Intergenerational social mobility

A crucial part of social cohesion is the prospect of social mobility across generations. A social order in which individuals are stuck in their social position as a result of the lack of social assets of their parents is one which lacks legitimacy for an important part of its population. (Here are a few earlier …

Elitism?

There are a variety of ways of valorizing individuals and institutions in our society. We can value contribution and productivity; effectiveness; talent and merit; honesty and integrity; and "elite status". Just watch the credits for Masterpiece Theater, including the promotions for a luxury cruise line and a luxury fashion house, and you will get a …

A more inclusive university

The challenge of creating a truly inclusive university is a difficult one. Inclusiveness is more than diversity. It is an institution and culture in which people from all social groups -- race, nationality, gender, sexuality, religion, ethnicity -- are fully embraced and respected. It is an environment in which every individual is afforded the opportunity …

Change in higher education

There are a couple of former university presidents whose opinions seem particularly insightful on the subject of the strengths and weaknesses of universities today. One is Michael McPherson, formerly president of Macalester College and author (with Morton Schapiro) of The Student Aid Game. Another is Bill Bowen, formerly president of Princeton and author of Higher …

Are there online solutions to rising college costs?

There are many, many voices offering observations and criticisms of universities in face of rising costs and tuitions. But none is more qualified than Bill Bowen to address these issues. He is the preeminent economist and analyst of the institutions of American universities, and he was a long-serving president of Princeton University. So it is …

Veblen on universities

In 1918 Thorstein Veblen wrote a surprising short book about the administration and governance of American universities, The Higher Learning In America.  What is most surprising about the book is its date of publication. The critique he offers might have seemed familiar in 1968, whereas it seems precocious in 1918.   A key element of Veblen's …

Universities and the world

Many universities have significant international relationships with educational institutions in other countries. In some instances these are intended to support students who are interested in study abroad; in other instances they establish the foundation of faculty-to-faculty research collaboration; and in yet other cases they involve the coordination of specific academic programs for the benefit of …

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