On Topic

Closing the gender gap in science

How university leaders can help level the playing field

A March report commissioned by the cosmetics company L’Oréal focused on the disproportionate role of women in science. In a nation that prides itself on scientific achievement, the report reveals, less than a third of women actually enter the field, and even fewer graduate and go on to careers.

Sexual assaults on campus: Journalist talks about “frustrating search for justice”

Kristen Lombardi, lead journalist on landmark sex assault report, says she's startled to see “statistics that haven’t changed in decades”
In January, President Obama launched the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault to help colleges and universities combat what he called “the prevalence of rape and sexual assault at our nation’s institutions of higher education.” The announcement came as a growing number of young women have filed federal complaints against colleges around the country over the mishandling of sexual assault cases.

Unintended consequences: The rise—and fall—of adjuncts in higher education

Adjunct faculty have long played a supporting role in higher education. These often overqualified professors work long hours for comparatively little pay, on the hope that it might lead to a full-time position. But somewhere along the way, the situation changed.

Changing college admissions to reflect motivation and ambition

Bard College President Leon Botstein says the higher education admission process is flawed

Bard College in New York made news last fall when President Leon Botstein announced that prospective students would no longer be required to submit their grades, SAT or ACT scores, teacher recommendations or the typical personal essay. Instead they will now be able to apply to Bard by writing four analytic papers—10,000 words total—chosen from a variety of weighty, thought-provoking topics.

Fostering a college-going culture against the odds

South Texas College's eSTC Campus is a totally self-contained campus where students do everything online

As the founding president of South Texas College, Shirley Reed has had her share of challenges in an area of high poverty with many families, recently immigrated from Mexico, who might only dream of sending a child to college.

Since 1993, Reed and STC have made tremendous inroads on changing that.“The students I see are all motivated, hungry for a better life. More than 70 percent of our students are the first in their families to attend college, meaning they don’t know exactly how to attend college at first, but they know it’s the path to a better future,” she says.

A former online learning skeptic tells why he’s changed his thinking

Former Princeton President William G. Bowen helping academic community use digital technology

William G. Bowen is a name familiar to anyone who works in higher education today. Bowen was president of Princeton University from 1972 to 1988, and president emeritus of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, where he served for nearly 20 years.

Robert Zemsky makes case for big higher ed changes

New book looks at breaking the roadblocks to real change in higher education

Open any newspaper these days and you’ll see variations on the same critiques of higher education we’ve heard for years: spiraling costs, unequal access, ineffective teaching, and so on. And you’ll hear politicians demand greater accountability, while they threaten greater funding cuts. Yet little ever changes.

Former Barnard president stresses importance of liberal arts

A Q&A with Judith Shapiro.

Judith Shapiro, former president and professor of anthropology at Barnard College in New York City from 1994 to 2008, had been “happily retired” before assuming the leadership role at the Teagle Foundation in July. The New York-based foundation’s grant-making is focused on improving undergraduate student learning in the arts and sciences.

Stephen Trachtenberg's book offers advice to higher ed leadership

"Presidencies Derailed" examines relationships between presidents and boards of trustees

Not too long ago, the average tenure of a college or university president was 8.5 years, but with the increasing demands of the job, it’s no surprise that number is shrinking. A new book called Presidencies Derailed: Why University Leaders Fail and How to Prevent It (Johns Hopkins, 2013) sheds light on the often acrimonious problems that develop among a president, the board, and the institution.

On Topic: Wesleyan President Michael Roth leads way in online teaching

With more than 3,000 students, Connecticut’s Wesleyan University is not your typical liberal arts college. Its larger size allows for research institution-level courses, where students work directly with high profile scholars, while the intimacy of a liberal arts college is preserved. But, as President Michael Roth says, there was still a desire to “expand the university without creating brick-and-mortar campuses.” Online education seemed to be the answer, but how to do it remained the question.