Posts Tagged: Jay A. Halfond

From Kitchen to Classroom: The Serious Study of Food

When Jacques Pépin accepted his honorary doctorate from Boston University this past May, he made note of this truly symbolic moment. While his proposed dissertation focus on food had once been rejected by Columbia University as academically unworthy, a leading university was now granting him a doctorate for his work as a celebrated author, chef and teacher. Much has changed over the pa...

Unintended Consequences: An Uncertain Future for Distance Learning

While most in the academic community know about the attempt to rein in the for-profits, few are aware of its collateral damage. In October, the Department of Education issued its Program Integrity Rules, intended to protect federal funds especially from those for-profit institutions with high student loan default rates. Well-intentioned though this was, the DOE dropped an inadvertent bombshell: Al...

Don’t Sweat the Big Stuff: Academic Innovation in all Shapes and Sizes

To listen as many of us incessantly complain, one would think academe is chronically resistant to change, new ideas and innovative programs. We often hear the smaller the stakes, the greater the petty battles—no opportunity is too minute to stall and impede. Before tenure, junior faculty need to be protected while they build their publications dossier; after tenure, they no longer need to ca...

Biting the Hand: A Commentary on Academe’s Books About Itself

A new literary genre seems to be booming—book-length critiques on the state of American higher education. While a few celebrate American exceptionalism, most lament the decline of higher learning. Whether exuberant or depressed, their tone is rarely tempered. The authors’ demographics suggest why—they are generally at the twilight of their own academic careers, taking one last sh...

Distance Learning 2.0: It Will Take a Village

Last month, I suggested we separate hype from reality—not so much to criticize distance learning, but to seek an even higher ideal. Much of what is thrust under the umbrella of distance learning isn’t conducted at much distance, isn’t well supported and limits opportunities for institution-wide collaboration and innovation. Distance learning should be an exciting appeal, ra...

Distance Learning: Untried and Untrue

G. K. Chesterton famously once said: “Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried.” This, I believe, applies to distance learning as well. There is far too much self-congratulatory hyperbole about the growth and pervasiveness of online learning – which exaggerates reality and overlooks the true revolution occurring less visibly.Muc...

The Profit Prophets in Higher Education

The nation seems to have suddenly awoken to the reality that for-profit academic institutions are a force to be reckoned with. For so long, they have been ignored as inconsequential, second-rate competition, and vilified for their greed and lack of quality. Two events seemed to have changed their image into something far more formidable: the realization that government-sponsored financial aid goes...

Recession Amnesia and the Prospects for New England’s Institutions

Among the little truly predictable—or at least those rare things I’ve been able to successfully predict—I would suggest these three truths. First is the inevitability of recessions. Whether the result of human folly or business cycles, the economy will contract—probably about once every decade, give or take, and probably in direct proportion to the degree to which we liv...

Weird Science: Further Thoughts on the STEM Educational Challenge

He was bored and restless by age 42. He had vertically integrated a major media business, insofar as he owned his own publishing company, newspaper and book series, and even aspects of the postal system. He was an acclaimed author and civic leader. He decided to retire early to pursue his true passion and curiosity: his interest in science. His inquisitiveness in how things worked wasn’t the...

Buying Access to Ivy—A Way to Revive Harvard

Of the many, many articles written on Harvard University’s endowment woes, I have yet to read one actually sympathetic with Harvard. Perhaps this reflects our gleeful voyeurism when the high-and-mighty fall, or sense of justice that the reckless should pay for their recklessness, or belief that no university truly needs or deserves such a large nest egg, or perhaps the reality that, even aft...