Office of the President

Bylines

Below are links to some recent bylines by Wesleyan University President Michael S. Roth.

April 9, 2014 - McClatchyDC
In College, Choose to Thrive

As high school seniors struggle to decide where to spend their next four years, President Roth urges readers to choose a college "at which you can thrive, finding out so much more about yourself as you also discover how the world works, how to make meaning from it and how you might contribute to it." [ Read More ]

Mar. 23, 2014 - San Francisco Chronicle
'The Story of the Jews,' by Simon Schama

President Roth reviews Schama's "excellent" account of Jewish history, in which the historian draws on many different sources, "drill[s] deep" into a specific subject, and "take[s] a wide-angle view of many countries over long periods of time." [ Read More ]

Feb. 23, 2014 - The Washington Post
'The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History' by Elizabeth Kolbert

Elizabeth Kolbert's new book argues convincingly that human beings "have been bad news for most of the world's living things, causing massive extinctions of species with which we share the planet," and, unless we change our ways, "we will certainly cause our own demise," writes President Roth in this review. [ Read More ]

Dec. 20, 2013 - The Washington Post
`Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence'

President Roth awards only a passing grade to Daniel Goleman's `Focus," saying the celebrated author of  "Emotional Intelligence" has a good idea that is only somewhat realized in his latest book. "`Focus' has real moments of insight, strong pages on interesting research and its potential applications," Roth writes. "Unfortunately, in trying to be all things to all readers, Goleman’s book fails to consistently sustain and repay our attention." [ Read More ]

Dec. 19, 2013 - Los Angeles Times
A Repugnant Attack on Academic Freedom

An American Studies Association boycott of Israeli academic institutions is "a repugnant attack on academic freedom," President Roth writes, "Declaring academic institutions off-limits because of their national affiliation.  "The ASA has not gone on record against universities in any other country: not against those that enforce laws against homosexuality, not against those that have rejected freedom of speech, not against those that systematically restrict access to higher education by race, religion or gender. No, the ASA listens to civil society only when it speaks against Israel. As its scholarly president declared, "One has to start somewhere." Not in North Korea, not in Russia or Zimbabwe or China — one has to start with Israel. Really?"   [ Read More ]

Nov. 12, 2013 - Inside Higher Ed
Thinking for Oneself

"America has long been ambivalent about learning for its own sake," writes President Roth, "at times investing heavily in free inquiry and lifelong learning, and at other times worrying that we need more specialized training to be economically competitive. A century ago these worries were intense, and then, as now, pundits talked about a flight from the humanities toward the hard sciences." [ Read More ]

Oct. 1, 2013 - WGBH "On Campus" blog
Inequality Persists on College Campuses

President Roth writes about the importance of economic diversity and an inclusive environment on college campuses to creating opportunities for social mobility. [ Read More ]

Sep. 24, 2013 - The Huffington Post
Liberal Learning: A Pragmatic Education for Social Good

President Roth shares his presentation on liberal learning as a form of pragmatic education with deep roots in American history, delivered Sept. 22, 2013 at the Social Good Summit at the 92nd St. Y in New York City. [ Read More ]

Sep. 14, 2013 - The Washington Post
'Permanent Present Tense: The Unforgettable Life of the Amnesic Patient, H.M.' by Suzanne Corkin

H.M., a famous research subject whose amnesia helped advance the field of memory research by leaps and bounds, is the focus of a new book by Suzanne Corkin that President Roth reviews. [ Read More ]

Aug. 30, 2013 - The Washington Post
'Higher Education in America' by Derek Bok

"[Bok's] book is too long to be called a report card, but it is a detailed progress report on the challenges and opportunities facing our nation's colleges and universities," writes President Roth in this review of Derek Bok's new book. [ Read More ]

Aug. 20, 2013 - The New York Times
How Four Years Can (and Should) Transform You

President Roth reviews a new book by Mark Edmundson on the transformative power of great teaching, as well as the challenges posed to serious teachers by the modern higher education landscape. [ Read More ]

Aug. 12, 2013 - McClatchy-Tribune News Service
Boosting Inclusion on Campus

"How do we promote inclusion on campuses that claim to value diversity? In classrooms and dorm rooms, from athletics to the arts?" questions President Roth in an op-ed carried by the McClatchy-Tribune News Service. [ Read More ]

Apr. 30, 2013 - The Wall Street Journal
My Global Philosophy Course

"Teaching this MOOC has shown me that online courses will be increasingly viable and valuable learning options for those who can't make their way to campuses," writes President Roth in this op-ed in The Wall Street Journal. [ Read More ]

Apr. 29, 2013 - The Chronicle of Higher Education
My Modern Experience Teaching a MOOC

President Roth reflects on his experience teaching "The Modern and the Postmodern" as a Massive Open Online Course this year in The Chronicle of Higher Education. [ Read More ]

Apr. 26, 2013 - The Washington Post
'Anti-Judaism: The Western Tradition' by David Nirenberg

In The Washington Post, President Roth reviews David Nirenberg's 'Anti-Judaism,'  "a thorough, scholarly account of why, in the history of the West, Jews have been so easy to hate." [ Read More ]

Mar. 31, 2013 - The Huffington Post
Conformity is the Enemy: From Groupthink to Diversity

Diversity on college campuses is a "powerful hedge against the 'rationalized conformity' of groupthink," President Roth argues in The Huffington Post. [ Read More ]

Feb. 8, 2013 - The Washington Post
"Why Does the World Exist? An Existential Detective Story" by Jim Holt

In The Washingon Post, President Roth reviews Why Does the World Exist? An Existential Detective Story by Jim Holt. Roth writes that Holt "takes on one of the biggest questions in conversations with philosophers and scientists: What is the origin of everything?" [ Read More ]

Jan. 21, 2013 - The Huffington Post
"Leonardo and the Last Supper" by Ross King

In The Huffington Post, President Roth describes Ross King's Leonardo and the Last Supper as the portrait of the Renaissance master as a middle-aged man, who had no limits on his talents nor his imagination, but nonetheless undertook commissions the way his patrons directed. [ Read More ]

Dec. 28, 2012 - Los Angeles Times
Art Appreciation 101: 'Glittering Images' by Camille Paglia

In the Los Angeles Times, President Roth reviewed Glittering Images: A Journey Through Art From Egypt to Star Wars by Camille Paglia. The book, which contains brief discussions of 29 works of visual art, seeks to help readers "find focus" amid the "torrential stream of flickering images." Roth writes: "Paglia's goal is straightforward: By offering images of great artworks and helping us to give them sustained attention, she hopes that readers will 'relearn how to see' with sustained pleasure and insight." [ Read More ]

Dec. 28, 2012 - The Washington Post
Book Review: "Hallucinations" by Oliver Sacks

For The Washington Post, President Roth reviewed Hallucinations by Oliver Sacks, a "graceful and informative" study of hallucinations caused by "neurological misfirings that can be traced to disease, drugs or various changes in neurochemistry." Drawing upon descriptions of hallucinations experienced with Parkinsonian disorders, epilepsy, migraines, and narcolepsy, "Sacks explores the surprising ways in which our brains call up simulated realities that are almost indistinguishable from normal perceptions," Roth writes. [ Read More ]

Nov. 24, 2012 - The Washington Post
"Makers: The New Industrial Revolution" by Chris Anderson

In The Washington Post, President Roth reviews a new book by Chris Anderson, departing editor of Wired magazine, which explores how in today's world, "technology has liberated the inventor from a dependence on the big manufacturer." The Web has "democractized the tools both of invention and production," Anderson writes. [ Read More ]

Nov. 15, 2012 - The Huffington Post
Get Smart! Cultivate Interdependence!

President Roth writes about thinkers who offer deep criticism of the West's narrative of progress, including Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno. [ Read More ]

Nov. 2, 2012 - The Huffington Post
From Commencement to Campaign: Where is the Call to Service?

Just ahead of the 2012 presidential election, President Roth recalls the 2008 Wesleyan Commencement Address delivered by then-candidate Barack Obama, with its appeal to graduates to serve their communities, their country and the wider world. President Roth notes that this call to service has been entirely absent this election cycle from both Obama and his Republican opponent Mitt Romney. "Why are both candidates today so reluctant to call for service? Why do they continually appeal to our desire to have our country do something for us, but rarely ask that we make personal sacrifices to improve our collective future?" he writes. [ Read More ]

Sept 20, 2012 - The Huffington Post
Why a Liberal Arts School Has Joined Coursera

In the Huffington Post, President Roth writes about the recent announcement that Wesleyan would begin offering free MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) through Coursera. He discusses how Wesleyan's online course offerings will differ from its on-campus courses, and what participating faculty members hope to learn from the experiment. [ Read More ]

Sept 5, 2012 - The New York Times
Learning As Freedom

President Roth discusses the recent calls to further specialize education and narrow what we teach students from K-12 and on to college at the exclusion of the liberal arts, especially the humanities. [ Read More ]

Aug. 31, 2012 - The Huffington Post
On the Rick Levin Retirement

Following Rick Levin's surprising announcement that he would retire as president of Yale University, President Roth reflects on Levin's legacy. [ Read More ]

August 12, 20 - The Huffington Post
Book Review: Dan Ariely's "The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty"

President Roth reviews a new book titled The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty, in which author Dan Ariely, director of the Center for Advanced Hindsight, applies an experimental approach to how we "lie to everyone--especially ourselves." [ Read More ]

August 3, 201 - The Huffington Post
Thinking About Education with Washington and Du Bois

President Roth discusses the late 19th century debate over the purpose of education between two prominent black intellectuals--W.E.B. Du Bois and Booker T. Washington--and its relevance to contemporary discussions on liberal learning and practicality. Washington advocated for an intensely practical, vocational education as a path to economic prosperity for ex-slaves and their descendants, while Du Bois emphasized political and civil equality, and "the education of youth according to ability." [ Read More ]

July 29, 2012 - The Washington Post
Review: "America the Philosophical"

In The Washington Post, President Roth reviews Carlin Romano’s America the Philosophical, which is an effort to consider how intellectual life in America exceeds the boundaries that we try to set for it in academia. Roth applauds the attempt but questions the outcome [ Read More ]

July 11, 2012 - The Washington Post
A Pragmatic Liberal Arts Education

While keeping in mind writings of activist Jane Addams, President Roth discusses liberal education, saying in part: "Liberal education today should prepare students for life, and many colleges have been increasingly focused on doing a better job of helping them transition from campus to life after graduation. Whether students do this through activism or internships, service learning or “intellectual cross-training,” they learn to make their education feed into what they will be doing in the world." [ Read More ]

July 4, 2012 - The Huffington Post
Learning and Independence: Examples for the Fourth

President Roth writes about the consistent links between education and freedom that run through American intellectual history. [ Read More ]

June 8, 2012 - The New York Times
Light, Truth and Whatever

Wesleyan President Michael S. Roth reviews Andrew Delbanco new book, College: What It Was, Is, and Should Be. Roth writes, "At a time when many are trying to reduce the college years to a training period for economic competition, Delbanco reminds readers of the ideal of democratic education." [ Read More ]

May 28, 2012 - The Huffington Post
"Commencement 2012: What Shall We Do With These Memories?"

Wesleyan President Michael S. Roth shares his thoughts on commencement and the challenges the class of 2012 faces as they head out into the world. "We remember, but what shall we do with these memories? I trust you will gratefully acknowledge those who have sacrificed to nurture you, to guide you, and to protect our freedoms...I trust that you will practice forms of thinking that create opportunity rather than defend inequality and privilege." [ Read More ]

May 24, 2012 - The Washington Post
"A degree in ‘three marvelous years"

In a guest posting in a blog by the Post's Daniel DeVise, Wesleyan President Michael S. Roth announced the university's new path to a three-year degree, which does not skimp on academic courses or rigor, but requires no overloads. Roth also discusses his reasons for the three-year degree. [ Read More ]

Apr 27, 2012 - The Washington Post
Review of "“The Patagonian Hare: Memoir”

Wesleyan President Michael S. Roth gives Claude Lanzmann's new memoir The Pantagonian an endorsement with a caveat: "The Patagonian Hare is full of Lanzmann’s cloying self-regard, but we accept it for the single reason that he created “Shoah,” his 1985 documentary about the Nazi war against the Jews, one of the masterworks of cinema. A man who produces a great work of art that succeeds in deeply affecting our consciousness of the past and of the human condition deserves to be listened to. And so we listen to Lanzmann." [ Read More ]

April 8, 2012 - The Huffington Post
"How to Choose Your University"

Wesleyan President Michael S. Roth discusses the challenges facing students and families when those college acceptance letters start coming in. This decsion may come down to costs, size of the instution, reputation, or even for some, a return visit to a few of the campuses being considered. Roth offers some suggestions for students and their parents to consider as they juggle this process. [ Read More ]

Mar 29, 2012 - The Huffington Post
Adrienne Rich: Writing as Social Practice

I read with sadness this morning that the great American poet, Adrienne Rich, died this week at her home in Santa Cruz. She was a brave and ardent writer, a gifted teacher and a powerful voice of conscience. There is no one quite like her in American letters. [ Read More ]

Mar 27, 2012 - The Huffington Post
"Cracking Your Genetic Code on NOVA"

Wesleyan President Michael S. Roth discusses a show that will be broadcast on NOVA on PBS on March 28th at 9 p.m. EST, titled "Cracking Your Genetic Code." Roth says, "the show is "a joint project of PBS's NOVA producers and the Hastings Center, a bioethics research center on whose board I sit. The film gives an insightful portrait of how people who suffer from genetic disorders are investing their hopes in genomic science." [ Read More ]

Mar 11, 2012 - The Huffington Post
Eyal Press' Beautiful Souls: Saying No, Breaking Ranks, and Heeding the Voice of Conscience in Dark Times

In his first book, Absolute Convictions, Eyal Press showed how anti-abortion crusaders in Buffalo achieved intense solidarity in pursuit of their goals, including the murder of an abortion provider and intimidation of others, such as the author's father. In Beautiful Souls, Press examines another side of strong group conviction: the ability to break ranks with others who display absolute unanimity. He wants to know, "Why, even in situations of seemingly total conformity, there are always some people who refuse to go along?" [ Read More ]

Mar 1, 2012 - The Huffington Post
Antonin Scalia and Political Diversity

Next week Justice Antonin Scalia will be delivering the Hugo Black Lecture at Wesleyan University. It's been a long time since we've welcomed a Supreme Court Justice to Middletown. Justice Harry Blackmun visited the campus in 1993, giving the second lecture in this series. We've invited others, but given the busy schedule of the Court, we have not been able to arrange a visit. When Justice Scalia accepted the invitation, he said that he had heard positive feedback about the lecture series and Wesleyan from his former law clerk, Lawrence Lessig, who spoke here a couple of years ago. [ Read More ]

Feb 23, 2012 - The Huffington Post
Why We Value Diversity

This week the Supreme Court voted to hear a challenge to the ability of colleges and universities to shape the racial and ethnic demographics of their student bodies. Currently, schools are allowed to use race as a factor among many others in achieving diversity for educational reasons. When the Court hears Fisher vs. the University of Texas, we may find that the justices set strict limits on how universities can consider race in their efforts to create an educational environment in which all students learn -- and learn from one another. [ Read More ]

Feb 1, 2012 - The Huffington Post
Go Positive!

It's been more than a little depressing to listen to debate performances over the last couple of months, in which candidates seem to gain in popularity by refining a formula of indignation and hostility. "How dare you," says the candidate, puffing out his chest, wondering how any questioner could sink so low to ask about a character flaw. The same candidate then dives even lower to cast aspersions on anyone who might be considered a rival. [ Read More ]

Jan 11, 2012 - The Huffington Post
Opportunity, Engagement and Confidence: Cures for the Civic Recession

The news about the American education system has been bleak over the last year—from elementary schools that seem “designed to fail” to for-profit universities that are scooping up borrowed tuition dollars without providing their graduates with much hope of gainful employment. No surprise then that the American public has grown increasingly suspicious of educators and their institutions. [ Read More ]

Dec. 31, 2011 - The Huffington Post
2011: Deficits, Equality and Innovation

In the first half of 2011, we heard the word “deficit” in wave after wave of political discourse. The Republicans used it as a signifier of Washington’s lack of fiscal self-control—of an intellectually and morally bankrupt government that spent our money without concern for the views of those who had earned it in the first place. The “deficit” was real, and it was also symbolic of a failure to maintain an economy that promised a reasonable opportunity for creating a better future. [ Read More ]

Oct 20, 2011 - The Huffington Post
Resisting Inequality: Occupy Wall Street and Education

The Occupy Wall Street protests have become an important topic on college campuses. At Wesleyan, some of our students have joined the group in Zuccotti Park in New York, and others have found a variety of ways of expressing their support. Given the mainstream media's treatment of the movement, it's easy to mock the lack of clear policy initiatives or to roll one's eyes at the absence of leaders to express a neat list of demands. But in talking with students and reading some of the statements from the Occupy Wall Street participants, it seems to me that we get a pretty clear picture of their discontent.  [ Read More ]

Sep 30, 2011 - The Huffington Post
Innovative University

The free inquiry and experimentation of our education helps us to think for ourselves, take responsibility for our beliefs and actions, and be better acquainted with our own desires, our own hopes. [ Read More ]

Sep 9, 2011 - The Huffington Post
Ten Years After: Commemoration Without Agenda

On this 10th anniversary of 9/11 let us simply acknowledge the claim that our painful memories still have on us. Let us recognize with piety that we still carry the traces of those traumatic events with us, and that we acknowledge their importance to us without trying to use them. [ Read More ]

Sep 5, 2011 - The Huffington Post
Happy First (Labor) Day of Classes!

1 day ago ... Labor is on the mind of our students and their families in a more general sense this year. The awful job situation in the United States has lasted ... [ Read More ]

Jul 27, 2011 - The Huffington Post
Budgeting for Greater Inequality

This week, while President Obama and House Speaker Boehner gave dueling speeches of blame and recrimination, a new report was released showing the extraordinary increase in the disparity of wealth between whites and nonwhites in the United States. The new data allows us to understand the stalemate in Washington over raising the debt ceiling from another perspective. And it indicates that the defense of racial and economic privilege under the rhetoric of "taking back our country" or of "living within our means" further undermines our political culture today as it starves future generations of cultural and economic opportunity. [ Read More ]

Jul 17, 2011 - The Huffington Post
"Preach a Crusade Against Ignorance" -- Don't Sacrifice the Future!

Let us not ignore our responsibility to invest in the future by supporting education. We must not allow our representatives to protect tax breaks for the most advantaged while ignoring our responsibility to give the next generation the education they need. [ Read More ]

Jul 9, 2011 - The Huffington Post
Our Desperate Need for Honest Leadership

Sensible government seems to have become a contradiction in terms. Democratic leaders have no ideas of their own, while Republican leaders are dedicated to protecting the rich -- not to fiscal responsibility. [ Read More ]

Jun 16, 2011 - The Huffington Post
Midnight in America: Renewing the Pantheon

... I am hopeful that those who will shape the future will also have cultivated the ability to renew the pantheon of great work from the past ... [ Read More ]

Jun 2, 2011 - The Huffington Post
America's Higher Education Resource

When it works well, our higher education sector offers a wide range of choices to students who hope to build on their education in different ... [ Read More ]

Apr 27, 2011 - The Huffington Post
Colleges Must Ensure Quality Not Inequality

... Cultivation of specialization, powerful departments, and intellectual fragmentation are linked in an unholy alliance that undermines the ... [ Read More ]

Mar 30, 2011 - The Huffington Post
A College Education: It's Not a Product; It's a Platform

Bill Gates has been calling for a targeted investment in the sciences and engineering. Steve Jobs recently emphasized the arts and ... [ Read More ]

Mar 4, 2011 - The Huffington Post
Math and Science Study Alone Will Not Make Students More Competitive

... President Obama should realize that innovation in technology companies, automobile design, medicine or food production does not come only ... [ Read More ]

Feb 23, 2011 - The Huffington Post
On Scholarship and Public Life

... I returned to Wesleyan University as president more than four years ago, and even though now some of this activism is directed against me, ...   [ Read More ]

Feb 6, 2011 - The Huffington Post
Allen Shawn's Twin: Overcoming Remoteness

... While acknowledging our separation from one another, Allen Shawn has made a brotherly gift that recalls the possibilities of connection ... [ Read More ]

Jan 27, 2011 - The Huffington Post
Investing in Educated Innovation

... Obama has often repeated his goal for K-12 education: college preparedness -- but why make college the goal if students aren't going to ... [ Read More ]

Jan 10, 2011 - The Huffington Post
Sowing The Rage

... Anger is routinely mistaken for caring, for intelligence, and, worst of all, for courage. But when you sow rage, you reap violence. [ Read More ]

Dec 3, 2010 - The Huffington Post
Why We Teach

... Although as a university president I spent much of my time in meetings, my colleagues tell me that I'm happiest just after I come back from ... [ Read More ]

Nov 3, 2010 - The Huffington Post
We Need to Create Trust

... Our frustration with Obama's leadership has not just been disappointment with specific policies that haven't worked. The frustration and the ... [ Read More ]

Oct 24, 2010 - The Huffington Post
Cynics Need to Drop Their Fear, Contempt

... In this age of degraded political discourse and anonymously funded attack ads, it's easy to see the reasons for the cynical withdrawal from ... [ Read More ]

Sept 30, 2010 - The Huffington Post
Virtuous Circle of Teaching and Research

Over the last thirty to forty years, higher education in America has viewed contributions to research as an essential part of its mission. In recent years the folly of this system has become increasingly evident… [ Read More ]

Sept 5, 2010 - The Huffington Post
Labor Day and the Start of the Semester

On this Labor Day all of us working in higher education should remember those who won’t have to report this week at all because there aren’t enough jobs… [ Read More ]

June 18, 2010 - The Huffington Post
The Arar Affair: Shades of Dreyfus

This week the Supreme Court refused without comment to hear the appeal of Maher Arar, a Canadian-Syrian citizen detained while changing planes in JFK, held in solitary confinement in the US before being shipped by our government to Syria, where he would be tortured repeatedly. [ Read More ]

June 9, 2010 - The Huffington Post
Coming to the Defense of Liberal Education

It's a curious week when the New York Times runs two stories that defend traditional liberal arts education. And it's only Wednesday! [ Read More ]

Apr 05, 2010 - The Huffington Post
Now That You've Been Admitted: Choose the Student Culture That Energizes You

In thousands of homes with high school seniors aspiring to study at selective schools, the time has come for making tough choices. The thick envelopes (or weighty emails) arrived a couple of weeks ago, and the month of April is decision time. Of course, for many the decision will be made on an economic basis. [ Read More ]

Mar 29, 2010 - The Huffington Post
Remembering American Heroes

When we were kids, our aunt told us to "clean our plates, children are starving in Europe." In Europe? Where did she ever get that crazy idea, I wondered. Halfway through Richard Reeves' excellent Daring Young Men, I learned that all across America in the late 1940s mothers were saying something similar to their children. [ Read More ]

Mar 26, 2010 - The Huffington Post
Cruelty, Freedom and the Politics of Health Care Reform

On the eve of the health care vote liberal columnist Paul Krugman wrote in the Times that "our system is unique in its cruelty," as he urged passage of the imperfect but still progressive bill. [ Read More ]

Feb 22, 2010 - The Huffington Post
The Proper Role of Interdisciplinary Studies

A strategic planning process is valuable when it brings to the fore ideas that people already have about the direction of an institution but haven't articulated clearly. As our Chair of the Board Joshua Boger likes to say, "You don't make up a strategy, you discover the one you really mean to have." [ Read More ]

Feb 20, 2010 - The Huffington Post
American Virtue?

When I began reading The Death of American Virtue: Clinton vs. Starr, I had the feeling of reliving a bad dream.  The sordid and the sanctimonious, the crazy and the corrupt, the hypocrisy of those last years of the Clinton administration and, well, especially the hypocrisy were just awful to recall. [ Read More ]

Feb 12, 2010 - The Huffington Post
Education: From Condescension to Respect

This week political science professor Gerard Alexander hit a chord (or was it a nerve?) with his Washington Post essay on "why liberals are so condescending." Despite the recent successes of the Tea Party movement, Scott Brown, and a filibuster-happy Senate, Alexander repeats the old refrain: We conservatives get no respect. [ Read More ]

Jan 26, 2010 - The Huffington Post
For the State of the Union: Let's Learn from the Anger

Last week's election of the photogenic Scott Brown in Massachusetts has been greeted with stupefaction. How could the unaccomplished Brown take over the seat of the Lion of the Senate? [ Read More ]

Jan 03, 2010 - The Chronicle of Higher Education
Beyond Critical Thinking

The antivocational dimension of the humanities has been a source of pride and embarrassment for generations. The persistence of this reputed uselessness is puzzling given the fact that an education in the humanities allows one to develop skills in reading, writing, reflection, and interpretation that are highly prized in our economy and culture. [ Read More ]

Dec 07, 2009 - The Huffington Post
College Admissions Anxieties

A couple of days ago on my university Blog someone wrote in: "The fact that being admitted into Wesleyan is even more difficult this year is great for Wes, but terrifying for people like me. Even though I applied ED 1 and will know in less than two weeks, it still is terrifying." [ Read More ]

Nov 17, 2009 - The Huffington Post
Liberal Arts Education: From Clubbiness to Cosmopolitanism

Lately there has been much talk about a crisis in American higher education. Business leaders and army generals, artists and scientists are all trying to figure out how to build on what is working in our universities and to get rid of those things that have outlived their usefulness. What kind of college experience best prepares our young men and women for the challenges ahead? [ Read More ]

Nov 06, 2009 - The Huffington Post
Remember the Maine Elections

The disappointment was clear enough. The turnout in Virginia and New Jersey ensured that the progressive wave some of us last year thought might wash across the country had a strong undertow, or at least a rip current. The noise came from the shrill predictions that now there is a fresh conservative tide returning to wash away the hopes for change. [ Read More ]

Nov 06, 2008 - The Huffington Post
Bringing the Stories Together

The day before the election I attended our local Chamber of Commerce's annual Veterans' breakfast. One of our students who has received a new scholarship for vets was kind enough to attend with our Wesleyan University contingent... [ Read More ]

Oct 31, 2008 - The Huffington Post
Participation as Education

Although universities have often been sites of great political agitation, students have rarely played such an important a role in electoral politics. Part of the reason this has changed, we know, is that Barack Obama has generated enormous excitement among young people across the country. [ Read More ]

Oct 20, 2008 - The Huffington Post
In Praise of Poise

It was obvious that Senator McCain was doing whatever he could to get a rise out of his opponent, throwing everything from terrorist associations to the specter of class warfare (socialism!) at Barack. Obama smiled, occasionally shook his head with an air of bemusement, but generally refused to take the bait. [ Read More ]

Oct 10, 2008 - The Huffington Post
"Trust" in the Economy and Electoral Politics

Nowadays we hear the word "trust" used all the time in relation to the credit crunch and the steep decline in stock markets. It's bad enough for the economy when a business can't provide credit to a consumer. No car loan, no sales; no sales, no dealership; no dealership, no factory and so on. [ Read More ]