trustees

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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The Freeh Report and the Failure of Trustees

The past few months have been troubling for those who believe that Trustees must exercise more aggressive oversight roles on today’s college and university campuses. At the University of Virginia, the board of regents (temporarily, it turns out) sacked President Teresa Sullivan, yet struggled to articulate a reason for doing so. Then, when they did […]

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Why Many Conservatives Got It Wrong on UVa

By any ordinary standard, Teresa Sullivan is the kind of university president conservatives love to hate. In 2010, after the Board of Visitors unanimously elected her the first female president of the University of Virginia, one of her first acts was to endorse and publish the UVA Diversity Council’s statement expressing commitment in–what else?–diversity. Sullivan […]

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How ‘Money Men’ Hijacked a Famous College

Crossing the snow-covered Dartmouth green one night, I stopped, looked around, and asked, “Who owns this place, and by what right?” More than half a century later, I have still not resolved a complete answer to that question. But I can give you my short-form response: A small group of willful people, mostly money men […]

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Why ACTA Is Needed

In a perfect world, the two most important organizations in higher education would have no need to exist. Since colleges and universities would respect academic freedom and the First Amendment rather than attempt to suppress unpleasant speech, FIRE could shut its doors. And since the professoriate would feature an impressive array of pedagogical and ideological […]

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A Struggle to Reform the CUNY Curriculum

There have been two interesting, if somewhat under the radar, higher education developments recently in New York City. First, on Tuesday, the CUNY Board of Trustees continued its consideration of the administration’s proposed general-education curriculum plan, called Pathways. The proposal calls for a mandatory 30 credits of core offerings for all CUNY students, divided between […]

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Penn State, Trustees, and a Lack of Transparency

Last week, the incomparable Anne Neal penned a blistering op-ed regarding how the Penn State trustees handled the allegations against former football coach Jerry Sandusky. The ACTA head argued that “the unfolding events of the Penn State sports scandal show a major university that has been more interested in protecting itself than in educating students […]

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The Penn State Trustees React to the Stench

The Board of Trustees acted properly in cleaning house at Penn State, by firing president Graham Spanier and longtime football coach Joe Paterno. The inaction of the duo, along with similar conduct from now-suspended Athletic Director Tim Curley and now-retired VP Gary Schultz has exposed the university to potentially massive legal liability, as well as […]

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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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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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Let’s Push Trustees to Solve the Adjunct Problem

For years now, a sad, steady flow of articles, books, and studies has documented the rise of the “disposable academic,” the growing underclass of poorly paid, uninsured PhDs who do the bulk of college teaching but have no real chance of ever landing a secure academic job. This is a tragedy, the argument goes, not […]

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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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The Curious Case of Dr. Howell

By KC Johnson As part of its more general—and oft-expressed—commitment to academic freedom, CUNY’s Board of Trustees has a student complaint policy that appropriately balances the faculty’s academic freedom with a recognition that students, too, have the right not to be punished for disagreeing with their professor’s political or ideological agenda. To ensure that student […]

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What Now After CLS?

The Supreme Court’s Christian Legal Society v. Martinez ruling has received a good deal of high-quality commentary: FIRE and David French criticized the ruling; Eugene Volokh argued that the Court got the decision right. Anne Neal has correctly noted that trustees should respond to the ruling by going slow, especially since the “all-comers” policy employed […]

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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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Decoding Teacher Training

Thanks to the efforts of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education—and a rare, if welcome, instance of Congress standing up for students’ rights in higher education—the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) abandoned its de facto “social justice” criterion. Yet while the development made […]

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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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