Basic Intervention Can Help Students Lower Their Debt

To the Editors:

“Many Students Don’t Know What They’re Paying, or Borrowing, for College” (The Chronicle, December 10) detailed a recent report, “Are College Students Borrowing Blindly?,” by Elizabeth J. Akers and Matthew M. Chingos. The authors of the report conclude that a majority of students don’t realize how much they have borrowed and the long-term impact of that debt. Our work with students on this very issue in recent years has delivered many of us at Indiana University to the same…

Nessie Survey Indicates Mostly That Students Are at Colleges That Suit Their Level of Ability

To the Editor:

“Colleges’ Prestige Doesn’t Guarantee a Top-Flight Learning Experience,” (The Chronicle, November 28) is misleading in a number of ways. First, as your article points out, there is no common set of standards by which students from diverse colleges and universities can make judgments about the quality of teaching at their institutions, and there are no common standards with which to compare one college to another. The article shows that the freshman responses to the quality of teac…

NCTQ Report Ignores the Wide Variety of Approaches to Teacher Preparation

To the Editor:

I would like to introduce another layer of complexity to Donald E. Heller’s excellent critique in “‘Easy A’s’ Gets an F” (The Chronicle, December 11) of the National Council on Teacher Quality’s recent report on the lax grading standards of teacher-preparation programs. In many states, including California, where I am a teacher-education professor, teacher-preparation programs are standards-based: In this model, the administrative body responsible for teacher licensure sets perf…

Truly a ‘Missing Chapter’?

To the Editor:

I’ve now had a chance to read “Saskia Sassen’s Missing Chapter,” (The Chronicle Review, December 12) by Marc Parry, which refers to my relation to my father, Willem Sassen, who became a Nazi in World War II, and thereafter connected with Adolf Eichmann in Argentina. I have never denied this nor tried to hide it.

Since Hannah Arendt’s Eichmann in Jerusalem (1963) put the relations between the two men into the public realm, I have been over the years asked about them, and about my o…

Campus Watch’s Mission Was Mischaracterized

To the Editor:

An otherwise balanced article, “Middle East Studies Association Fights a Rising Tide of Critics” mischaracterizes Campus Watch’s mission (The Chronicle, November 21).

Describing a panel convened at the annual meeting of the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) to discuss the controversy surrounding Steven Salaita, who was denied a position at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign following the revelation of his vitriolic, anti-Semitic tweets, The Chronicle writes:

Campus W…

The NCAA Should Punish Excessive Celebrating

To the Editors:

It’s time the National Collegiate Athletic Association passed sweeping regulation concerning excessive celebrating of athletes participating in competition. It’s that simple. The practice of individual players dancing in celebratory bliss after made touchdowns, tackles, and interceptions in football or made baskets in basketball, for example, is poor sportsmanship and an embarrassment to the individual, his or her institution, and the sport as well as a poor role modeling for…

To Reduce Binge Drinking, Lower the Drinking Age

You are undoubtedly correct when you say “[D]espite decades of research, hundreds of campus task forces, and millions invested in bold experiments, college drinking remains as much of a problem as ever…. More students now drink to get drunk, choose hard liquor over beer, and front-load, or drink in advance of social events. For many the goal is to black out.” (“Why Colleges Haven’t Stopped Binge Drinking,” The Chronicle, December 2.)

To blame college administrators for the fact that the binge dr…

Good Science for the American Taxpayer

To the Editor:

A hallmark of a great university is an active, engaged board of trustees that asks tough questions and holds university leadership accountable for meeting the highest standards. So I was surprised that the leaders of the Association of American Universities recently registered concern about similar oversight efforts by the House Science Committee, which I chair, involving requests for information from the National Science Foundation.

The committee’s request for information is simp…

Characterization of New Yorkers Was a Compliment

To the Editor:

Gerald Howard (letters, October 23) mistakenly thinks I was trying to “brand” New York “as the world capital of jerkdom.”  Far from it.  Not pulling punches, and telling it like it is, are virtues, not vices, especially in an environment like academia where most are scared of their own shadows and where polite dissembling is the norm.

Brian Leiter
Karl N. Llewellyn Professor of Jurisprudence
Director, Center for Law, Philosophy & Human Values
University of Chicago

‘Learning Outcomes’ Are an Embarrassment to Higher Education

To the Editor:

It is absolutely stunning to me that anyone could find anything appealing in Augustana College’s approach to learning, detailed in “Now, Everything Has a Learning Outcome” (The Chronicle, November 10). If the goal is a “true coming of age experience,” as Augustana’s president claims, then perhaps students should learn to act and be on their own, independent of guidance from a set of infantilizing categories of competency. “Learning outcomes” have no place in teaching any subject, …