Author: Charlotte Allen

Charlotte Allen blogs for the Los Angeles Times and writes frequently about cultural trends for the Weekly Standard.

WASC Was Right to Deny Ashford Accreditation

Andrew, I understand that you were critiquing the accreditation system in general. I agree that it’s not perfect and could focus more directly on what students actually learn rather than on inputs and processes. I do think, though, that when a university doesn’t even have an adequate system in place for monitoring and assessing student […]

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You’re Wrong About Ashford, Andrew

I agree with Andrew Gillen that a large segment of entrenched academia reflexively opposes for-profit colleges and online education. These people don’t even like the MOOCs (Massive Online Open Courses) started by MIT and Harvard! That said, I don’t see any evidence that the WASC acted unfairly when it refused accreditation to Ashford University’s massive, […]

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Science Quotas for Women–A White House Goal

When college women study science, they tend to gravitate toward biology—about 58 percent of all bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in biology go to women. In contrast, women earn some 17 percent of bachelor’s degrees in engineering and computer science and just over 40 percent of bachelor’s degrees in physical sciences and mathematics. The likely reason for this, found in the study The Mathematics […]

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More Rumbles at UVa

The post-mortem continues on the two weeks of turmoil that included the abrupt forced resignation and the equally abrupt reinstatement of University of Virginia president Teresa Sullivan. Everyone on all sides of the dispute over Sullivan’s ousting seems to agree that the Board of Visitors, UVa’s trustees, behaved secretively, discourteously, and ham-handedly when it handed […]

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Peace Breaks Out in Virginia

You’ve got to hand it to Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell. On June 22 he ordered the University of Virginia’s governing board to make it clear by June 26–yesterday–whether its fifteen voting members wanted to reinstate the university’s controversially ousted President Teresa Sullivan–or didn’t. If the board refused to “make a clear, detailed, and unified statement […]

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What Commencement Speakers Might Have Said

Now that commencement speakers have finished their work, what messages did they dispense to the class of 2012, graduating into the worst economy since the Great Depression? Mostly generic words of anodyne idealism: “Live your dream,” “go change the world”–conventional bromides that graduating classes have heard since college life began. Few speakers gave the new […]

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New Diversity Groups at CUNY: ‘White/Jewish’ and ‘Italian-American’

It’s “diversity” in higher education gone mad: An embarrassed City University of New York system (CUNY) yesterday hastily denied a report that it had set up a separate “minority” designation for its Jewish faculty. As CUNY professors joked about “yellow stars” for their Jewish colleagues and Jewish Press columnist Yori Yanover wrote that CUNY’s chancellor, […]

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Uh-Oh–The First Loophole in Student Loan Debt

Carol Todd of Nottingham, Maryland, persuaded a bankruptcy judge in Baltimore to “discharge”–that is, wipe the slate clean on–nearly $340,000 in student loan debt. The grounds were that she has Asperger’s Syndrome, a mild form of autism that apparently prevents her from getting or keeping a steady job. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Gordon ruled on […]

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Inequality Courses on Campus
Mostly One-sided and Dishonest

            By Charlotte Allen and George Leef This article was prepared by Minding the Campus and the John W. Pope Center for Higher Education Policy. A new movement is rising on American campuses, timed perfectly to feed the frenzy over the income gap that is Occupy Wall Street’s main complaint. But this movement […]

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The Chronicle Can’t Seem to Get its Story Straight

Philip W. Semas, president and editor in chief of the Chronicle of Higher Education, is irritated at the Wall Street Journal. On May 9, the Journal ran an editorial castigating the Chronicle for “craven-ness” in firing conservative blogger (and former Wall Street Journal editor) Naomi Schaefer Riley. She had argued in the Chronicle that college […]

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A Peculiar Performance by the Chronicle

The mainstream media seem to be studiously ignoring Naomi Schaefer Riley’s summary banishment on May 7 as a blogger for the Chronicle of Higher Education. She had written a post severely criticizing black studies programs at universities and suggesting that they be eliminated. But some media people who cover the media online, though they are […]

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The Drive to ‘Privatize’ Community Colleges

Santa Monica Community College, a public two-year institution on the Pacific coast not far from Los Angeles, has a reputation as the jewel in the crown of California’s 2.9 million-student community-college system. Known for academic excellence, Santa Monica has one of the highest transfer rates in the state to California’s elite four-year colleges public and […]

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A Major Expansion of Online Courses

Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology announced yesterday that they will partner in a collaborative new higher-education venture, to be called EdX, that will offer a range of online courses to potentially tens of thousands of student worldwide, most of whom will not be enrolled at either Harvard or MIT. The EdX courses, […]

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The Politics of Campus Hazing

The war on fraternities is one of the longest-running conflicts on campus, and the most active front in that war is the current media campaign against hazing, triggered by the lurid charges of former Dartmouth student Andrew Lohse. In an op-ed in his college newspaper, The Dartmouth, and later in a long Rolling Stone article, […]

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Yes, Professors Work Hard, But…

Do college professors work harder than other upper-middle-class Americans, or less hard? Former college president David C. Levy’s March 23 op-ed in the Washington Post, arguing that faculty members ought to increase their classroom time by up to 67 percent, ignited a fierce debate in academe. Levy’s op-ed alone generated 1,352 comments online, mostly from […]

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The Radicalization of the University of California

Are the 234,000 students enrolled in the massive University of California system receiving an education or a re-education? It’s the latter–or something fairly close–according to “A Crisis of Competence,” a report just released by the California Association of Scholars (CAS), the Golden State affiliate of the National Association of Scholars. The devastating 87-page report addressed […]

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The ‘Inequality’ Movement–A Campus Product

The sharp political focus on inequality, driven into the public mind by the Occupy movement and endorsed by President Obama in his State of the Union message, was born, not on the street, but on the campus. It thrives there, mostly under the aegis of elite universities such as Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, Columbia and Johns […]

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A Funny Book about Worthless Degrees

“Here are some [college] degrees that cost you roughly $30,000 in tuition, their much cheaper replacements, and the savings you’d realize:                   Degree                                  Replacement                                        Savings                   Foreign Languages                 Language Software                               $29,721                   Philosophy                             Read Socrates                                    $29,980                   Women’s Studies                   Watch Daytime TV                               $30,000                   Journalism                             Start […]

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Is Investing in Community Colleges a Good Idea?

President Obama’s fiscal 2013 budget contains an $8 billion program called the “Community College to Career Fund.” It would encourage community colleges, in partnerships with employers, to train about two million workers for future jobs. Since there are about 1,045 community colleges in America, the program would amount to a grant–over three years–of a little […]

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Why Not Hire Your Own Adjunct? They Are Very Inexpensive

The cheeky blog Edububble offers a modest proposal: Since college tuition is so high, why not skip the campus middleman and “hire your own professor” as a private tutor? You think you can’t afford that? You’re wrong. While it’s true that hiring a $300,000-a-year academic superstar from Harvard would break the bank for most students […]

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A Settlement on Strange Harassment Charges

Lawrence Connell has won vindication–of sorts. He is the tenured criminal-law professor who was suspended for a year without pay by Widener University’s law school last August and forced to undergo a psychiatric examination and treatment as a condition of his return, despite having been cleared by two separate faculty panels of allegations of sexual […]

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The Outrage of the Adjuncts

Ever heard of the New Faculty Majority? That’s a euphemism of sorts, but an accurate one, for adjuncts and other non-tenure-track teachers who now account for 70 percent of all college instructors. The group is three years old and met for a premiere “summit” in Washington, DC. on January 28th in conjunction with the annual […]

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Has the Higher-Ed Revolution Begun?

It’s happening, almost overnight: what could be the collapse of the near-monopoly that traditional brick-and-mortar colleges and universities currently enjoy as respected credentialing institutions whose degrees and grades mean something to employers. The most dramatic development, just a few days ago, was the decision of robotics-expert Sebastian Thrun to resign from his position as a […]

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The Perils of Law Schools and Their Rankings

It may be inevitable: “gainful employment” rules for law schools. “Gainful employment” is a term of art coined in the wake of the U.S. Education Department’s regulations last June governing for-profit colleges and similar vocational institutions from which many students emerge with student-loan debt and few prospects for working at jobs they were trained for. […]

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For Crippling Debt, Why Not Try Grad School?

There’s something even worse than undergraduate debt. It’s graduate-school debt. According to the American Student Assistance website, which uses figures from such sources as the National Center for Education Statistics, the College Board, and the nonprofit Finaid.org, 60 percent of recipients of bachelor’s’ degrees borrowed to fund their education during the 2000s, with the average […]

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Harvard Faculty 1, Free Speech 0

The Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) has done it again. This is the group that effectively drove former Harvard president Lawrence Summers out of office over a 2005 remark of his about possible differences between the sexes that didn’t sit well with hard-line feminists on the Harvard faculty. The FAS voted its “lack […]

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No, They Can’t Renege on Student Debt

Sometimes the left is onto something. Take, for example, the latest twist in the “Occupy” movement: Occupy Student Debt. The new activism front, which began in with a Nov. 21 rally at Occupy Ground Zero, New York’s Zuccotti Park, is trying to collect a million online signatures from debtors pledging to refuse to repay their […]

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Are Professors Productive Enough?–The Issue Won’t Die

Remember the furor last spring over the release of “productivity” figures at Texas public universities? The figures displayed for all to see how much money every instructor in the University of Texas (UT) system was being paid, along with numbers of students taught and research dollars generated. The furor spread to other universities and hasn’t […]

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Lady Gaga Makes It to Harvard

                        By Charlotte Allen What is it about academics and Lady Gaga? Last year it was a freshman writing course at the University of Virginia titled “GaGa for Gaga: Sex, Gender, and Identity.” This fall there’s an upper-division sociology course at the University of […]

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Will English Departments Begin to Fade?

The executive council of the Modern Language Association (MLA), the leading organization for English and foreign-language professors, issued a statement on Wednesday decrying the rising debt levels of college students. Well, sure, who isn’t against student debt? But I think that the MLA statement is more than just pious boilerplate. It’s a statement of panic–that […]

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