A Little Social Infrastructure Goes a Long Way

Ever been tested for new glasses at an optometrist’s office.? With your eyes pressed against some large and complicated viewer, one is asked to read ever smaller lines of letters, usually shuttering between two settings: “Which is sharper, the first or the second?” When the prescription is right, when the optometrist is satisfied, all the…

Higher Education By Any Other Name

In 2019, before the pandemic, Paul Tough’s book The Years that Matter Most: How College Makes or Breaks Us, came out to good reviews. It was repackaged in 2021 and given a new tile: The Inequality Machine: How College Divides Us. Having read the book under its original title, I can confidently state the new…

The Look of Teaching

When you picture good teaching in your minds eye, what do you see? A charismatic speaker in a large lecture hall, perhaps in a room with raked seating and rows of students at rapt attention? A faculty member seated at a seminar table, surrounding by students, and all treating each other as peers? A senior…

Pasquarella on Public Heath, Justice and the Liberal Arts

Lynn Pasquerella is a philosopher, medical ethicist, and an influential academic thought leader. She heads the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), the nation’s preeminent higher educational association. She’s enjoyed a very successful academic career, having an impact across institutions and disciplines. A scholar who leads, Pasquerella remained active and engaged throughout the pandemic.…

College Leadership Histories: Racism, Integration & Social Justice

The Campus Color Line: College Presidents and the Struggle for Black Freedom is a fascinating work of history. Written by Professor Eddie R. Cole of UCLA, it is a closely researched study of seven college presidents during two intense decades of integration in higher education, from 1948 to 1968. The book offers an up close…

Who Decides?

Several years ago I realized that the concept “should” was not particularly effective in facilitating change in higher education. We are immersed in a world of “shoulds” – from personal health and lifestyle to how large systems operate, and everything in between. We “should” have a work-life balance, students “should” come to class prepared, academia…