Academic Questions

Spring 2019

Volume 32 Issue 1

Bright Lines and True Dichotomy

Carol Iannone

The editor's intro to the Spring 2019 issue of Academic Questions

University Presidents

Joseph Epstein

Once educational innovators and forceful exponents of the higher education ideal, university presidents are today more likely to be fundraisers for big capital projects and public relations hacks. Joseph Epstein shares his thoughts on how this conspicuous role reversal came about.

On College Presidents

Heather Heying

Exemplars of openness and inquiry in the twentieth century, colleges and universities have turned toward orthodoxy and indoctrination in the twenty-first. Heather Heying explains that a small number of traditional academic departments and “grievance studies” enclaves are the catalysts of this change, but that college presidents—including George Bridges at Evergreen State College, where Heying was tenured—have played no small role. 

Levin, Salovey, and the Mess at Yale

Nathan Harden

Free speech, open inquiry, and the study and debate of a broad range of ideas have long been central features of any properly functioning university. Unfortunately, these are not predominant features at Yale University, perhaps the most politically influential university in America. Instead, the tribalism of identity politics, punctuated with a fierce intolerance for non-conforming thought, has replaced the old ideal. 

Strong Leadership: Mitch Daniels Shows the Way

Jane Clark

University presidents seem powerless to address the wide range of problems currently plaguing higher education. Defenders deflect blame toward off-campus targets for such difficulties as skyrocketing tuition, fiscal insolvency, attacks on free speech, and poor workforce outcomes. Mitch Daniels, President of Purdue University, has tackled them all.

The Mizzou Meltdown: How a President Lost Control

J. Martin Rochester

A faculty member at the University of Missouri-St. Louis watched in amazement and horror as UM-Columbia President Tim Wolfe and Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin resigned over allegations of racism at the university. The allegations themselves were based on little or no evidence, but the 2015 crisis at UM, according to Professor J. Martin Rochester, “provides a window into how ‘institutional leftism’ has subverted the modern university throughout America.”

Gregory Fenves: An Unlikely Radical at the Helm of UT-Austin

Mark Pulliam

“Texas,” writes Mark Pulliam, “exhibits a governance vacuum for higher education—a perfect storm for mischief by leftist faculty and bureaucrats.” Gregory Fenves, a former Dean of UT’s engineering school appointed president in 2015, has been no corrective, proving himself a “fulsome social justice warrior in his own right.”

University of Transformation: Michael Crow at Arizona State University

Adam Kissel

Through actions, words, and a transformative vision, President Michael Crow has made Arizona State University one of only fourteen institutions to receive the highest free speech rating from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.

Herb London (1939-2018)

Peter Wood

Peter Wood, president of the National Association of Scholars, Steve Balch, its founding president, and Norman Podhoretz share their thoughts on the passing of the revered scholar, teacher, and higher education leader.

Remembering Columbus: Blinded by Politics

Robert Carle

American colleges and universities have long dispensed with efforts to honor or commemorate Christopher Columbus. But according to Robert Carle, “most Americans know very little about this enigmatic man whose voyages changed the course of history.”

The Campus Sanctuary Movement

Glenn M. Ricketts

Arriving late behind select religious institutions and municipalities, American college campuses are now full partners in the effort to protect illegal immigrants. With increasing enrollment of both legal and illegal foreign students—as well as growing financial dependence on the foreign assistance many of them bring—it was inevitable that universities and colleges would emerge as leaders in the movement to change, ignore, or defy federal law.

Perceptions of Gender, Race, and Anti-Conservative Discrimination on Campus

Hal R. Arkes

This study of female college students and recent graduates indicates that campus discrimination based on conservative political ideology might exceed that based on gender. As elsewhere throughout American life, though, these perceptions differ by race.

Rediscovering the Noölogical Dimension of Higher Education: Guidance from the Pages of Philosophy

Micah Sadigh

The fragmentation of higher education into increasingly narrow fields of specialization, along with its vocational focus, has precluded the quest for wisdom and, hence, happiness. What’s needed, says Micah Sadigh, is an integrated, dynamic approach to a higher education that can illuminate life, provide a deeper understanding of self, and allow for self-transcendence.

Tomas G. Masaryk: A Life at the "Bloody Crossroads"

Kevin J. McNamara

The son of an illiterate Slovak coachman, Tomas G. Masaryk rose to become the founder and first president of Czecho-Slovakia in 1918, a “Western-oriented, non-Marxist, democratic republic in Central Europe which remained the only democracy east of the Elbe into the 1930s.” While Masaryk’s lasting political influence, wartime leadership, and personal courage invite comparison with Winston Churchill, Kevin McNamara believes that his thirty-two year career as a prolific scholar and busy professor sets him apart, and provided the foundation for his political achievements.

The Diversity Scam, Laid Bare

Bruce Bawer

A review of The Diversity Delusion: How Race and Gender Pandering Corrupt the University and Undermine Our Culture, by Heather Mac Donald, New York, St. Martin's Press, 2018, 278 pp., $28.99 hardbound.

Prepare the Child for the Road, Not the Road for the Child

Russ Nieli

A review of The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure, by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt, Penguin Press, 2018, 352 pp., $12.83 hardbound.

A Eulogy for Herbert London

Norman Podhoretz


Rober C. Whitten

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