UV Letters

College And The War On Expertise

Sep 8, 2017
Last week I took my three boys on an end-of-summer trip to Yosemite and rediscovered that when you're together non-stop, you really get to know what fun and quirky people your kids are becoming. For instance, my youngest, six-year-old Zev, often seems lost in the world. He's easily confused about days of the week and the time of...
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Generation iPhone Hits College

Aug 25, 2017
One of the best comedy sketches about higher education is a Saturday Night Live gem from 1984 about Winston University. In the sketch, Billy Crystal plays an admissions officer visiting a high school class. While the teacher is in the room, the pitch is plain vanilla to the point of boredom: "This is the science...
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Born On Third Base, Thinks He Hit A Triple: The Problem With College Admissions

Aug 11, 2017
When America's elite universities encounter a challenge, there's a proud tradition of establishing a seemingly judicious, impartial process - but one with rules that actually pre-determine winners.
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Forget Connecticut

Jul 28, 2017
My 11-year-old son Leo has a strange new obsession: the state of Connecticut. It started with a school project but has evolved to ordering Connecticut license plates online, a new favorite baseball team (the minor league Hartford Yard Goats...
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One And Done

Jul 14, 2017
Most great comedies are premised on a major problem that the heroes try to solve. In The Blues Brothers, Jake and Elwood must raise enough money to save the orphanage where they were raised. Airplane requires an Air Force veteran who's sworn off flying to land a 747. Typically, the problem reflects...
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"Country Club" Hiring: It's An American Thing

Jun 30, 2017
At the end of college, I had a final interview for a job with a national consulting firm that had reserved guest rooms at a country club near campus. The rooms were tiny and - unfathomably - had no chairs. So, in the most awkward half-hour of my nascent professional life, both the interviewer and I sat uncomfortably...
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Employment Anxiety

Jun 16, 2017
I got my first real job at the age of 15, as a bus boy at Oliver's Bakery Restaurant, one of Toronto's busiest brunch spots. I have so many intense Proustian memories from the strong smells (fresh-baked rolls) and tastes...
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Out Of Control

Jun 2, 2017
Last month Purdue University captured the attention of the higher education universe by announcing it would acquire for-profit Kaplan University. One of the most interesting but overlooked elements of the story - aside from gratuitous ad hominem attacks - was the reaction...
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The Screen Is The Subject

May 19, 2017
Throughout my childhood, David Letterman was a spectral gap-toothed presence. As my bedtime was long before Late Night with David Letterman aired on NBC at 12:30 a.m., I had only a vague sense of his antics like tossing watermelons off New York buildings. In the pre-DVR era, actual glimpses...
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Real Genius

May 5, 2017
My favorite movie about education isn't The Paper Chase or High School High or even Larry Crowne, Tom Hanks' love letter to the California Community Colleges System, but rather Real Genius. A 1985 film about a group of prodigy misfits...
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