Please Remain Seated

Here’s a guest column I wrote for our university newspaper about a troubling trend we are seeing on campus recently: graduates leaving their own commencement ceremony before it’s over. I’d love to hear from others about what they think and whether this is happening on other campuses too…   Next week four thousand ISU students […]

Racial Bias and Police Shootings: “The Mind of the Village”

Here is an episode from The Hidden Brain, of one of my favorite radio programs that uses social science and storytelling to explain the hidden patterns behind our behavior and beliefs (it’s also a podcast). In this segment the host explores the role unconscious racial bias might play in recent police shootings of unarmed black […]

“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 […]

Why Do Men Catcall?

Here is a link to an episode of “This American Life” I heard recently that explores the phenomenon of guys catcalling women.  If you’ve ever wondered why some dudes whistle, shout at or even grab women they don’t know, give it a listen.  It’s both fascinating and a little disturbing especially in the context of […]

The Secret to Happiness…and Good Grades

  Awhile back I was listening to the Ted Radio Hour.  The guest was a 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 him to tell them the secret to […]

This is How Power Works: A Primer and Illustration

To my students who are inspiring me, Summarizing power in 1000 words is nearly impossible; to apply this analysis in the same 1000 words is a fantasy. But, my students are engaged in social change and don’t have time for long-winded academic treatments; they need understanding that will be helpful to them right now.   Thus, […]

The half-million dollar question

Here is a link to a guest column I wrote for our campus newspaper.  It deals with, among other things, the way that powerful actors are able to insulate themselves from accountability.  In this case the Illinois State University Board of Trustees paid a half-million dollars to its 18th president following his resignation after only […]

Ten Things You Should Know About College

I’m currently writing a book that examines the disconnect between popular beliefs about what a four-year college education is all about and what it actually means.  My goal is to help close this “college knowledge gap” so that students can get the most from their education.