Category Archives: Colleges & Education

Academic Tenure Will Soon Be Gone — Unless . . .

 

[NOTE: one scholar cited here says that the number of tenured professors ballooned after World War II, when more Amerians, especially veterans, went to college, got advanced degrees and stayed on to teach.

Today, student body numbers are falling, but grad schools keep churning out new PhDs. So  there’s a glut, too many carrying big debt loads, faced with vanishing tenure prospects and exploitive work conditions. Because most are also more or less liberal, this makes the academy an easy target in the culture wars. Continue reading Academic Tenure Will Soon Be Gone — Unless . . .

After Buying the Supreme Court for Rightwing Catholicism — Why not Add a Few Universities? Deal!

[NOTE: Some readers might wonder: why does this Quaker blogger post so often about Catholic church issues & development?

Is it just because I was raised RC? No doubt that upbringing left its marks. [If you’re interested, this background is explored in my memoir, Meetings.]

But there are broader reasons. Here are a few:

— The RC church is the biggest Christian denomination

— In the U.S., it is run increasingly by a rightwing, clerico-fascist faction of the church.

— That faction has become a major pipeline of authoritarian influence in key American institutions, supposedly public and secular (eg., the Supreme Court).

–This authoritarian & theocratic drive has been increasingly effective, with continuing impact far beyond the RC church, on many other groups, many of whose adherents don’t even realize it–

–That would include Quakers.

Perhaps the most important independent watchdog on all this is the National Catholic Reporter. I don’t agree with all their perspectives (having long since left most RC dogmas behind); but their work is the best we’ve got.

This deep report outlines the impact of one key activist rightwing Catholic, Leonard Leo. He was once aptly described by justice Clarence Thomas as “the No. 3 most powerful person in the world,” and readers can get a better understanding here of the Catholic side of that quip.

It matters.]

Leonard Leo has reshaped the Supreme Court. Is he reshaping Catholic University too?
National Catholic Reporter — December 15, 2022 — News

by John Gehring

[John Gehring is Catholic program director at Faith in Public Life and author of The Francis Effect: A Radical Pope’s Challenge to the American Catholic Church.

Leonard Leo

During a June gathering inside a century-old gothic building at the Catholic University of America, mingling among the crowd gathered to say farewell to departing president John Garvey was one of the most powerful men in Washington.

Leonard Leo, the chief adviser to Donald Trump on Supreme Court nominations, listened as one of those picks he helped secure on the bench, Amy Coney Barrett, delivered remarks praising Garvey, her longtime mentor and former law professor at the University of Notre Dame. Leo and Barrett’s presence together that night reflects the rising influence of conservative Catholics on the law at a time when the Supreme Court’s rightward transformation is reconfiguring American jurisprudence on issues of abortion, voting rights and religious liberty. Continue reading After Buying the Supreme Court for Rightwing Catholicism — Why not Add a Few Universities? Deal!

The U. S. Higher Ed Crisis: How it Happened, How to Fix It

CNBC- PERSONAL FINANCE

How college became so expensive, and how we can turn it around, according to a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist

KEY POINTS
  • How college became so expensive, and its consequences on families and U.S. society, are the issues explored in Will Bunch’s new book, After the Ivory Tower Falls.
  • “The impact of this decision to privatize higher education, which was done with shockingly little public debate, has been enormous,” Bunch said.
The average cost to attend a private college in 1970 was about $3,000 a year. Today, it costs more than $50,000.
How we got to this point, and its seemingly endless consequences on families and U.S. society, are the issues explored in Will Bunch’s new book, “After the Ivory Tower Falls: How College Broke the American Dream and Blew Up Our Politics―and How to Fix It.”

Continue reading The U. S. Higher Ed Crisis: How it Happened, How to Fix It

College Closures: Are the Wolves Coming? The British?

In recent years, I’ve seen a number of articles about an imminent “crisis” in U. S. Higher education: enrollment is declining, they say, while costs keep going up; small colleges are on the brink; student loan debt is crushing a generation; it’s worse for poor and minority students . . . It can’t go on this way.

Many readers will know the refrain.

I’m no expert, yet my observations have mostly reinforced this message: higher ed sure looks like a mess, an industry overripe for disruption and sweeping, even radical restructuring.

Mostly.

Except, these reports pile up, and meantime life on campus seems to go on churning. So it’s like Paul Revere keeps riding through our town square, ringing his bell and shouting, “The British are coming!” But one autumn follows another, and these “British”  never seem to show up. Or to vary the metaphor, the higher ed pundits continued crying “Wolf!” but the snarling packs of canis lupus  had yet to arrive.

Continue reading College Closures: Are the Wolves Coming? The British?