Voting Guide: A Platform-Based Approach

In our political system, deciding who you should vote for is pretty simple: 1) read the Platform for both major political parties, 2) consider whose priorities and policies you agree with most, and 3) vote for the candidates from that party. But few voters ever read the platforms. Instead they base their decisions on the […]

Please Remain Seated

Next week four thousand ISU students wearing long gowns and funny hats will walk across a stage and receive an empty red diploma cover in a ritual marking the end of a successful college career.  The mood at the various commencement ceremonies on campus is festive.  At the one I participate in each year as […]

“Hooking Up” on College Campuses

Here’s an alarming look at the “romantic” norms of contemporary college life.  Lisa Wade, sociologist at Occidental College, has done extensive research into the unspoken but powerful rules that govern the culture of casual sex on college campuses.  She is the guest on this episode of the “Hidden Brain” podcast.

Paying the Price: How the High Cost of College Impacts Students and Families

Here’s an episode from the “No Jargon” podcast that discusses the difficulty many students are having paying for their college education and how this impacts them and their families.  It also grapples with the prospects of realizing the American Dream when the surest path to upward mobility is prohibitively expensive. The guest on this episode […]

A Punch to the Gut

$100 Million for two boxers to pummel each other for our amusement.  Somehow the same system cannot find the money to provide fresh fruit to needy kids before school, or funds to hire more teachers to teach them, or a living wage for the janitors who clean up after them at the end of the […]

Scientist Sees Need for Critical Thinkers

“We are drowning in information, while starving for wisdom. The world henceforth will be run by synthesizers, people able to put together the right information at the right time, think critically about it, and make important choices wisely.” ― Edward O. Wilson

The Secret to Happiness…and Good Grades

  A while back I was listening to the Ted Radio Hour.  The guest was Harvard psychologist, Dan Gilbert, an expert on happiness.  He wrote a widely-read book, Stumbling On Happiness, and was describing a common experience he has after people find out about his research: they want to know the secret to happiness.  Listen […]

What is the Purpose of a College Education?

Here is a statement lifted from the Harvard University website which beautifully captures the larger goal of a college education — and not just for those lucky enough to go to Harvard. It has since been removed from the site but it remains a forceful and articulate defense of the liberal arts and a vision […]

The Overprotected Kid

I’ve recommended this article repeatedly over the last six months — most recently today to my Introductory Sociology class.  So, I’m taking that as a sign that I should spread the word more widely. The piece is from The Atlantic and covers a range of issues related to contemporary norms of hovering over our children […]