The news that the Trump administration may use the U.S. Justice Department’s front office to investigate the use of affirmative action in colleges and universities demonstrates the challenge of clear and accurate communication regarding this hot-button subject. When a simple idea clashes with one that is complicated and nuanced, often the truth loses out.
Lisa and I had the privilege of leading communications during the University of Michigan’s defense of affirmative action at the Supreme Court. Read the rest of our essay in today’s Inside Higher Education.
William Bowen and Michael McPherson’s recent essay in Vox is a feisty and frank challenge to the negative hype about higher ed that seems so prevalent today.
“Commentators, politicians and journalists have thrown themselves—and, in turn, the public—into a state of persistent panic about the future of higher education with scary talk about spiraling student-load debt, worthless degrees, and reckless spending by colleges. But the doomsday is overblown.”
This piece is not just well considered and well written, it is one of the clearest explanations I have yet seen about some of the real challenges facing higher education versus the sensationalized and sometimes inaccurate public dialogue often fueled by media and politicians. Continue reading →
Effort counts twice. So says MacArthur Fellow and psychology professor Angela Duckworth in her thoughtful book called Grit. Duckworth studies what it takes to be successful and argues that passion and perseverance – not talent alone, or even primarily – are the critical factors in determining success: whether you are a new candidate at West Point, a scholar, a writer, a potter or a CEO.
“When you consider individuals in identical circumstances, what each achieves depends on just two things, talent and effort. Talent – how fast we improve in skill – absolutely matters. But effort factors into the calculation twice, not once. Effort builds skill. At the very same time, effort makes skill productive.” Continue reading →