Dicta

The home of “things said” by the National Association of Scholars.

Naomi and Me

Peter Wood

Peter Wood responds to Naomi Schaefer Riley's article in the New York Post which suggests that Dr. Wood has been silenced for dissenting from politically correct orthodoxy.

Galloping to Insolvency

Peter Wood

Peter Wood reviews a recent report that found that a third of American colleges and universities have unhealthy financial outlooks.

Aiming at the Suburbs and Hitting Higher Ed

Peter Wood

A new book describes Obama's anti-suburbs regulations. Peter Wood considers how these regulations may accelerate the bursting of the higher education bubble.

Too Many College Students? Yes, Unfortunately

Peter Wood

Peter Wood debates Macalester College president Brian Rosenberg on whether the U.S. should pursue the goal of further increases in college enrollments.

Green Acres

Peter Wood

Colleges and universities tend to spend lavishly on diversity and sustainability initiatives, but is this really the best use of their (and taxpayers') money?

Helium, Part 2

Peter Wood

Peter Wood considers how the higher-education bubble could pop.

The Regnerus Affair at UT Austin

Peter Wood

A scholar whose research identified disadvantages for children of same-sex marriage faces opposition by those who dislike his findings.

A Culture of Evasion

Peter Wood

Campus sexual-harassment codes grow ever more draconian even as what passes for acceptable behavior behind the scenes grows worse and worse.

Unfashionable Ideas

Peter Wood

Peter Wood reviews the National Association of Scholars’ changing approach to reforming higher education.

What Were They Thinking?

Peter Wood

The platform committee of the Texas Republican Party backs away from its support of "critical thinking."

Elegies, Part 2

Peter Wood

Regretting cultural loss is valuable when it shows us the way forward. 

Elegies, Part 1

Peter Wood

Reforming higher education is not just about nostalgia for the past.

Epic Battles

Peter Wood

Peter Wood weighs the cost of higher education’s turn away from Western civilization survey courses.

Leftist Nostalgia for Academic Standards

Peter Wood

Peter Wood compares the second thoughts of a famous Marxist literary critic and the UCLA faculty’s rejection of a proposed diversity requirement.

Counting Jews: CUNY Diversity Report Includes "White/Jewish" Label

Peter Wood

Peter Wood criticizes CUNY’s use of “White/Jewish” as a separate minority group for diversity planning.

Gay Marriage, Climate Change, and Academic Freedom

Peter Wood

Peter Wood regrets higher education’s one-sided approaches to same-sex marriage and global warming.

Riley's Arrow

Peter Wood

Naomi Riley's opinion about the value of Black Studies aroused fury because it fell within the category of unspeakable observations in higher education, writes Peter Wood.

How to Be Sarcastic

Peter Wood

Sarcasm, for all the license it takes, is a form of restraint. Its a way of avoiding the obvious while nonetheless giving it voice.

How to Be Succinct

Peter Wood

Peter Wood suggests ways to keep it short.

Give It the Old College Try

Richard Vedder

Richard Vedder criticizes low interest student loans, which he says will not be of much benefit to students and will serve to entice people to go to college unnecessarily.

Diversity: Obama's Higher Education Agenda, Part 5 of 8

Peter Wood

In the fifth of an eight-part series, Peter Wood examines the president’s pursuit of diversity in higher education.

A Rolls-Royce For-Profit University?

Richard Vedder

An elite, high-quality, for-profit, residential university is feasible, writes Richard Vedder.

How to Apologize

Peter Wood

Peter Wood offers advice on how to own up to our mistakes.

How to Comment

Peter Wood

Peter Wood suggests ways to improve the quality of comments posted to online articles.

There Are As Many Student-Loan Debtors as College Graduates

Richard Vedder

Richard Vedder discusses new data that reveal huge numbers of students are very slow in paying back loans and that the financial problems associated with student-loan debt have been understated.

Politics, Education, and More Politics: NAS’s New Report on the University of California

Peter Wood

Peter Wood discusses the National Association of Scholars’ new report that says higher education has been hurt by the failure of safeguards against using the classroom to advance partisan ideas and loyalties.

Final Edit: Irving Louis Horowitz, 1929-2012

Peter Wood

Peter Wood remembers Irving Louis Horowitz, founding publisher of Academic Questions and intellectual warrior.

Remediating America: On the Consultations of FSG

Peter Wood

Peter Wood observes that the call for extraordinary efforts to improve community college degree-completion rates might benefit consultants more than students.

More Better Citizens: Obama's Higher-Education Agenda, Part 4B of 8

Peter Wood

Peter Wood looks at the ways "diversity," loan forgiveness for public service, the Common Core State Standards, and Obama's earlier involvment with the group Public Allies show the President's overall determination to use higher education as a tool of political ideology.

Better Citizens: Obama’s Higher-Education Agenda, Part 4A of 8

Peter Wood

In the fourth installment of his eight-part series, Peter Wood examines the president’s goal of using American higher education to inculcate progressive political values.

Bell Epoque

Peter Wood

Peter Wood evaluates the reactions to the release of a video evincing Barack Obama's friendship with Dr. Derrick Bell, and he considers whether it matters that the U.S. President was influenced by a scholar who championed critical race theory.

Revising Teacher Education: Meaningful Change or Window Dressing?

Richard Vedder

Will the newly formed accrediting agency for education schools enact some real reforms to improve K-12 education?

Full Moon

Peter Wood

Peter Wood reflects on delusion, discovery, and deception in light of the dangerous knowledge of the scientist Ron Fouchier and the deceit of the prominent climate researcher Peter Gleick.

College for All: Obama's Higher Ed Agenda, Part 3 of 8

Peter Wood

Does higher education provide the only path to financial security, global comptetitiveness, personal fulfillment, and active citizenship?

Rick Santorum Is Right

Peter Wood

Peter Wood reviews the presidential hopeful Rick Santorum’s controversial remarks about higher education.

Regulatory Overreach

Richard Vedder

Richard Vedder says the approval by the House of Representatives of a bill ending credit-hour and “state authorization” legislation is an important step in reining in the Obama administration.

Princeton and Urbana Universities: A Tale of Two Schools

Richard Vedder

Tax policies favor rich colleges, even though small, struggling liberal-arts colleges probably make far better use of incremental private donations, says Richard Vedder.

The Core Conundrum

Peter Wood

Peter Wood takes note of the emerging battle over the legality of the Common Core curriculum.

Price Controls: Obama's Higher Ed Agenda, Part 2 of 8

Peter Wood

In the second of an eight-part series, Peter Wood examines the president’s newly announced goal of capping tuition increases via federally imposed price controls.

A Blackballed Conservative Gets Her Day in Court

Peter Wood

Peter Wood reviews the First Amendment lawsuit brought by a conservative lawyer who was turned down for a teaching position at the University of Iowa College of Law.

Supersizing: Obama's Higher Education Agenda, Part 1 of 8

Peter Wood

In the first of an eight-part series, Peter Wood examines the president’s longstanding goal of making America the nation with the highest percentage of college graduates.

Bennett, Biden, and Boondoggles

Richard Vedder

The vice president appears to be the latest to agree that federal student-aid programs are contributing to rising college costs, writes Richard Vedder.

Higher Education's Increasing Disdain for Virtue

Richard Vedder

The rankings scandal at Claremont McKenna College is just the latest example of colleges deceiving the public, writes Richard Vedder.

Signs Made Here

Peter Wood

Peter Wood reflects on what lies between Rutgers and Princeton.

Obama's Higher-Ed Agenda

Peter Wood

Peter Wood surveys the Obama administration’s eight-part higher-education agenda.

Obama, Higher-Education Costs, and Student Aid

Richard Vedder

Yes, President Obama is showing concern over rising college costs, but he is failing to look at the dysfunctional system of federal financial assistance, Richard Vedder writes.

Civics Lessons

Peter Wood

Peter Wood critiques the new AAC&U report on college-level civics education.

Games of Chance

Peter Wood

Peter Wood observes that even as higher education frets about students’ gambling addictions, it feeds the underlying problem.

Skepticism and Tradition

Peter Wood

Higher education should balance skepticism with respect for tradition.

Wall-Chart Wisdom

Peter Wood

Peter Wood praises vintage illustrated botany and zoology wall charts as reflecting an antidote for postmodern epistemological malaise.

Some Critical Thoughts

Peter Wood

Peter Wood argues that “critical thinking” in the humanities has come to mean uncritical orthodoxy.

The Very Rich Hours

Peter Wood

Peter Wood searches for the uncommon good in fundraising for nonprofits.

CUNY’s Pathway to Whatever

Peter Wood

Peter Wood critiques The City University of New York's new "common core" requirements.

How Central is the Core?

Peter Wood

Peter Wood says students and faculty typically win when colleges build their curricula around a “common core,” but that the City University of New York’s common core is an exception.

Oz Revisited

Peter Wood

A new book by the author of Wicked channels the contemporary academic unrelenting focus on race, gender, class, colonialism, and sustainability.

Leaf-Taking

Peter Wood

Peter Wood argues that the contemporary university should dethrone “critical thinking.”

5th Avenue Percussions

Peter Wood

Peter Wood contrasts discontented Occupiers with another discontented group.

The Curriculum of Forgetting

Peter Wood

Peter Wood proposes a cure for higher education’s forgetfulness about the West’s cultural heritage.

Get Off My Lawn

Peter Wood

College campuses are home base to the evicted Occupy Wall Street protesters.

The Merchant of Zuccotti Park

Peter Wood

Peter Wood argues that the Occupy Wall Street movement is helping Americans realize that college is not necessarily an “investment.”

How Will the Decline of Used-Book Stores Influence Scholarship?

Peter Wood

With so many used-book stores closing their doors, Peter Wood considers the effect of their disappearance on Academe.

Walking Out on Education

Peter Wood

Peter Wood examines the Occupy movement

Default Education

Peter Wood

College grads protesting their student-loan burden would do better to protest the quality of their college programs, writes Peter Wood.

Class Reunions

Peter Wood

Peter Wood reflects on life knowledge learned beyond the classroom.

A Veto for Racial Preferences

Peter Wood

Peter Wood praises California Governor Jerry Brown

Pre-Occupied

Peter Wood

Peter Wood examines the theatrical anger of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

The University of Stonehenge

Peter Wood

History is large, a new book reminds us. But, Peter Wood writes, too often our study of it is small.

Baked Goods

Peter Wood

Peter Wood notes what a daunting task challenging "diversity" on campus can be these days, especially if you're selling cupcakes to make your point.

Mobbing For Preferences

Peter Wood

Peter Wood discusses students' live-action defense of racial preferences at UW Madison.

Citizens of the World

Peter Wood

Global citizenship isn’t burdened with taxes, military service, jury duty, and the like. And it sounds so cosmopolitan. But what, asks Peter Wood, does it really entail?

Where Were You?

Peter Wood

Peter Wood reflects on the reverberations of 9/11 in his life, the university, and the culture at large.

Jefferson-Hemings Revisited

Peter Wood

Peter Wood reviews a new scholarly re-examination of the Thomas Jefferson-Sally Hemings controversy.

Too Much For Too Little

Peter Wood

NAS President Peter Wood offers observations on the diminishing value of a college degree.

Unnumbered

Peter Wood

Peter Wood fears that a new proposal for improving science education will lead to even greater math illiteracy among high school graduates.

Higher Sex Ed

Peter Wood

NAS President Peter Wood examines the bewildering state of sexuality on many contemporary college campuses.

Do College Administrators Misappropriate "Diversity"?

Peter Wood

A Johns Hopkins professor lays the entire blame for the rise of political correctness on power-driven campus administrators. But haven't faculty members played their part?

Subway Ride

Peter Wood

Peter Wood comments on colleges’ hard sell to underprepared students.

Investing in Debt

Peter Wood

NAS President Peter Wood analyzes the burgeoning problem of post-graduation student debt.

Kudos to the AAUP

Peter Wood

NAS President Peter Wood applauds some recent policy statements by the AAUP.

Madness and Civilization

Peter Wood

NAS President Peter Wood responds to the Manifesto of Norwegian terrorist Anders Breivik.

Climate Thuggery

Peter Wood

NAS president Peter Wood ponders the difficulties of discussing climate change calmly and rationally.

Bottling Up Global Warming Skepticism

Peter Wood

Science Magazine reports that a computer scientist is going on the offensive against global warming skeptics.

Majoring in Images

Peter Wood

Peter Wood reviews a popular recent novel. He finds some very funny cultural satire as well as themes that resonate in the contemporary academic landscape.

Tyranny or Theft? Part III

Peter Wood concludes his three-part critique of the sustainability movement as a cultural phenomenon.

Tyranny or Theft? Part II

Peter Wood

In the second of three installments, Peter Wood examines the impact of the sustainability movement on free inquiry and the the unfortunate experience of one scientist who dissented from the views of his colleagues.

Tyranny or Theft? Part I

Peter Wood

NAS president Peter Wood begins a three-part critique of the sustainability movement, based on his attendance at two recent conferences.

What is Advocacy?

Peter Wood

NAS President Peter Wood discusses classroom advocacy and academic freedom.

How to Save the Social Sciences

Peter Wood

NAS President Peter Wood explains how to approach NSF funding in the social sciences during a national budgetary crisis.

Untenuring Tenure

Peter Wood

Peter Wood weighs Naomi Schaefer Riley’s arguments for abolishing tenure in her book The Faculty Lounges.

Totems in America

Peter Wood

Peter Wood defends the CUNY trustee who opposed an honorary degree for playwright Tony Kushner.

Clinical Discomfort

Peter Wood

Peter Wood comments on the turn to social activism in law schools.

Not Lost, Just 'Finding Our Way'

Peter Wood

Peter Wood proposes a famously confused guide on the Oregon Trail as the archetype of today

Critiquing Sustainability

Peter Wood

NAS starts the conversation on what the sustainability movement is doing on campus.

Unearthing Matriarchy

Peter Wood

Peter Wood contrasts the university’s indulgence of the myth of matriarchal prehistory with its aversion to conservative Christianity.

Protest Envy

Peter Wood

Peter Wood explains why a planned day of protest by academic unions faltered.

Preferred Colleagues

Peter Wood

Peter Wood examines a new study of hiring biases that faculty members admit to holding.

The Smog of Reprisal

Peter Wood

A UCLA whistle-blower lost his job after he called attention to a flawed report about air pollution.

Cronon's Whirlwind

Peter Wood

Efforts to access a professor’s e-mail may be petty but aren’t necessarily a violation of academic freedom.

Crania Academia

Peter Wood

The academy undermines itself when it belittles the efforts of earlier generations of scholars.

Failed Hypotheses

Peter Wood

Peter Wood compares higher education’s doctrinaire apologists to supporters of a discredited archaeological theory about the first peoples in America.

Unnatural Selection

Peter Wood

Peter Wood comments on a new study claiming that self-selection by liberal students explains the leftward tilt of academe.

A Flawed Experiment

Peter Wood

Peter Wood comments on a study that looked for political bias in graduate schools

Ashes

Peter Wood

Peter Wood reflects on the intellectual vacancy at the heart of the contemporary college curriculum.

Debating Same-Sex Marriage

Peter Wood

Peter Wood considers the academy's influence on public opinion regarding same-sex marriage and encourages more debate among scholars.

NPR Blues

Peter Wood

Peter Wood elucidates the views of the NPR executive fired for his unguarded disparaging of conservatives as anti-intellectual.

If Even Krugman Says It...

Peter Wood

Peter Wood weighs the liberal commentator’s view that American higher education is no longer the path to prosperity in America.

The Coarsening

Peter Wood

Peter Wood comments on the combination of low taste and high privilege that are increasingly characteristic of American faculty members.

Lily Bart vs. Lady Gaga

Peter Wood

Peter Wood weighs higher education’s contribution to a culture that celebrates ostentatious vulgarity over the pursuit of civilized qualities.

Politicizing the Classroom, Part 2

Peter Wood

Peter Wood completes his two-part critique of the new statement from the American Association of University Professors on political controversy in academe.

Politicizing the Classroom, Part 1

Peter Wood

Peter Wood examines the AAUP’s new report on political controversy in the academy.

De-Tribalizing Academe

Peter Wood

Peter Wood examines the controversial claim by Jonathan Haidt that social psychologists form a “tribal-moral community.”

The Beck-Piven Controversy

Peter Wood

Peter Wood reviews the angry debate over Glenn Beck’s criticisms of Frances Fox Piven.

Is College the Only Pathway to Prosperity?

Ashley Thorne

A new report advocates embracing career training as a viable alternative to college. The AAUP, on the other hand, asserts that college is the best option we can give the next generation.

Could Science Leave the University?

Peter Wood

Peter Wood wonders if the marriage of American research university and basic science may be on the rocks.

Is Chick-fil-A Anti-Gay?

Peter Wood

Two colleges sought to boycott Chick-fil-A after the restaurant chain donated food to a marriage seminar in Pennsylvania.

Lumina's New Degree Profile: As Elusive as the Snark

Peter Wood

Peter Wood questions whether American higher education needs an "outcomes framework," or whether we'd be better equipped with something more like a core curriculum.

Suicide Bombers and Academic Freedom

Ashley Thorne

Brooklyn College appointed an adjunct professor to teach "Politics of the Middle East," then fired him because of his politics.

Lumina's Degree Profile - Do We Need It?

Ashley Thorne

The Lumina Foundation's new "Degree Qualifications Profile" is supposed to help colleges have a shared framework to describe what students should be able to do when they graduate. Peter Wood says he'll hold out for something "better grounded in science, philosophy, history, and higher education’s own better sense of itself."

Academic Impactorators

Peter Wood

Peter Wood finds a more meaningful direction for colleges in the book “Academically Adrift” than in the U.N. program Academic Impact.

Reassembling Shakespeare's Fair Friend

Peter Wood

Did Shakespeare encode the name of his fair friend in his Sonnets?

The New Huck Finn vs. Yale's Big Book of Rap Lyrics

Peter Wood

Peter Wood contrasts the new sanitized version of Mark Twain’s masterpiece with the Yale University Press publication of a scholarly edition of rap lyrics.

Examining For-Profits and Cost Structure

Peter Wood

Continuing his series on for-profit colleges, Peter Wood sees an advantage in their pared-down offerings in the context of spiraling higher-education costs.

For-Profits Break the Monopoly on What a College Can Be

Peter Wood

In the final piece of his four-part series, Peter Wood argues that the United States needs the versatility that the for-profit sector provides.

For-Profit Colleges on the Brink, Part 2

Peter Wood

Peter Wood continues his series examining the case for preserving for-profits.

For-Profit Colleges on the Brink

Peter Wood

Peter Wood reviews the Obama administration’s assault on for-profit colleges in the first of a series.

Rich Vedder on the Overproduction of Advanced Degrees

George Leef

At The Chronicle's Innovations blog, Rich Vedder discusses the overproduction of advanced degrees in the U.S. 

Boring

Peter Wood

Boredom shouldn’t be able to find an inch of space in college classrooms, but, says Peter Wood, we have welcomed it in.

Surfeits of Certitude

Peter Wood

Should we approach higher education with more skepticism?

Is Academic Freedom a License to Indoctrinate?

Peter Wood

The more license faculty members take to act like political agents in the classroom, the more society will treat them as just that.

A Playground of Words and Ideas

Peter Wood

Peter Wood looks at Google’s new database of digitized books and shares some lessons on diversity.

'Potentially Evangelical'

Peter Wood

Peter Wood draws attention to a lawsuit brought against the University of Kentucky by an astronomer who claims he was denied appointment because of religious bias.

Student Riots in Britain

Peter Wood

Peter Wood reviews the student protests over tuition hikes in Britain and the emergence of a 15-year-old as the YouTube star of the protest movement.

Astronomer Suspected of Creationism Turned Down for UK Post

Ashley Thorne

Today in the Chronicle of Higher Education Innovations blog, Peter Wood writes about Martin Gaskell, who contends that the University of Kentucky discriminated against him and did not appoint him as the director of its new observatory because the search committee suspected him of being "potentially evangelical." 

Racism at Wesleyan?

Peter Wood

Peter Wood reviews the affirmative action bake sale controversy at Wesleyan University and calls for a more circumspect use of the label "racist."

Who Owns Philanthropy?

Peter Wood

Peter Wood responds to the Greenlining Institute on the threats to voluntary philanthropic giving.

Were Samoans Promiscuous?

Peter Wood

Peter Wood revisits the anthropological Mead-Freeman controversy over Samoa and considers Paul Shankman

It's OK to Offend: The Wesleyan Bake Sale and the Word "Racist"

Ashley Thorne

Peter Wood has published a new article at the Chronicle of Higher Education's Innovations Blog, "Racism at Wesleyan?" In it he reviews the recent controversy over an affirmative action bake sale at Wesleyan University, where Ward Connerly will be speaking today at 4:00. Peter argues against censoring the term “racist” but points out that the word can be abused as a label “to intimidate and to polarize,” as was the case at Wesleyan University. He writes that eliminating racial preferences in college admissions will help diminish racism:

We would as a society be better off if we jettisoned race from our consideration of how public goods such as college admissions are distributed.  Getting rid of race, like getting rid of racism, is far from easy, but that doesn’t mean we can’t take the preliminary steps. One of those is de-institutionalizing racial categories.

His essay comes at a timely moment, when some politicians are making an effort to erase the words "racist" and "socialist" from our vocabulary.

Anthropology Association Rejecting Science?

Peter Wood

A look at the implications of the American Anthropological Association's proposal to define "science" out of anthropology.

Palin-tology

Peter Wood

A new book by a senior professor, surprisingly, attempts to treat Sarah Palin fairly.

Ultraconservative?

Peter Wood

Peter Wood responds to critics who characterize the National Association of Scholars as ultraconservative.

Generosity, Trussed

Peter Wood

Peter Wood warns about the damage that “greenlining” activists can do to American philanthropy.

21st-Century Studies

Peter Wood

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Center for 21st Century Studies is an example of the academic left recycling clichés and passing them off as modern.

Humanities in the 21st Century

Ashley Thorne

At the Chronicle's blog Innovations, Peter Wood gleans prophetic hints about higher education from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's Center for 21st Century Studies. He sees the Center as an example of the academic left recycling clichés and passing them off as modern. And John Ellis, president of the California Association of Scholars, argues that we shouldn't save the humanities as they are now are - dominated by radical destructive ideology. Instead we should work to restore the humanities as they ought to be.

Money on the Table

Peter Wood

How colleges transform increases in federal student aid into higher tuition and fees.

Forecast: Iridescent Drops of Nothingness

Peter Wood

Peter Wood predicts that online education, either rigorous or at “the level of a video game,” will become a standard feature of American college instruction.

Days of Wrath

Peter Wood

Academe has instilled an angry instinct in this generation.

On Finding Obama Where No One Thought to Look

Peter Wood

A new book highlights the complacency of researchers who failed to follow a paper trail, writes Peter Wood.

Tea Party Derangement Syndrome

Peter Wood

Intellectual snobbery in academe produces minds closed to debate.

Peter Wood Blogs at the Chronicle

Peter Wood

I'm pleased to announce that NAS president Peter Wood is a new contributor to the Chronicle of Higher Education's Innovations blog. Here are his first two posts: "Tea Party Derangement Syndrome" "On Finding Obama Where No One Thought to Look"