UV Letters

Do the Right Thing

Aug 29, 2014
Higher education is about more than learning a subject and gaining the skills required to become gainfully employed. Judging from recent media coverage, it's also about football and basketball. More important, it's about learning to do the right thing. In college, I...
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Abominable Snowjob

Aug 15, 2014
Growing up in Toronto in the 1980s, if I thought about university at all, it was about the relative merits of London, Ontario (Western University) versus Kingston, Ontario (Queen's University). There was no question about going to University of Toronto. That was for losers who wanted...
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Bono Goes AWOL

Aug 1, 2014
It seems like U2 has been on top of the world of pop music forever. But in the early 1980s U2 was just another Irish rock band. Sure, they were more popular than The Pogues, but not yet a different genus let alone...
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Hot Dog Eating Contest

Jul 18, 2014
On the 4th of July I turned on my living room TV in search of the France-Germany World Cup quarter final. To my surprise, Wimbledon was on ESPN while ESPN2 was showing a...
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Smell Like a Scholar

Jul 3, 2014
In 2010 Old Spice was a brand in need of reinvigoration. After years of sales declines, Proctor & Gamble gambled on a new campaign for the 70+ year-old brand that most consumers identified as something their grandfather used. Maintaining Old Spice's traditional seafaring...
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Van Halen University

Jun 20, 2014
In the early 1980s as video began killing the radio star, the paradigm of male licentiousness was Van Halen lead singer David Lee Roth. Known for his spandex pants, mesh tops and scarves, heavy eyeliner and long, flowing blonde hair, Roth combined the fashion sense of glam rock with the aggressive heterosexuality of heavy...
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Not Invented Here

Jun 6, 2014
Most transformative ideas in higher education already exist. The hard part is not the idea, but rather selection and execution. Of the many ironies in American higher education, one of my favorites is its combination of isomorphism - the tendency for universities to have identical missions and strategies, largely driven by college rankings - and "not...
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Getting Religion

May 23, 2014
One of my family's favorite restaurants is a neighborhood Italian place that can best be described as cheesy. My kids love it because they get to watch the chef make pizza. I love it because the kids are occupied and because my favorite poster hangs in the men's room. The poster is called the "Pope Chart" and, according to Amazon (where it is currently out-of-stock) "features...
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The Great Online Course Debate: Janet Napolitano, Rick Levin and Guy Smiley

May 9, 2014
In recent weeks we've seen contradictory pronouncements on the role of online courses in higher education from one of higher education's longest-tenured leaders and one of its newest. Rick Levin, President of Yale for 20 years and the new CEO of Coursera, the leading provider of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), has conducted a range of interviews in which he's stated his belief that online courses will address the fundamental...
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Learning from Silicon Valley: Education-as-a-Service (EaaS)

Apr 25, 2014
In "Silicon Valley" venture capitalist Peter Gregory hates college so much that the best strategy for getting him to hear the pitch for your startup is telling him you'll re-enroll if he doesn't listen.

The startups that the real Peter Gregory (AKA Peter Thiel) is backing in the real Silicon Valley are Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) companies. If you're not intimate with SaaS, the exemplar is...
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