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Should We Require All Students to Take Philosophy?

In July 2018, I published an essay in The Chronicle of Higher Education titled “Why We Should Require All Students to Take 2 Philosophy Courses,” in which I contended that all college students should be required to take two courses in philosophy—one during their freshman year, the second during their last year of college. This requirement would […]

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High School Writing: The Return of the Repressed

In my most recent blog, I reflected on my decidedly incomplete memories of my early life. In particular, I had believed that my intellectual life had in essence begun when, in the fall of 1961 at the age of 18, I had become a freshman at Harvard College. But in going through recently discovered old […]

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A Requiem for “Soc Rel”: Here’s to Synthesizing Social Science

As both an undergraduate at Harvard College in the early 1960s, and as a doctoral student at the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in the late 1960s, I studied in a field called “Social Relations”—universally shortened to “Soc Rel” (and pronounced “Sock Rell”). Right after I received my degree in 1971, the field […]

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Two Departures from the Professoriate: A World Apart

Matt Welsh was a highly talented assistant professor of computer science at Harvard University. Like some but by no means all junior professors, he was approved to become a full time, tenured professor—indeed, he was the occupant of a named chair “The Gordon McKay Professor of Computer Science.” Just months after receiving tenure, Welsh resigned […]

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“Why Are You Doing That Research?”

I am often asked about how I became interested in a certain line of research. Recently, people have asked me why, at the age of 70, I embarked on a very large empirical study of higher education in the United States. One answer: I’ve always been interested in education. As a young child, I thought […]

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