See Thru Edu is a project of the Texas Public Policy Foundation

Thomas K. Lindsay, Ph.D., Editor in Chief and Director, Center for Higher Education, Texas Public Policy Foundation

Sociology and Insight into the Liberal Mind

It’s rare to find a conservative sociologist (odds are about one in thirty), but it’s even rarer to have one addressing a group like the Madison Forum in Georgia, a group named after the father of the Constitution.  As I argue in the Fall issue of Academic Questions, conservative professors need to leave their ivory […]

American Higher Education: Is It in Crisis?

Is American higher education in crisis?  If you mean “is higher education in an unsustainable and precarious position, which will force major changes in a fairly short time period?” I suspect the answer is yes. If, however, you mean “is higher education in imminent danger of collapse or immediate radical change,” the answer is “no.” […]

A Jeremiad on Higher Education

In recent years the state of higher education in the United States has come under withering fire from high-profile insiders who span the political spectrum.   The litany of complaint includes soaring costs, hyper-inflated reputations, curricular incoherence and emptiness, politicization of the classroom, thickening bureaucracy, incentivized moral turpitude inside and outside the dormitories, collapsing standards, rampant […]

A New Model for Higher Education

Wisconsin has launched a new educational model that could well be emulated throughout the country.  On June 19, Governor Scott Walker, University of Wisconsin System President Kevin P. Kelly, and UW Colleges UW-Extension Chancellor Ray Cross announced a competency-based degree model that will transform higher education in Wisconsin.  Called the UW Flexible Degree, “No state […]

Harvard Refocuses the MBA

Last year, the Harvard Business School announced that it is making major changes to its curriculum and that these changes, according to its marketing release, are aimed to “create leaders of competence and character, rather than just connections and credentials”.  Evidently there is a certain concern and maybe a little guilt that 58% of its […]

Crossing to Safety

Wallace Stegner has disappeared into that void into which great authors tumble, twenty years after their deaths, until they are rediscovered 40 years later. He, along with Willa Cather and W.O. Mitchell, is amongst the greatest of western novelists, and his Wolf Willow memorably described the parched country in which I grew up. His best […]

Training vs. Education

In 1644 John Milton sketched the curriculum of an academy for students aged twelve to twenty-one. “This place should be both school and university.” His target was educational reformer John Amos Comenius, who advocated (in modern terms) a child-centered education that aimed at preparing students for a profession. Milton’s proposal was for (again in modern […]

The Excellence Problem

As reformers and watchdog groups press colleges and universities for more rigor in and out of the classroom and stronger learning outcomes, they should keep in mind all the forces conspiring against those circumstances.  I don’t mean the drawbacks of any bureaucracy as it grows and grows, but the specific parties and their interests.  The […]

Prescient Lawmaker Challenges Higher Ed Groupthink

It’s been said that higher-education administrators treat regents like mushrooms: “Keep them in the dark and feed them manure.” Regrettably, some haughty administrators—in my home state of Oklahoma, higher education is known as the fourth branch of government—often treat state lawmakers the same way. Fortunately, not all lawmakers are content to stay in the dark. […]

Colleagues in the Academic Trenches

If your experience duplicates mine you’ve witnessed in your classrooms a malady that is provoking complaints from educators and general public alike: college students somehow make their way through four years’ of coursework without learning to compose coherent essays on any of the subjects listed on their transcripts. I propose to identify two causes for […]