Here is the one-stop shop for the entire shelf of Historically Thinking conversations about higher education. Though we say it ourselves, it’s a fantastic research for new or prospective college students and their parents; as well as faculty members whose goal it is to Change Things.
Episode 8: Why Majoring in the Liberal Arts is Not a Career Killer As professors of history know all too well, it’s often thought that majoring in history (or literature, religion, philosophy…any of the liberal arts) is an automatic career killer. But the numbers don’t support that view. Mike Edmondson explains why majoring in the liberal arts won’t leave you only with the option of serving fast food, and how you need to think of the four years of college beyond simply majoring in something.
Episode 17: Hard Questions to Ask Admissions Officers All too often prospective students and their parents have no idea what to ask an admissions officers or a tour guide. Worse, often times they ask questions whose answers do not provide valuable information. Mark Salisbury suggests some questions that will make admissions officers break into a sweat, or at the very least have to think. Even better, they will tell you something important about the college you’re visiting.
Episode 28: The First Three Weeks of College Mark Salisbury explains why the first three weeks of an undergraduate’s college career might be the most important; how they should make the most of them; and what a professor can do to help.
Episode 55: Shooting Down Helicopter Parents You probably know who you are, and if you do, you should come in for a landing. Why? Because while you love your kid you are often ignorant of what they should be doing in college, and that’s a problem. Mike Edmondson explains why in a conversation about his book Major in Happiness: Debunking the College Major Fallacies.
Episode 56: How College Works Authors Daniel Chambliss and Chris Takacs do what the title of the book promises. In the conversation, Chambliss offers a sociological perspective on college that sometimes confirms prejudice and yet baffles it; approves of common sense observations, but also undermines them.
Episode 69: The Purpose-Driven Undergraduate Tim Clydesdale discusses in his book The Purposeful Undergraduate how a deliberate attempt to talk about the purpose of human life improves the academic and social life of students while in college, improves the subsequent lives of college students, and also makes colleges more pleasant places to work in for both faculty and staff.
Episode 86: The Achievement Culture Probably one of the most important conversations I’ve had on the podcast. It’s about how many undergraduates are obsessed with personal achievement, and where that obsession takes them. As you’ll hear, Dr. Joseph Davis believes that anxiety is the natural result of a world in which everything seems to be possible.
Episode 97: The College Tuition Problem As my guest today Mark Salisbury says, college tuition is like the price of a car–it’s not really the actual price, just the beginning of the negotiation. Yet, to continue that metaphor, sometimes it’s like going to a Buick dealer and finding that everything is priced like a Porsche. When last heard on the podcast, Mark was Vice President of Institutional Research at Augustana College. Now he’s broken free of the surly bonds of academia and established his own enterprise, TuitionFit, which is designed to crowd-source information regarding tuition to create a catalog of the prices actually offered to students by colleges.
Episode 108: Kelley Dean Jolley on Rebuilding a Humanities Program Auburn University has a really great undergraduate philosophy program. One reason is Kelly Jolley, who as an assistant professor decided that he wanted more and better students, and set about doing everything he could to get them. Great advice for the would-be educational reformer, and also a conversation about what college is for.
Episode 111: Alternative Universities, or, Thinking Way Outside the Academic Box We live in an era of remarkable stasis in the types and forms of colleges and universities. Dr. David Staley has a few “crazy” ideas about how to shake things up, and create institutions that are both interesting and useful.
Episode 126: Applying to College, or, How to Both Get In and Keep the Family Together Brennan Barnard is the director of college counseling at the Derryfield School and US Performance Academy. Rick Clark is the director of undergraduate admission at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Their outstanding book The Truth About College Admission offers just what the title promises.
Episode 128: Unbundling and Rebundling, or, Making College Integrated Again Dean Chris Gallagher of Northeastern University argues in College Made Whole that colleges are far too dis-integrated, and offers practical suggestions for how interested faculty might begin re-integrating them.
Episode 130: What’s the Point of College, or, Abolish the Business Major Dr. Johann Neem discusses his book What’s the Point of College?, an argument for college being a place of reflection and discussion rather than a center for training.