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Mergers and Aquisitions

It’s March 2011. California’s next governor calls a morning news conference to make a stunning announcement: The Apollo Group’s University of Phoenix will pay $2.3 billion to buy the California State University system. “The previous administration left us with few alternatives,” explains the new governor, who won election on a campaign pledge to end California’s […]

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What’s in a Title: Non-Profit or For-Profit Colleges

If you’re going to make money as a for-profit college, fair enough.  I understand the strengths and weaknesses of for-profits probably as well as anyone.  I’ve supported them when they are doing what they are supposed to do, and I’ve criticized them when they fall short. My friend and colleague, Bob Shireman, with whom I […]

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What’s in a Name?

A funny thing happened on the way to writing this blog.  I was going to write about the danger in naming buildings after individuals.  Apparently Clemson University won’t rename a building that honors its racist past.  Tillman Hall is named after a white supremacist who boasted of participating in the killings of black people.  The […]

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The Demise of Small Liberal Arts Colleges

(Written with James Dean Ward) The small private liberal arts college may soon be an endangered species. About one-third of the nation’s approximately 4,500 private nonprofit and for-profit institutions have student bodies of 1,500 students or less. Of these, roughly half, or 750, are experiencing financial pressures because of bond indebtedness, according to a recently […]

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The Communication of Big Science II

NASA and JPL, and by relationship, the federal government, are missing the boat.  Rockets are cool.  All you had to do was watch the moms and dads and especially the kids at the launch site at four o’clock in the morning and feel the electricity in the air.  Who doesn’t get a rush when you […]

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The Wonder of Big Science I

A few months ago Barry and I went up to Vandenberg Air Force Base to watch his rocket ship take off.  About 2,000 individuals who had been working on the project assembled in Buellton the night before the launch.  If you’re looking for a good time, then meeting 1,000 engineers and their families in Buellton […]

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Movie Review: Whiplash – The Art and Terror of Mentoring

A friend suggested that I write a review of Whiplash since I’m supposed to know something about mentoring.  She had seen it with her son and mentioned “it sparked a great discussion about whether intimidation and belittling are good teaching methods.”  She also gave me a link to a movie review.  See here.  The movie is […]

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How to Write a Book of the Year

Joyce King, President of AERA, asked me to fill a vacant position on one of the association’s many committees.  I can’t say no to Joyce, so I found myself on AERA’s “Book of the Year” committee.  I had never sat on the committee before so I didn’t know what I was in for until 56 […]

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Book Review: The Tyranny of Meritocracy

I read this and you don’t need to. I approached this book with a great deal of anticipation.  The idea of “merit” is an important notion in American higher education, and Lani Guinier is one of our country’s most thoughtful legal scholars.  The concise 160 page book is also published by Beacon Press so I […]

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Will the Circle be Unbroken?

One of the better novels I have read in the last several months is Dave Eggers’ The Circle. Eggers came onto the stage with a great book, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, which was a memoir. This guy is a dynamo – novels, non-profits, community activist, and thinker. The Circle is a superb good […]

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