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, …

Kaplan’s Open College Is a ‘First-Rate Resource’ for Self-Driven Students

To the Editor:

Janet Kramer’s letter, “How Will Kaplan Evaluate Open College Students’ ‘Prior Experience’?” (The Chronicle, October 8) raises some important questions about the assessment of prior learning, academic advising, and related subjects. Having worked in the arena of adult lifelong learning for over 40 years, I am happy to respond.

As a former president of both a community college (Community College of Vermont) and state university (California State University-Monterey Bay), I have bee…

Alternative to Common App Should Not Be Limited to Elite Colleges

To the Editor:

In “Elite Colleges Explore Alternative to Common App” (The Chronicle, October 31), you describe how admissions officers at some of the most selective colleges are hoping to create a new online college-application system. While this new system would provide an alternative to the Common Application, which currently dominates the online application scene, it would only include select institutions, including private colleges that meet full demonstrated financial need for domestic stud…

UNC Should Lose Its Accreditation

To the Editor:

“Widespread Nature of Chapel Hill’s Academic Fraud is Laid Bare” (The Chronicle, October 24) does a fantastic job of explaining the scandal that has enveloped the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in recent weeks. However, I think that the conversation has not focused enough on how deeply this issue strikes to the core of higher education. In a recent statement on the Chapel Hill website, the chancellor, Carol Folt, said that the university had never been defined by a …

Standardized Assessment Is Harmful to the Spirit of Higher Education

To the Editor:

“Is college worth it?” has become a pressing question, and as the price of tuition goes up, students find their degree holding less value. It has become increasingly important for staff and faculty to promote the student experience. Yet organizations outside of the frontlines, or college campus, have decided their financial investment is more important than a student’s holistic development.

In “Higher-Ed Reform or Drinking Game? You Decide,” (The Chronicle, October 20) Steven Ward…

Thanks for Shedding a Light on What Consultants Do

To the Editor:

For as long as I have been associated with institutions of higher education (as a student and professional), the idea of hiring outside consultants to “fix” universities has never made sense to me. However, after reading “Tough Times for Colleges Mean Boom Times for Higher-Ed’s Hired Guns” (The Chronicle, November 4), I finally understood why consultants are used and what they can actually help with. Consultants can be financially smart investments, can bring a fresh set of eyes t…

SUNY-Canton Knows About Superheroes Running a University

To the Editor:

I recently read your article “Which Marvel Superhero Could Run a University?” (The Chronicle, October 30) and want to tell you that SUNY-Canton is way ahead of The Chronicle on this idea.

Each year for advising week, we come up with a theme to encourage students to participate in the advising process. This year, the theme was superheroes—with the catchlines “Even a superhero needs to register for classes” and “Be Your Own Superhero! Make an appointment to see your Academic…

We Shouldn’t Rely So Heavily on NCAA’s Measures of Student Success

To the Editor:

My first question when reading “NCAA’s Graduation Rates Don’t Necessarily Prove Success” (The Chronicle, October 27) was, “Why do we rely so heavily on the NCAA’s indefinite measure for student athlete graduation rates?”  The author’s own skepticism about the accuracy of the NCAA’s reports is evident in his article with words such as “attempt,” “manipulated,” and “misrepresented.”  The NCAA has been making a big push for academic reform for its participating members…

No, This Is How an Academic Boycott of Israel Actually Works

To the Editor:

Addressing a critical issue for all, the article, “How Does an Academic Boycott of Israel Actually Work?” (The Chronicle, October 23) unfortunately blurs many key issues, rather than lending them clarity. As I have only a limited space to correct the record, I confine my remarks to the most serious errors and invite the reader to email me for my full response.

First, the article states that there is “no step-by-step guide on how to carry out a boycott.”  This is simply not tr…