The Issue at a Glance

Looking Backward: Parting Reflections on Higher Education Reform from NASs Founding President (10.1007/s12129-012-9325-4)

Stephen H. Balch, Institute for the Study of Western Civilization, Texas Tech University

The National Association of Scholars is celebrating twenty-five years of fighting the good fight in higher education reform. Principal founder and president for most of that time, Stephen H. Balch reflects on his turn at NAS’s helm and shares a cup of hard-wrung wisdom.

The Future of the National Association of Scholars (10.1007/s12129-012-9323-6)

Peter Wood, National Association of Scholars

Academic Questions editor and current NAS president Peter Wood reviews what organizational concerns hold fast after twenty-five years, where they have changed, and how he plans to move forward. “Our future is to be a voice of rationality in an era in which the university has a fraught relationship with the concept of ‘truth.’” Dr. Wood approaches this ongoing challenge with classic NAS steadfast faith: “Our role is to keep troubling people with accounts of what is going wrong, proposals for setting those things right, and demonstrations of what liberal learning is good for.”

One Hundred Great Ideas for Higher Education (10.1007/s12129-012-9328-1)

Various Contributors

From Richard Arum to Jill Biden to Victor Davis Hanson to Tom Wolfe, the many contributors to this signature feature for our hundredth issue of Academic Questions offer ideas that range from heartfelt to whimsical. Whether discipline-specific or sweeping through the campus, these great ideas for higher education will inspire readers with their creativity, ingenuity, and variety.

The Poverty of Poverty Research (10.1007/s12129-012-9322-7)

Lawrence M. Mead, New York University

The Left never accepted the success of the 1996 Welfare Reform Act, and the Obama administration has sought to loosen work requirements for welfare recipients. Lawrence M. Mead provides the background to understand why this harmful trend continues: liberal scholars, researchers, and academics stubbornly cling to their perennial explanations for poverty as stemming from discrimination and social conditions rather than acknowledging that a work requirement spurs people to improve their lives.

The Death of Rhetoric (10.1007/s12129-012-9318-3)

Terry Eagleton, University of Lancaster

Eminent critic and Marxist theorist Terry Eagleton examines the sharp decline he has witnessed in students’ ability to comprehend literature, a perception undoubtedly shared by many AQ readers, although his analysis of the decline’s causes may differ from theirs. It’s a hopeful sign that scholars on all sides are recognizing the deterioration in academic standards over the past few decades.

Games People Play (10.1007/s12129-012-9324-5)

Robert VerBruggen, National Review

“Because of their simple beginnings and predominantly young and male audience, video games have a reputation for being unserious.” Many are, but as Robert VerBruggen explains, a subset of games is emerging “that demand to be considered alongside movies, books, and other forms of art.” Over recent years, the technology has advanced and the medium matured remarkably, and what was once considered “merely a game” has evolved into “a fascinating form of expression, worthy of serious commentary and criticism.”

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