(Quin Hillyer, Liberty Headlines) With conservatives increasingly criticizing college campuses for promoting too much intellectual “safety” (read: liberal groupthink) at the expense of open-minded willingness to consider a diversity of opinions, several recent essays may give them hope that at least some university administrators are tired of churning out over-sensitive “snowflakes.”
The new approaches conducive to pre-snowflake values don’t all come from the right, either. Liberal Franklin & Marshall College president Dan Porterfield joined this week with moderate former Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman (an F&M graduate and board member) to tout that college’s new program to promote “grit” in academia.
“Once secured by degrees, professional success in the future will increasingly depend on coping and adapting to disruption: intellectual agility, determination, self-reliance, emotional intelligence, and the ability to innovate,” they wrote.
Their new project aims to find and encourage students who demonstrate a “blend of passion, persistence, and optimism” that signals “grit,” and to inculcate a “’growth mindset’ in high achievers that embraces challenges rather than fearing failure.”
Other colleges also employ modern tools to seek students not just based on some pre-determined checklist, but with an emphasis on which ones are likely to succeed in the real world. As The Atlantic reports, more than 50 colleges now use a type of software to match students with the schools most likely to best fit their individual interests and talents. Plenty of other colleges make similar efforts with different software.
The Wisconsin Policy Research Institute, a free-market-oriented think tank, goes further, suggesting the “what succeeds” approach should start with student preparation before college. It does no good, wrote researchers Ike Brannon and Mike Nichols, to push kids into colleges only to see them drop out or otherwise fail. If colleges are financially rewarded for producing better outcomes and penalized for failing to do so….
(The rest of this interesting roundup of material is at this link.)