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The Remarkable von Humboldt Brothers

Throughout much of the 19th century, the von Humboldt brothers were among the most famous persons in the world—celebrities before that term was bandied about. Alexander (1769-1859) was known for his pioneering five-year trip as a naturalist to Latin America and for his synthesizing writings, chief among them his multi-volume Cosmos. His older brother Wilhelm (1767-1835) was renowned for […]

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Learning in a New Key

I am probably fairly typical. I remember my freshman year in college—and indeed the first weeks of my freshman year—more vividly than comparable later (or earlier) periods of my education. I remember each of my classes, the teachers, the classmates, the setting, and even some of the lessons and readings. Psychologists call this “the primacy […]

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Positive Transformations: A Key Goal of Education

Along with such phrases as “leadership qualities” and “critical and creative thinking,” the term “transformation” is often invoked in discussions of the possible and of the positive effects of higher education. I’ve been known to utter and to type this buzzword as well. By definition, most experiences cannot be transformative. The vast majority of our […]

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Reinvigorating the Culture of Service in College

This week, I am delighted to post a piece by my long-time colleague Wendy Fischman. Wendy is a researcher at Project Zero and the project director of a major national study of higher education in the United States today. It’s been my privilege to work closely with Wendy over two decades on a number of […]

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Activating One’s Voice… Always a Plus?

I was speaking to the long-serving superintendent of a school district in California, one that primarily serves Hispanic students. Superintendent Murphy (as I’ll call him) spoke proudly about one of his high school graduates—a star football player, who had gone on to Princeton University, the first in his family to attend college. When Jorge (as […]

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