UV Letters

Desirable Difficulty

Nov 3, 2017
We're losing too many great musicians. Last year it was David Bowie, Glenn Frey, and Prince. So far this year: Chuck Berry, Tom Petty, and Fats Domino. But in my home country of Canada, none of these greats hold a candle to a musician we lost last month, although...
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Money Changes Everything

Oct 20, 2017
It's going to take a lot more than football for colleges and universities to regain popularity. In fact, spending more on football will probably make the problem worse. What will it take?
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The Climate Is Changing For Free College

Oct 6, 2017
One of the most important lessons I learned in college is that labels matter a lot. Sophomore and junior year I dated a girl whose last name was Hong and who had the unfortunate habit of writing "HONG" with a black Sharpie in big block capital letters on literally everything she owned. Every book...
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Sim City

Sep 22, 2017
Last weekend I went on a long bike ride by the beach with my 11-year-old son Leo. As I was struggling to keep up, I passed a man lying in the grass next to the bike path pointing with both hands to his very yellow socks...
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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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