What I'm Reading, April 30
Saturday, April 30, 2016
For this month's "What I'm Reading," I share articles about Pittsburgh's future, the defending NBA champions, why the media doesn't always get higher education right, and the trouble with "smartness."
“Are Colleges Too Obsessed with Smartness?”
The Chronicle of Higher Education interviewed UCLA Professor Emeritus Alexander Astin about his provocative new book Are You Smart Enough? How Colleges’ Obsession with Smartness Shortchanges Students. I met Professor Astin a few years ago and am a fan of his work, especially his research on freshmen. The "value-add" argument he espouses resonates with my own philosophy about education on many levels. Wendy Beckemeyer, vice president for enrollment management at RMU, put it nicely: Robert Morris wants to develop students, not just acquire them.
“What Happened When Venture Capitalists Took Over the Golden State Warriors”
How did the Golden State Warriors go from one of the sorriest franchises in the NBA to one of the hottest, in a just a few short years? This insightful New York Times Magazine article demonstrates how the team’s new ownership group applied the lessons it learned running companies in Silicon Valley to transform the Warriors into a championship organization. I would take being called “the Google of the NBA” every day and twice on Tuesday!
“Shut Up About Harvard”
Harvard grads (of which I’m one) need not take that headline personally. This FiveThiryEight essay takes to task the national news media for dwelling on the issues faced by elite universities and their students, which are often far different than the challenges faced by the institutions that actually educate a majority of American college students. Writer Ben Casselman also criticizes how the media’s portrayal of life at college hinges on tired stereotypes that also don’t reflect what life is really like for today’s college students, reporting that less than one-third of those students attend a residential college full-time.
“Pulling Pittsburgh into the Future”
Fred Theiman, president of the Buhl Foundation in Pittsburgh, calls for the Pittsburgh’s philanthropic community – which has played such a pivotal role in revitalizing the region – to shift from managing decline to fueling transformation. He asks foundation peers and a broad swath of the region’s leaders to join him in working toward a shared vision, and personally, I’m all in. One of the many things that drew me to Pittsburgh was how the nonprofits, the private sector, and government have worked together to reinvent the former Steel City. It’s no coincidence that many of the people who have helped to lead these efforts have an RMU diploma hanging on their wall.