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…

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…

Relationships Make the Student

Powerful research and scholarship need not be exotic to have an impact. Sometimes a close look at the familiar can be surprisingly powerful. Relationship-Rich Education: How Human Connections Drive Success in College, an accessible and informative book by Peter Felten and Leo M. Lambert, does just that. The authors examine something that we who work…

Merit Debunked

One of the most insightful books about higher education in the past few years is The Merit Myth: How Our Colleges Favor the Rich and Divide America, by Anthony P. Carnevale, Peter Schmidt, and Jeff Strohl. It received a good degree of notice and mostly positive reviews, and was mentioned as one of Forbes Magazine’s…

An Immigrant’s Educational Journey

One of the most effective ways to look at rights of passage is by tracking a group of people. It’s a familiar model that can lend itself to different kinds of experiences, from war stories to expeditions to immigration to more. Chronology usually drives the narrative, with the beginning introducing us to a disparate group…

Working Against Equity

Descriptive statistics sometimes do not receive the respect that they deserve. It’s unfortunate, for in the right hands, with wisdom, judgment and expertise, descriptive statistics can make a complicated story clear. One of the better uses of descriptive statistics that I have read in quite some time is found in Charles T. Clotfelter’s Unequal Colleges…

Community Colleges, Immigrant Needs & the Job Market

A straightforward question is sometimes the best way to understand an issue – not because one might find an easy answer, but because the question opens up doors to complexity and helps with broader comprehension. In 2007, Duane E. Leigh, an economics professor emeritus from Washington State University, and Andrew Gill, a professor of economics…