In this blog post, Dr. Harper discusses weaknesses in the "STEM pipeline" that influence the number of underrepresented minorities who go into STEM fields. She also explains how historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) contribute to higher graduation rates of black women in STEM fields.
In this opinion piece, Napolitano argues that higher education is not in crisis, but in a state of evolution. She outlines the many challenges facing higher education, and evaluates two books on the topic.
Why we need to stop wasting public funds on education Despite being immensely popular--and immensely lucrative--education is grossly overrated. In this explosive book, Bryan Caplan argues that the primary function of education is not to enhance students' skill but to certify their intelligence, work ethic, and conformity--in other words, to signal the qualities of a good employee. Learn why students hunt for easy As and casually forget most of what they learn after the final exam, why decades of growing access to education have not resulted in better jobs for the average worker but instead in runaway credential inflation, how employers reward workers for costly schooling they rarely if ever use, and why cutting education spending is the best remedy. Caplan draws on the latest social science to show how the labor market values grades over knowledge, and why the more education your rivals have, the more you need to impress employers. He explains why graduation is our society's top conformity signal, and why even the most useless degrees can certify employability. He advocates two major policy responses. The first is educational austerity. Government needs to sharply cut education funding to curb this wasteful rat race. The second is more vocational education, because practical skills are more socially valuable than teaching students how to outshine their peers. Romantic notions about education being "good for the soul" must yield to careful research and common sense--The Case against Education points the way.
American public universities were founded in a civic tradition that differentiated them from their European predecessors--steering away from the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake. Like many such higher education institutions across the United States, the University of Wisconsin's mission, known as the Wisconsin Idea, emphasizes a responsibility to serve the needs of the state and its people. This commitment, which necessarily requires a pledge to academic freedom, has recently been openly threatened by state and federal actors seeking to dismantle a democratic and expansive conception of public service. Using the Wisconsin Idea as a lens, Education for Democracy argues that public higher education institutions remain a bastion of collaborative problem solving. Examinations of partnerships between the state university and people of the state highlight many crucial and lasting contributions to issues of broad public concern such as conservation, LGBTQ+ rights, and poverty alleviation. The contributors restore the value of state universities and humanities education as a public good, contending that they deserve renewed and robust support.
Private liberal arts colleges have been struggling for decades; now, as the COVID-19 pandemic widens cracks latent in many American institutions, they are facing a possibly mortal crisis. InThe Post-Pandemic Liberal Arts College: A Manifesto for Reinvention, Steven Volk and Beth Benedix call for small colleges to seize this moment and reinvent themselves. With the rise of rankings that set peer institutions against each other, tuition that outpaces income, creeping pre-professionalism, and a race to build student "customers" the splashiest new amenities, many private liberal arts colleges have strayed from their founders' missions. If they could shed the mantle of exclusivity, reduce costs, facilitate true social mobility, and collaborate with each other, the authors argue, they might both survive and again become just, equitable, accessible institutions able to offer the transformative and visionary education that is their hallmark.