Tag Archives: Wake Forest University

Conference Realignment? How About a Southern Ivy League?

College athletics realignment is under way. Superconferences! TV deals! Megadollars! Academics, traditions, and any pretense at ethics be damned.

But I’ll leave the preaching for another day.

The question facing lots of schools – those without rich fanbases and lucrative media markets – is what now? Among those almost certain to be left behind is my alma mater, Wake Forest University, a small private school that’s one of the nation’s elite academic institutions. It’s also a founding member of the Atlantic Coast Conference, which in recent days has moved from “endangered” to “on life support.” If the SEC and Big 10 do what I expect them to, five, six or more of the valuable properties will be gone and the league, as we have known it, will be history.

And it’s hard to imagine a scenario where schools like Wake are invited to the party. (Vanderbilt may hang on in the SEC and Northwestern in the B1G because they’re already members.)

wake forest pro humanitate

I don’t care if Wake isn’t part of a crime cartel top-tier athletic conference. What I care about is what I said above: elite academic institution. I’ve said for years I’d be fine if the Deacons dropped to Div 3, but as I think about the coming landscape an idea emerges: what if a “Southern Ivy League” were established? There are schools to build around.

Wake Forest is obvious. If they decided The Show wasn’t for them, Vandy (the Wake Forest of Tennessee) would be a natural. Also Rice, which was pitched to the side when the Southwest Conference folded. Tulane is a top-50 national U with a solid mid-major profile.

William & Mary is a fantastic school that’s established at the FCS level. Who else might you think about? Davidson? Emory is D3 but certainly has the academic profile. And you’re not playing by big-time NCAA rules anymore.

Yeah, “Ivy” is a bit much for any kind of public talk or branding, but it’s a fine idea as an aspiration and organizing principle. I’d be honored to be part of an organization like this. I’m certain not all my fellow Deacs will agree, but being part of the NFL’s minor league system … there’s not much appeal in it.

Wake Forest students and alumni are correct in challenging university commencement speaker selection

Some recent graduates of my alma mater, Wake Forest University, are up in arms over this year’s commencement speaker, former DISH Network chairman Charlie Ergen. They penned what struck me as a thoughtful, well-considered letter to university president Dr. Nathan Hatch, in which they chastised him for a pattern of pandering to business interests to the exclusion of those who have made their marks in other fields.

The May 23 letter, published in the May 29 issues of the Old Gold & Black, takes a passing shot at Ergen’s speech (“riddled with clichés and reductive statements, as well as addressed primarily to his graduating daughter, rather than the class of a thousand newly-minted alumni”), but quickly moves on to the substance of their objection. Noting that the last three commencement speakers have hailed from the business world, the alums write that: Read more

Is a GED better than a PhD?

I come from a family background that was conflicted on the question of education. On the one hand, my grandparents (who raised me from the time I was three) realized that whatever hope I was to have of a better life than they’d had hinged on school. As such, there was never a moment in my life, once I was old enough to grasp the concept of what school was, when I didn’t simply assume that I’d go to college.

Growing up, I understood that learning came first. My grandmother taught me to read when I was four, and by the time I entered first grade I was reading on the fourth grade level, at least. My grandfather taught me math, and when I was five I could do fairly complicated problem strings that included long division. If there was homework to do, that came before play, and it was made clear that if my grades ever slipped, I wouldn’t be allowed to play sports at all. If I made an A they were happy. If I made an A- they were rather pointed in wanting to know what had gone wrong. Bs were unacceptable, and if I’d made a C I simply wouldn’t have gone home. Read more

Educating the 21st Century cyberstudent…or not?

Don Tapscott has some radical new ideas about education. Here’s a sampling (as related by ReadWriteWeb):

  • “…the age of learning through the memorization of facts and figures is coming to an end. Instead, students should be taught to think creatively and better understand the knowledge that’s available online.”
  • “…Google, Wikipedia, and other online libraries means that rote memorization is no longer a necessary part of education.”
  • “Teachers are no longer the fountain of knowledge; the internet is…”
  • “Kids should learn about history to understand the world and why things are the way they are. But they don’t need to know all the dates. It is enough that they know about the Battle of Hastings, without having to memorize that it was in 1066. They can look that up and position it in history with a click on Google.”

(These last two are quotes directly from Tapscott, by the way, and I need to go pick up this book. It seems awfully interesting – but for now the RWW report will have to do.)

That one item – “Teachers are no longer the fountain of knowledge; the internet is…” – is among the most terrifying concepts I’ve ever run across, by the way. Read more

Progressive capitalism: Tocqueville, RJ Reynolds, and taking back our American birthright

This is a song Charles Manson stole from the Beatles. We’re stealing it back. – Bono

Business issues have been much on my mind of late, and not just for the obvious reasons. Gavin (Whythawk) has pounded this space with a steady stream of posts that come at us from some really different angles. The S&R crew is largely American and progressive, but he’s African and Libertarian. Unlike many Libs I know, though, he’s not a creature of pure theory – he gets his hands dirty trying to drive investment at the bottom of the food chain in a place where the bottom is about as low as it gets on Spaceship Earth.

The result, for me at least, is that I find myself thinking about how years of fat cat scandal and abuse here in America has worked to make “capitalism” a dirty word among folks to left of center. Read more