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AKA Review
March 1, 2024
At AKA, we closely follow trends and latest developments
in higher education and the nonprofit sector.

Here are some recent articles and reports that we found particularly informative.
From Cambridge University Press
By Nicholas B. Dirks
Chancellor of UC Berkeley for four turbulent years (2013-2017), Nicholas B. Dirks has written an insightful book that is at once a candid personal memoir of a distinguished academic’s rise to the peak of university leadership, the story of his controversial chancellorship, a thoughtful “genealogy” of higher education, and a perceptive analysis of the role and meaning of the university in a rapidly changing and highly conflicted world. It is an unusually important, stimulating, and discerning work. Read this book

From The Atlantic
By Christopher L. Eisgruber
“Efforts to grow and embrace diversity at America’s great universities have made them better than ever,” Princeton’s President writes, puncturing the myth that elite universities pursue diversity at the expense of scholarly excellence. This false dichotomy trades upon dewy-eyed nostalgia for days—imagined, not remembered—when “college campuses were serene oases ruled by gleaming books and honest inquiry,” unsullied by distractions from scholarly pursuits. “Perhaps they’ve never seen Animal House,” he muses.
From Slate
By Adam Kotsko
With a confluence of forces depriving students of the skills to read easily and engage meaningfully with books, the author worries about what has been taken from students who increasingly struggle with written texts. Little discussed but eminently addressable by educators are recent changes in reading pedagogy, most notably “teaching to the test” and the “balanced literary approach.” Prose is the best medium for capturing our world’s complexity. Preparing students to engage effectively with it is a matter of basic justice. Read this article
From Grist
By Tristan Ahtone, Robert Lee, An Garagiola, Audrianna Goodwin, Maria Parazo Rose, and Clayton Aldern
Like the Morrill Act, late 18th century legislation that established State Trust Lands expropriated the land of Indigenous people to be managed by states for the ongoing benefit of their land-grant universities. This exceptional piece of investigative reporting examines the reliance of some of the nation’s best-known institutions on trust lands of over 8.2 million acres taken from 123 different Indigenous nations and generating over $2.2 billion annually—a dependency that both contradicts these universities’ commitments to Indigenous peoples and threatens their climate commitments. Read this article
From The New York Times
By David Wallace-Wells
“Climatism” is the tendency to pin an array of social ills on global warming and downplay other causes. Looking at forest fires that today burn twice as widely as just 20 years ago, the author emphasizes the centrality of climate change to the debate over causes. He notes, however, that the unforeseen speed of the growing gap between the climate we anticipated and the climate we now confront requires that we also examine other causes, such as where people build homes and our historical overreliance on fire suppression.Read this article

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