The State of the Faculty – A Liberal View

The study of professors’ views by Neil Gross of Harvard and Solon Simmons confirms much of what we already knew: there are more liberals than conservatives working in academia, and the ratio increases in the humanities and social sciences, as well as at more elite universities. However, the survey does show an important fact, that … Continue reading The State of the Faculty – A Liberal View

Some Faculty Say Diversity Lowers Academic Quality

Harvey Mudd College has been roiled by a self-study, informally titled the Wabash report, that referred to some anonymous faculty declaring that efforts to promote diversity in the student body had lowered the quality of the school.  At first, the school tried to block publication or censor parts of the report, completed in 2015, but … Continue reading Some Faculty Say Diversity Lowers Academic Quality

Intimidated Faculty Find a New Way to Capitulate

Last week’s campus irritant,  a story in the Wall Street Journal, “Faculty’s New Focus: Don’t Offend,” claimed that an increasing number of professors are changing the contents of their syllabi. The story exposes the advent of bias response teams and undergraduates demanding a supportive, untroubled campus experience, along with the Obama Administration’s “Dear Colleague” letters on … Continue reading Intimidated Faculty Find a New Way to Capitulate

The Age of Liberal Education Is Ending

America’s universities are collapsing into a miasma of postmodernism and multiculturalism. They have been approaching peak radicalization for several decades now, but in recent years the cultural left has pushed toward a complete takeover of our campuses. A hyper “political correctness”—with trigger warnings, safe spaces, micro-aggressions, censorship, and sometimes even physical violence—has enveloped our universities. … Continue reading The Age of Liberal Education Is Ending

Liberals Who Drifted Toward the New Illiberalism

Liberal. Progressive.  Liberal progressive.  Progressive liberal.  Radical.  Social democrat.  Democratic socialist.  Occupiers.  Social justice warriors. What do we call today’s leaders of the political left?  Where do they stand in the eye of history?  Answering these questions resembles sometimes trying to grab an eel with your bare hand.  Most likely it will slip away, but … Continue reading Liberals Who Drifted Toward the New Illiberalism

Is the Glut of Liberals In Academia Benign?

“Academe is Overrun by Liberals. So What?” UCLA historian Russell Jacoby both declares and asks in a long Chronicle of Higher Education essay. Although published on April 1, it is presumably not an April Fool’s joke. For a number or reasons — not all of which coexist easily —Jacoby dismisses out of hand the notion … Continue reading Is the Glut of Liberals In Academia Benign?

Affirmative Action for Conservative Faculty?

According to many critics, the case is shut. Higher education — the one American institution that should make intellectual diversity a first priority — actually appears to do just the opposite. In fact, some critics suggest that universities have made it a top priority to create an environment of intellectual homogeneity – to an extent … Continue reading Affirmative Action for Conservative Faculty?

The Liberal Arts Can’t Fix Higher Education

For the past two autumns the two leading academic reform organizations, the National Association of Scholars (NAS) and the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA), have held events offering high praise to the liberal arts as a means to improve students’ writing and to provide them with the classical culture that Mathew Arnold calls … Continue reading The Liberal Arts Can’t Fix Higher Education

The Fading of Liberal Education

The best ranking of undergraduate institutions by their general education is ACTA’s What Will They Learn? project. The evaluation looks at seven core subjects (composition, literature, foreign languages, U.S. government or history, economics, math, and science) and tallies whether schools require all students to show sufficient knowledge and proficiency in each one. The ACTA approach goes … Continue reading The Fading of Liberal Education

‘My Students Scare Me’ – A Liberal Professor

I’m a professor at a midsize state school. I have been teaching college classes for nine years now. I have won (minor) teaching awards, studied pedagogy extensively, and almost always score highly on my student evaluations. I am not a world class teacher by any means, but I am conscientious; I attempt to put teaching … Continue reading ‘My Students Scare Me’ – A Liberal Professor

How the Far Left on Campus Ruined Liberalism

By Taylor Schmitt I have some confessions to make: I am a liberal. I am pro-choice. I favor the legalization of gay marriage and marijuana. Given supreme authority, I would drastically cut our military budget and use the money to institute a single-payer healthcare system (certainly not something many of my colleagues at the Independent would agree … Continue reading How the Far Left on Campus Ruined Liberalism

Faculty Ousted at Harvard – From Power, That Is

The ills besetting higher education in recent years – ballooning tuitions, kangaroo disciplinary tribunals, speech codes and other violations of academic freedom, expanding bureaucracies, invasions of student and faculty privacy, lowered academic standards, and others – are on virtuallyeveryone’s minds. However, these problems are not mutually exclusiveand severable; rather, theyare manifestations of a larger downward … Continue reading Faculty Ousted at Harvard – From Power, That Is

Looking at Inequality in Faculty Pay

Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Company once had a policy that the CEO could not make more than five times the amount earned by the lowest entry-level employee, capping the CEO’s salary at $81,000 in the early 1980s. By 1995, though, that policy had been eliminated. It turns out that it was difficult to attract … Continue reading Looking at Inequality in Faculty Pay

How Colleges Fail Liberal Students

This is an edited version of a talk sponsored by the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy and published Aug. 6 on the Pope Center site. The talk was given on Milton Friedman Day, July 31 in Wilmington, North Carolina. *** Too often, American college students face a one-question test, one based not … Continue reading How Colleges Fail Liberal Students

Anti-Liberalism at Vassar: Will the Professors Please Stand Up?

Last month, the Vassar chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine posted a Nazi propaganda poster on its Tumblr site. The poster depicted, among other things, a big nosed man carrying a moneybag. The SJP had previously posted material from an anti-Semitic magazine, using the classic “fifth columnist” trope to describe Israel’s American defenders. At that time, … Continue reading Anti-Liberalism at Vassar: Will the Professors Please Stand Up?

Douglas Laycock: Liberal Target of Intolerant Liberalism

Liberalism and the left have become virtually indistinguishable (as Fred Siegel’s impressive Revolt Against The Masses persuasively documents), becoming more intolerant and hence more intolerable. An exemplary recent example is the recent attack orchestrated by GetEqual, a Berkeley-based militant gay rights group, against University of Virginia law professor Douglas Laycock. Laycock, ubiquitously described, as here, as “husband of UVA President Teresa Sullivan [and] … Continue reading Douglas Laycock: Liberal Target of Intolerant Liberalism

How to Save the Liberal Arts

Minding the Campus’s recent symposium on the liberal arts’ troubles was enlightening and timely. Many of the contributors offered stirring defenses of a classical, liberal arts education that emphasized the indispensability of the humanities to pursuing a rich and vibrant intellectual life. I’d like to add several points to the discussion. Symposium contributors properly shared … Continue reading How to Save the Liberal Arts

The Liberal Arts Are in Trouble–Should We Celebrate?: Part 2

Today’s respondents to our symposium question, “Should we be unhappy that the liberal arts are going down?,” are Patrick Deneen, Peter Wood, and Peter Lawler.  * * * .Patrick Deneen, Notre Dame We should be unhappy that the liberal arts are “going down” in theory but not in fact.  Because the liberal arts, of course, have already … Continue reading The Liberal Arts Are in Trouble–Should We Celebrate?: Part 2

The Liberal Arts Are in Trouble–Should We Celebrate?

As students and their families rethink the value of the liberal arts, defenders of traditional education are understandably ambivalent. On the one hand, the diminished stature of the liberal arts seems long overdue, and this critical reevaluation might lead to thoughtful reform. On the other, this reevaluation might doom the liberal arts to irrelevance. To that … Continue reading The Liberal Arts Are in Trouble–Should We Celebrate?

Who Runs Our Colleges– Administrators or Faculty?

Easy question. Administrators do. Odd as it may sound today, faculties have long assumed the right and duty to set the campus agenda–to establish admission standards, control research and curriculum, run visiting speaker programs, and set the academic and professional criteria on which promotions, prizes and appointments are based. Historically, the faculty actually did control … Continue reading Who Runs Our Colleges– Administrators or Faculty?

“How Not to Defend the Liberal Arts”

Over at The American Conservative, Samuel Goldman has a sharp response to the National Association of Scholars’ Bowdoin report: The authors’ tin ear for readers’ sensibilities is in evidence throughout the report. In particular, the report shows no sympathy for students who doubt, with some justification, that old Bowdoin had room for them. Acknowledging such … Continue reading “How Not to Defend the Liberal Arts”

Why Are Professors Liberal?

To the careful observer of American higher education, the questions Neil Gross raises in Why Are Professors Liberal and Why Do Conservatives Care? might seem self-explanatory. Indeed, such an observer could reason, everyone knows that American universities are run by left-wing academics who bar conservative students and faculty from moving up the ranks. In addition, he might say, … Continue reading Why Are Professors Liberal?

What Happens Today at a Liberal Arts College?

Today the National Association of Scholars is releasing the results of its long, in-depth study of Bowdoin College, “What Does Bowdoin Teach? How a Contemporary Liberal Arts College Shapes Students.” Among the findings: Bowdoin, in a retreat from its past, stresses global citizenship (with declining emphasis and on and concern for the United States). Multi-culturalism, … Continue reading What Happens Today at a Liberal Arts College?

A Liberal View of ‘Becoming Right’

As a staffer with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in the early 1970’s, would-be Supreme Court Justice Lewis F. Powell Jr. penned his historic, if awkwardly titled, memo, “Attack on American Free Enterprise System.”  In that August 1971 “confidential memorandum,” to the Chamber’s board of directors, Powell called for an unprecedented effort on behalf of … Continue reading A Liberal View of ‘Becoming Right’