Bonevac documents the disappearance of Western Civilization and other broad interdisciplinary humanities courses, along with the dwindling of traditional survey courses. The result is that college graduates emerge with little knowledge of subjects beyond their majors, and only narrow slices of that to boot.
The American culture of grade inflation is a primary abettor of the “pay to play” college admissions scandals recently in the news. If a student can manage to gain admission to a school that is academically out of reach, there’s a good chance he will pass his courses. The political history and institutional causes of college grade inflation might surprise you.
It is possible that athletic competition could provide a sound accompaniment to a rigorous liberal arts education. As it’s practiced on today’s college campuses, though, institutional status-striving through the provision of mass entertainment sports has resulted in disastrous academic compromise. Recent scandals involving college athletics programs provide an opportunity for real reform.
The campus left’s rejection of the Western canon and its focus on racial, gender, and sexual inequality is couched in the language of Enlightenment: "tolerance," "fairness," “pluralism,” and "justice." But the abandonment of the canon has left campus “wokeness” bereft of any substantial consideration of the West’s most important self-critique: economic inequality.
What has caused the fear, intolerance, and aggression of the many college students who demand strict enforcement of speech codes? Howard Schwartz argues that they are the children of a culture that has “overthrown the socialization that has protected previous generations from the anxiety that is an inevitable part of life.”
The political imbalance on most college faculties is often attributed to “self-selection,” the aggregation of left-leaning cognitive high-performers voluntarily choosing to pursue academic careers. But a large survey performed years ago shows large numbers of academics shifted to the left after joining the professoriate, partially in response to career incentives.