alumni

The Perils of Student Choice

The release of SAT scores last week gives strong ammunition to proponents of a core curriculum. As reported in the Wall Street Journal , reading scores hit their lowest figure in four decades. Writing scores hit their lowest number since a writing component was added to the exam six years ago; in fact, writing scores […]

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The California College System under Scrutiny

A recent report by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA), entitled “Best Laid Plans: The Unfulfilled Promise of Public Higher Education,” explores a fair number of problems the California college system faces. However, I don’t think it covers them all. The report states openly and rightly the problems that California’s public colleges face […]

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Higher Education’s ‘Obesity’ Problem

Open a marketing brochure for any college or university in the United States and you’ll find an info-graphic touting the variety and number of degree programs that the institution offers.  The more options, the rationale goes, the more likely a student will find a desired specialty.  The distinction between programs can be subtle, for instance […]

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What Will They Learn? Not That Much

The redoubtable Anne Neal, President of ACTA, has released a survey entitled “What Will They Learn?” – a sobering analysis of general education in the nation’s colleges and universities. The report covers major public and private institutions in all 50 states. Each of the higher education institutions was assigned a letter grade from “A” to […]

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ACTA Examines General Education Requirements

ACTA has published its 2011-2 edition of What Will They Learn?, a study that examines, in basic terms, what 1007 colleges and universities around the country require from their students. The entire study is worth reading–and features an easy-to-use website–but I consider two aspects of ACTA’s findings particularly significant. First, military academies fare quite well […]

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Dartmouth Foils Its Donors

It’s a constant skirmish between donors seeking to fund specific scholarly projects at universities and the universities’ administrators, who would typically like to see as much of that money as possible go to “unrestricted” uses–that is, whatever the administrators, not the donors, deem  the best use of the funds. And nowadays, with universities’ endowment values falling during the […]

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Why University Presidents Are Clueless About the Real World

New Pew Research Center data show that a large majority of Americans think U.S. colleges and universities offer only fair or poor value for the financial cost -but college presidents strikingly disagree, with a majority of them thinking college offers at least a good value (though college presidents are overwhelmingly pessimistic about the quality of American higher education compared to the […]

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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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The Big 12 – Beyond the Game

“What’s Happening Off the Field”, a new report on the Big 12 from the American Council of Trustees and Alumni suggests that all is not well beyond the playing fields. First, in a sure gauge of misplaced priorities, it’s no surprise that athletic expenditures appear to have grown at a higher rate than other expenditures […]

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ACTA & Its Critics

ACTA’s new, expanded survey of college general education requirements has earned justified praise. Here’s Pulitzer Prize winner Kathleen Parker, from her column this Sunday: “The study and Web site do fill a gap so that parents and students can make better choices. As a consequence, colleges and universities may be forced to examine their own […]

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Sail with Condi And Gorby For $40,000 Or So

At several universities this summer, hope will float and perestroika will pay. At the end of August, Princeton, Harvard, Smith, Stanford, and Yale are taking the currying of favor with wealthier alumni seabound. For the fifth straight year, Princeton and other sponsoring universities are joining forces with a for-profit, West-coast speakers and travel bureau, this […]

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The Dartmouth Case

At the Volokh Conspiracy, Todd Zywicki outlines the latest in the Dartmouth alumni suit against Dartmouth College. The current case, like the previous case, arises from the 1891 Agreement between the Dartmouth Trustees and the alumni of the College, acting through the Association of Alumni, that gave the alumni the right to elect half of […]

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Another Success Story

A recent report by American Council of Trustees and Alumni entitled “What Will They Learn?” makes clear that the steady deterioriation of general education at the best colleges continues apace. The report studied general education requirements at 100 top schools and found that “Topics like U.S. government or history, literature, mathematics, and economics have become […]

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Another Award For Our Writer

Tomorrow KC Johnson will receive the fifth annual Phillip Merrill Award for Outstanding Contributions to Liberal Arts Education from the American Council of Trustees and Alumni. The award honors honors “individuals who advance liberal arts education, core curricula, and the teaching of Western civilization and American history.” KC has undoubtedly advanced these goals. He follows […]

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Wonder How The Clout Scandal Happened?

ACTA’s latest publication, “For the People: A Report Card on Public Higher Education in Illinois” has unearthed more of the usual disappointments. In a series of rankings, General Education requirements earned an F, with only three public universities (out of eight) indicating a foreign language requirement “and not a single institution received credit for Literature […]

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Restoring A Core

The American Council of Trustees and Alumni has released a trustee guide Restoring a Core as a follow-up to What Will They Learn, their recent survey of core curricula (more about that here) Take a look at the “How Will A Core Benefit My Institution” section beginning on page 4 for some interesting examples from […]

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Wonder If There’s A Core Curriculum?

The American Council of Trustees and Alumni has unveiled a new site, www.whatwilltheylearn.com, that provides a survey of core curriculum requirements at 100 American Universities. They evaluate the existence of requirements in 7 areas: Composition, Literature, Foreign Language, U.S. Government or History, Economics, Mathematics, and Science. Suffice it to say that most colleges required don’t […]

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The Cambridge Empire Strikes Back

By Harvey Silverglate With Kyle Smeallie Harvard University may be losing money like a hard-luck high-roller, but the Vegas tagline (what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas) certainly does not apply: what happens at Harvard reaches well beyond the Cambridge confines. For better or for worse, many schools follow in Harvard’s footsteps. What better place, […]

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New ACTA Report

https://www.goacta.org/publications/index.cfm?categoryid=7E8A88BF-C70B-972A-68008CC20E38AF8A#4CE03472-B0EC-DD53-2130EBC7F7E51C95

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How Dartmouth Thwarted Its Alumni

Given their common characteristics it’s often difficult for a person of even superior discernment to tell, from a slight distance, the difference between an accomplished university bureaucrat and a robust brick wall. Both seem witlessly to beg for the wrecking ball. The nation’s nine colonial colleges—not to mention the hundreds founded since—are thronged with administrative […]

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Why I Am Running For Harvard’s Board Of Overseers

By Robert L. Freedman A.B. ’62 I am running as a petition candidate for Harvard’s Board of Overseers to help Harvard College improve itself. I have been interested in higher education – and in particular in what is taught and how it is taught – since graduating from the College in 1962. I have the […]

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No Quarter For Nichol

Although the mainstream media would have you believe he was a martyr to religious fundamentalists and moral Pecksniffs, Gene Nichol lost his job as president of the College of William and Mary in Virginia for only one reason: he was a lousy administrator who seemed not to be able to get it into his head […]

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Alumni Preferences: Affirmative Action’s Dear Friend.

The New York Times offers a good look at alumni preferences today, particularly in its account of legal challenges to the practice. There’s only been one court case to directly consider the practice, and that, made by a federal judge in 1976 in Durham, found the practice rationally supported, as it generated universities money, and […]

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Donors – Remember Princeton

The case of the Robertson Foundation versus Princeton University has not, after nearly five years of litigation, yet come to trial. But it’s already shaping up to be the most expensive donor intent case in history. Reports of spending by the Robertson family differ, but news reports indicate the family may have spent as much […]

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College Sports Bonanza

Senator Grassley, the Chronicle of Higher Education reports, has turned his attention to the tax status of collegiate athletic programs – wondering “what gives the IRS comfort that they have met the requirements of being a charity.” The Chronicle furnishes Grassely abundant cause to wonder, reporting that athletics donations now amount to more than a […]

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