Academic Questions

Fall 2019

Volume 32 Issue 3

Fragmenting the Curriculum

Daniel Bonevac

Bonevac documents the disappearance of Western Civilization and other broad interdisciplinary humanities courses, along with the dwindling of traditional survey courses. The result is that college graduates emerge with little knowledge of subjects beyond their majors, and only narrow slices of that to boot.

Good Grieve! America's Grade Inflation Culture

Craig Evan Klafter

The American culture of grade inflation is a primary abettor of the “pay to play” college admissions scandals recently in the news. If a student can manage to gain admission to a school that is academically out of reach, there’s a good chance he will pass his courses. The political history and institutional causes of college grade inflation might surprise you.

Incompatibility of Sports and Higher Education

Josh Edwards

It is possible that athletic competition could provide a sound accompaniment to a rigorous liberal arts education. As it’s practiced on today’s college campuses, though, institutional status-striving through the provision of mass entertainment sports has resulted in disastrous academic compromise. Recent scandals involving college athletics programs provide an opportunity for real reform.

Books, Articles, and Items of Academic Interest

Peter Wood

Peter discusses twenty-one new books for your attention, and has a few you should avoid. 

Why We Need to Read

Karen Swallow Prior

Reading, according to Karen Prior, forms one’s character, cultivates virtues such as patience, attentiveness, diligence, and humility, and leads to greater academic and professional success. Why, then, are American colleges and universities requiring less of it?

Western Civilization, Inequality, and the Diversity Shell Game

J. Scott Kenney

The campus left’s rejection of the Western canon and its focus on racial, gender, and sexual inequality is couched in the language of Enlightenment: "tolerance," "fairness," “pluralism,” and "justice." But the abandonment of the canon has left campus “wokeness” bereft of any substantial consideration of the West’s most important self-critique: economic inequality.

Liberal Education and Its Postmodern Critics

Stephen R.C. Hicks

In the final entry of our “Incapacity” feature, Stephen Hicks argues that supporters of liberal education must wrest control of our schools back from postmodernists who, in their rejection of reason and objectivity, harken back to premodern, authoritarian forms of education.

The Children of Political Correctness

Howard S. Schwartz

What has caused the fear, intolerance, and aggression of the many college students who demand strict enforcement of speech codes? Howard Schwartz argues that they are the children of a culture that has “overthrown the socialization that has protected previous generations from the anxiety that is an inevitable part of life.”

A Dangerous Belief

Sandra Stotsky
James V. Shuls

A review of two recent books on school reform by James V. Shuls provokes a heated exchange between two prominent scholars over a proposal to significantly widen the federal role in K-12 education.

Academic Malaise: Bring Back the Groves of Academe

Mohamed Gad-el-Hak

The rise of the administrative university, the demise of faculty governance, rising tuition, online courses, and reliance on part-time faculty is enough to make one pine for a return to a “republic of scholars.”

Political Disparities in the Academy: It’s More than Self-Selection

John Paul Wright
Ryan T. Motz
Timothy S. Nixon

The political imbalance on most college faculties is often attributed to “self-selection,” the aggregation of left-leaning cognitive high-performers voluntarily choosing to pursue academic careers. But a large survey performed years ago shows large numbers of academics shifted to the left after joining the professoriate, partially in response to career incentives.

The Hopeful Land

David Randall

A review of Land of Hope: An Invitation to the Great American Story.

Can We All Just Get Along

Dan Asia

A review of Arthur Brooks' new book, Love Your Enemies: How Decent People Can Save America from the Culture of Contempt. 

Wild, Wild Nights!

Bruce Bawer

A modern college love story with a flare of kangaroo courts and Title IX.

Numbers from an Academic Conference (APSA 2018)

Robert Maranto

A reflection on numbers past and present. 

All's Fair in Love and War?

Carol Iannone

A new multi-part television dramatization of William Makepeace Thackeray’s nineteenth-century novel Vanity Fair distributed by Britain’s ITV network in 2018 set Carol to reviewing previous adaptations.

A Business Person Questions the Dean’s Business-Like Approach

Milton Ezrati

Is shifting university resources toward what the customers (students) demand supporting the purpose of the university?

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