John William Pope Center Guest Editorial | Beaufort County Now

The university system in the United States has accomplished a great deal of good, but we believe that higher education in the United States, including North Carolina, has strayed from its chief goals of scholarly inquiry and responsible teaching. All too often, universities allow teaching to become shallow and trendy, failing to challenge students intellectually and disparaging traditional principles of justice, ethics, and liberal education. Students know little about the history of their country or the institutions that led to this nation’s prosperity and liberty. Students can get by without taking rigorous courses, and non-academic activities overshadow scholarship. As a result, many college graduates have poor skills in computation, communication, and logical analysis. Faculty are allowed excessive latitude in what they teach and often get away with little teaching at all, because research is emphasized. Taxpayers as well as students and their families pay hefty prices to support a system that often appears to provide little educational value. To address these and other problems, the Pope Center conducts studies in areas such as governance, curriculum, financing, access, accountability, faculty research, and administrative policies. We explore ways to increase the accountability of trustees, administrators, faculty, and students. And we engage in the broader dialogue about how to improve higher education around the nation. In these endeavors, we are motivated by the principles that have traditionally guided public policy in the United States: limits on government; freedom to pursue goals through voluntary means, both for-profit and nonprofit; accountability through private property rights; and the belief that competition is an excellent regulating force. bcn, beaufort county, nc, north carolina, now, beaufortcountynow, washington, washington nc, washington north carolina,events, articles, business, photos, news, classifieds, crime reports, government
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John William Pope Center Guest Editorial  

The university system in the United States has accomplished a great deal of good, but we believe that higher education in the United States, including North Carolina, has strayed from its chief goals of scholarly inquiry and responsible teaching.

All too often, universities allow teaching to become shallow and trendy, failing to challenge students intellectually and disparaging traditional principles of justice, ethics, and liberal education. Students know little about the history of their country or the institutions that led to this nation’s prosperity and liberty. Students can get by without taking rigorous courses, and non-academic activities overshadow scholarship. As a result, many college graduates have poor skills in computation, communication, and logical analysis. Faculty are allowed excessive latitude in what they teach and often get away with little teaching at all, because research is emphasized. Taxpayers as well as students and their families pay hefty prices to support a system that often appears to provide little educational value.

To address these and other problems, the Pope Center conducts studies in areas such as governance, curriculum, financing, access, accountability, faculty research, and administrative policies. We explore ways to increase the accountability of trustees, administrators, faculty, and students. And we engage in the broader dialogue about how to improve higher education around the nation.

In these endeavors, we are motivated by the principles that have traditionally guided public policy in the United States: limits on government; freedom to pursue goals through voluntary means, both for-profit and nonprofit; accountability through private property rights; and the belief that competition is an excellent regulating force.

The Pope Center for Higher Education Policy is excited to announce that it will soon change its name to the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal
The Pope Center for Higher Education Policy is excited to announce that it will soon change its name to the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal
 
My academic field, American Studies, is the interdisciplinary study of American cultures, past and present. Once it was a vibrant and useful discipline
My academic field, American Studies, is the interdisciplinary study of American cultures, past and present. Once it was a vibrant and useful discipline
 
In his new video "Just Say 'Merry Christmas,'" Dennis Prager argues that efforts to replace "Merry Christmas" with "Happy Holidays" are misguided. In the name of "inclusivity," he says, we are excluding the roughly 90 percent of Americans who celebrate Christmas
In his new video "Just Say 'Merry Christmas,'" Dennis Prager argues that efforts to replace "Merry Christmas" with "Happy Holidays" are misguided. In the name of "inclusivity," he says, we are excluding the roughly 90 percent of Americans who celebrate Christmas
 
The final year of the U.S. Department of Education in the Obama administration is noteworthy for all its carnage
The final year of the U.S. Department of Education in the Obama administration is noteworthy for all its carnage
 
It has been suggested that the expansion of free market think tanks on our college campuses is educationally harmful.
 
Administrators at the University of Florida recently notified students that a 24-hour counseling hotline is available to anyone who feels offended by Halloween costumes. Other colleges, in an attempt to pre-empt the psychological threat of offensive costumes
Administrators at the University of Florida recently notified students that a 24-hour counseling hotline is available to anyone who feels offended by Halloween costumes. Other colleges, in an attempt to pre-empt the psychological threat of offensive costumes
 
When universities institute things such as "safe spaces" and "trigger warnings," they often justify doing so in the name of protecting students' mental health
When universities institute things such as "safe spaces" and "trigger warnings," they often justify doing so in the name of protecting students' mental health
 
It was a bad idea for the federal government ever to get into the business of financing college with its various grants and loans, but at least in the old days, most of the money loaned was eventually repaid
It was a bad idea for the federal government ever to get into the business of financing college with its various grants and loans, but at least in the old days, most of the money loaned was eventually repaid
 
The Gallup Organization and Inside Higher Ed co-hosted a conference in Washington on September 15
 
When politicians and Education Department bureaucrats began designing policies to lessen college students' federal loan burdens, they weren't concerned much with the cost to the taxpayers
When politicians and Education Department bureaucrats began designing policies to lessen college students' federal loan burdens, they weren't concerned much with the cost to the taxpayers
 
At the school where I taught for almost 35 years, the University of Wisconsin—Madison, campus leaders continue their rush to respond to the BlackOut demands put forth by black student leaders last spring
At the school where I taught for almost 35 years, the University of Wisconsin—Madison, campus leaders continue their rush to respond to the BlackOut demands put forth by black student leaders last spring
 
The number of non-academic administrators at colleges and universities has more than doubled in the last 25 years, far outpacing the growth in students and faculty
The number of non-academic administrators at colleges and universities has more than doubled in the last 25 years, far outpacing the growth in students and faculty
 
Recently, a legislative proposal aimed at improving graduation rates at the University of North Carolina system's 16 institutions was nixed due to vehement opposition from university leaders
Recently, a legislative proposal aimed at improving graduation rates at the University of North Carolina system's 16 institutions was nixed due to vehement opposition from university leaders
 
Back in 2003, Thomas Benton-"the pseudonym of an assistant professor of English at a Midwestern liberal arts college"-wrote a brutally honest article in the Chronicle of Higher Education about graduate programs in the humanities
Back in 2003, Thomas Benton-"the pseudonym of an assistant professor of English at a Midwestern liberal arts college"-wrote a brutally honest article in the Chronicle of Higher Education about graduate programs in the humanities
 
Like all public universities, the University of Texas has a governing body that is supposed to oversee its management-the Board of Regents
Like all public universities, the University of Texas has a governing body that is supposed to oversee its management-the Board of Regents
 
On November 16, thousands of students at public and private universities across the country walked out of classes to protest the election of Donald Trump to the presidency
On November 16, thousands of students at public and private universities across the country walked out of classes to protest the election of Donald Trump to the presidency
 
After spending thirty years in a corporate environment, I embarked on a second career as a member of the faculty and staff of a liberal arts college
After spending thirty years in a corporate environment, I embarked on a second career as a member of the faculty and staff of a liberal arts college
 
Among the duties of a university's board of trustees, there is perhaps no bigger responsibility than helping to select the leader of the campus-the chancellor/president
Among the duties of a university's board of trustees, there is perhaps no bigger responsibility than helping to select the leader of the campus-the chancellor/president
 
Accreditation is supposed to act as a quality guarantee for colleges and universities, but it works very poorly
Accreditation is supposed to act as a quality guarantee for colleges and universities, but it works very poorly
 
Here is a dirty little secret: I am a teacher at a community college, but I have never taken an education course. The same is true for most of my colleagues at the college level
Here is a dirty little secret: I am a teacher at a community college, but I have never taken an education course. The same is true for most of my colleagues at the college level
 
Recently I attended a meeting of a committee of the University of North Carolina system's Board of Governors that has a mission of "setting goals for economic impact." Higher education's role in the economy cannot be ignored; the extent of that role is, however, highly debatable
Recently I attended a meeting of a committee of the University of North Carolina system's Board of Governors that has a mission of "setting goals for economic impact." Higher education's role in the economy cannot be ignored; the extent of that role is, however, highly debatable
 
Many people believe that the nation's college campuses have become hotbeds of sexual assault
Many people believe that the nation's college campuses have become hotbeds of sexual assault
 
American college students have taken to saying that they need "safe spaces" on campus. They really don't, since all they're after is "safety" from ideas they dislike
American college students have taken to saying that they need "safe spaces" on campus. They really don't, since all they're after is "safety" from ideas they dislike
 
All is not well on higher education's financial front. At many colleges, tuition prices have reached record highs, enrollment is stagnant, revenues have flattened or declined, budgets are constricted, and regulatory compliance costs are skyrocketing
All is not well on higher education's financial front. At many colleges, tuition prices have reached record highs, enrollment is stagnant, revenues have flattened or declined, budgets are constricted, and regulatory compliance costs are skyrocketing
 
Now that another academic year is underway, many university administrators are anxiously awaiting the final tally of fall semester enrollment numbers
Now that another academic year is underway, many university administrators are anxiously awaiting the final tally of fall semester enrollment numbers
 
Vijay-who used his authentic middle name, JoJo, and the description "star point guard for my family's beloved Celtics" on his applications-is the son of Indian immigrants, his mother a highly regarded Boston ob-gyn and his father an architect
Vijay-who used his authentic middle name, JoJo, and the description "star point guard for my family's beloved Celtics" on his applications-is the son of Indian immigrants, his mother a highly regarded Boston ob-gyn and his father an architect
 
Last month, PEN America, the U.S. branch of an international organization, published a strong defense of free speech on college campuses
Last month, PEN America, the U.S. branch of an international organization, published a strong defense of free speech on college campuses
 
Four classically liberal professors and an economist named Adam Smith walk into a room. No, this isn't the beginning of a bad joke; it was the first event of the Classical Liberals in the Carolinas conference held last week at Johnson and Wales University in Charlotte
Four classically liberal professors and an economist named Adam Smith walk into a room. No, this isn't the beginning of a bad joke; it was the first event of the Classical Liberals in the Carolinas conference held last week at Johnson and Wales University in Charlotte
 
An unlikely champion of more university oversight emerged at a recent University of North Carolina system Board of Governors [BOG] meeting
An unlikely champion of more university oversight emerged at a recent University of North Carolina system Board of Governors [BOG] meeting
 
Freedom of speech has been under siege at many American colleges and universities
Freedom of speech has been under siege at many American colleges and universities
 
More than that, however it shows that this is more true in some fields and geographic regions than others and, most significantly, that the leftist trend is becoming more pronounced over time
More than that, however it shows that this is more true in some fields and geographic regions than others and, most significantly, that the leftist trend is becoming more pronounced over time
 
Many experts believe that the United States is facing a student loan crisis. Total student loan debt now exceeds $1.3 billion-more than total credit card debt for the country
Many experts believe that the United States is facing a student loan crisis. Total student loan debt now exceeds $1.3 billion-more than total credit card debt for the country
 
Last month, just before the new academic year began, the University of Chicago’s dean of students, John Ellison, sent a letter (reproduced in this piece) to all incoming students
Last month, just before the new academic year began, the University of Chicago’s dean of students, John Ellison, sent a letter (reproduced in this piece) to all incoming students
 
It took less than a week into the 2016-2017 academic year for several outrageous stories to surface on college campuses.
It took less than a week into the 2016-2017 academic year for several outrageous stories to surface on college campuses.
 
For decades, the American higher education establishment was able to sell the idea that promoting college was sound policy because it seemed that nearly all graduates found good, high-paying jobs
For decades, the American higher education establishment was able to sell the idea that promoting college was sound policy because it seemed that nearly all graduates found good, high-paying jobs
 
In February 2015, the University of North Carolina System's Board of Governors (BOG) concluded an extensive review of the 237 academic centers and institutes housed across the 16 UNC campuses
In February 2015, the University of North Carolina System's Board of Governors (BOG) concluded an extensive review of the 237 academic centers and institutes housed across the 16 UNC campuses
 
In 2006, I clipped a "Non Sequitur" cartoon that captured perfectly the mystique that surrounds our nation's universities
In 2006, I clipped a "Non Sequitur" cartoon that captured perfectly the mystique that surrounds our nation's universities
 
On the surface, Pokémon Go players appear to be zombified millennials walking aimlessly, eyes fixed on their cellphones
On the surface, Pokémon Go players appear to be zombified millennials walking aimlessly, eyes fixed on their cellphones
 
Parents, test prep experts, and college counselors give careful thought in working with students as they approach the crucial "college entrance exam."
Parents, test prep experts, and college counselors give careful thought in working with students as they approach the crucial "college entrance exam."
 
Higher education reformers have long argued that colleges' admissions selectivity reveals little about their educational quality and how well they prepare students for the workforce and civic life
Higher education reformers have long argued that colleges' admissions selectivity reveals little about their educational quality and how well they prepare students for the workforce and civic life
 
Famed literary critic George Steiner once said that cultural knowledge allows one to "resist" and that "no one can make a zombie of you if you carry [cultural knowledge] inside of you."
Famed literary critic George Steiner once said that cultural knowledge allows one to "resist" and that "no one can make a zombie of you if you carry [cultural knowledge] inside of you."
 
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