Author: James Piereson

James Piereson is president of the William E. Simon Foundation and president of the board of directors of Minding the Campus.


Can We Save Public Universities?

There was a time not so long ago when elite public institutions, such as the University of California (Berkeley), the University of Michigan, and the University of Wisconsin, more than held their own against competition from Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, and other elite private institutions. Berkeley’s reputation for academic excellence in the 1950s and 60s […]

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A Close Look at Clinton’s Student Debt Plan

Nearly everyone recognizes that student debt has risen to a level that will be difficult to sustain in the future given the nation’s slow growing economy and the sagging incomes of too many college-educated Americans. Nearly 40 million Americans are carrying some form of student debt; more than 7 million are in default on their […]

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How Our Universities Are Failing Us

The Closing of the American Mind dealt with the way academic relativism has failed our democracy, but it did not spark the kind of fruitful conversation that Allan Bloom hoped for; much less did it inspire a systematic effort to rectify the errors of modern academia. Today’s college students say they believe in democracy but […]

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The Times Tries a New College Ranking

The New York Times is late to the game of college rankings, but the paper of record has entered with a splash. Before we get to their system, it’s useful to think about the rankings in the abstract. Maybe it seems obvious but the way an institution or a magazine ranks colleges is an expression […]

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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 […]

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The Great Books Make a Comeback

By James Piereson and Naomi Schaefer Riley When Thomas and Lorraine Pangle, married professors of government at the University of Texas at Austin, launched a great books program for freshman this year, they expected a demand, but they weren’t prepared for just how strong it would be. With 80 slots available, the scholars program of […]

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The End of Big Time College Athletics?

For decades critics have lamented that big time college sports have a corrupting influence on college and university campuses. Big time sports push aside the educational goals of the university, recruit athletes to campus who have little interest or aptitude for learning, turn football and basketball coaches into national celebrities, and in general create a […]

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What Happened to the Great State Universities?

                 According to a new report released by the American Association of University Professors, the gap between the salaries of faculty at private and public universities is widening.  The “Annual Report on the Status of the Profession” found that at the public institutions, full professors averaged $118,054 and assistant […]

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A Campaign Against the Koch Foundation

There is an old saying in politics that “They don’t scream unless you hurt them.”  When your adversaries scream, it is a good sign that your measures have been effective. Judged by this standard, the Koch Brothers (David and Charles) have been very effective in recent years in advancing their causes of limited government and […]

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A Small Stimulus for Colleges

In the area of higher education especially, but in most other areas too, the Stimulus bill looks more like an emergency measure designed to maintain current programs than a strategic package aimed to stimulate growth. Among others, college and university presidents are likely to be among those sorely disappointed. Last November, shortly after the election, […]

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The Betrayal Of The Academy

[This is an excerpt from a paper delivered by James Piereson at a Manhattan Institute conference on October 3, 2007, marking the twentieth anniversary of the publication of Allan Bloom’s The Closing of the American Mind. He is Executive Director of the Center for the American University and President of the William E. Simon Foundation. […]

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