sports has long had its share of scandals, including rape charges against players and coaches, illegal payments to athletes, academic fraud and point shaving, to name a few.

Closing the gender gap in science

How university leaders can help level the playing field

A March report commissioned by the cosmetics company L’Oréal focused on the disproportionate role of women in science. In a nation that prides itself on scientific achievement, the report reveals, less than a third of women actually enter the field, and even fewer graduate and go on to careers.

Sexual assaults on campus: Journalist talks about “frustrating search for justice”

Kristen Lombardi, lead journalist on landmark sex assault report, says she's startled to see “statistics that haven’t changed in decades”

In January, President Obama launched the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault to help colleges and universities combat what he called “the prevalence of rape and sexual assault at our nation’s institutions of higher education.” The announcement came as a growing number of young women have filed federal complaints against colleges around the country over the mishandling of sexual assault cases.

Unintended consequences: The rise—and fall—of adjuncts in higher education

Adjunct faculty have long played a supporting role in higher education. These often overqualified professors work long hours for comparatively little pay, on the hope that it might lead to a full-time position. But somewhere along the way, the situation changed.

Changing college admissions to reflect motivation and ambition

Bard College President Leon Botstein says the higher education admission process is flawed

Bard College in New York made news last fall when President Leon Botstein announced that prospective students would no longer be required to submit their grades, SAT or ACT scores, teacher recommendations or the typical personal essay. Instead they will now be able to apply to Bard by writing four analytic papers—10,000 words total—chosen from a variety of weighty, thought-provoking topics.

Fostering a college-going culture against the odds

South Texas College's eSTC Campus is a totally self-contained campus where students do everything online

As the founding president of South Texas College, Shirley Reed has had her share of challenges in an area of high poverty with many families, recently immigrated from Mexico, who might only dream of sending a child to college.

Since 1993, Reed and STC have made tremendous inroads on changing that.“The students I see are all motivated, hungry for a better life. More than 70 percent of our students are the first in their families to attend college, meaning they don’t know exactly how to attend college at first, but they know it’s the path to a better future,” she says.

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