Putting the Ivory Tower Together Again: Identifying and Fixing the Faults

Conference
February 12, 2019
9:15AM to 2:45PM EST
Hayek Auditorium, Cato Institute

There seems to be widespread agreement that America’s Ivory Tower has many cracks, rests on a leaning foundation, and can be prohibitively expensive. But there is little consensus when it comes to identifying the culprits behind the decay. Some say it’s tenure, others say it’s flawed accreditation. Some point the finger at for-profit schools, others at state disinvestment … and the list goes on. Of course, not everyone can be right. Or can they? In this special conference, which uses as its stepping-off point the new Cato volume Unprofitable Schooling: Examining Causes of, and Fixes for, America’s Broken Ivory Tower, top experts will scrutinize many of the most popular suspects for higher ed’s decline and will debate potential policy changes to which their conclusions point. The discussion will be especially timely as the 116th Congress begins its work, including tackling the overdue reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.


Schedule

8:45 - 9:15AM REGISTRATION

9:15 - 9:25AM WELCOMING REMARKS

Todd Zywicki, George Mason University Foundation Professor of Law, Antonin Scalia Law School; and Senior Fellow, Cato Institute

9:25 - 10:45AM PANEL I: DON’T KNOW MUCH ABOUT HIGHER ED HISTORY

To fix the ivory tower, we need to know something about how it was constructed, why, and its record of performance. Indeed, we need to ask if it has ever worked as well as we would like.

Richard Vedder, Professor Emeritus of Economics, Ohio University
Joshua Hall, Professor of Economics, and Director, Center for Free Enterprise, West Virginia University
John Thelin, Professor of Higher Education and Public Policy, University of Kentucky
Stephen Gavazzi, Professor, Department of Human Sciences, the Ohio State University
Moderated by Corey DeAngelis, Policy Analyst, Center for Educational Freedom, Cato Institute



Download a video of the Welcoming Remarks and Panel I
Download a podcast of the Welcoming Remarks and Panel I

10:45 - 10:55AM BREAK

10:55AM - 12:15PM PANEL II: WHERE WE ARE TODAY

There are myriad perceived problems with American higher education, from potentially bloated faculty, administration, or both, to unbridled greed. How many problems truly infest the ivory tower?

Todd Zywicki, George Mason University Foundation Professor of Law, Antonin Scalia Law School; and Senior Fellow, Cato Institute
Roger Meiners, Professor of Economics, University of Texas–Arlington
Lee Fritschler, Professor Emeritus, Schar School of Policy and Government, George Mason University
Benjamin Ginsberg, David Bernstein Professor of Political Science and Chair of the Hopkins Center for Advanced Governmental Studies, Johns Hopkins University
Moderated by Emily Wilkins, Education Reporter, Bloomberg Government



Download a video of Panel II
Download a podcast of Panel II

12:15 - 1:15PM LUNCHEON DISCUSSION

Judith Eaton, President, Council for Higher Education Accreditation



Download a video of the Luncheon Discussion
Download a podcast of the Luncheon Discussion

1:15 - 2:35PM PANEL III: IS COMPETITION THE KEY TO GETTING THE TOWER BACK IN ORDER?

Is higher education inherently broken, or do we just need tweaks like simplifying financial aid applications? Maybe the problem is too much profit-seeking … or not enough. Or maybe the incentives for everyone are just wrong.

David A. Hyman, Professor of Law, Georgetown University; Adjunct Scholar, Cato Institute
Michael DeBow, Steven Everett Wells Professor of Municipal Law, Samford University
Sandy Baum, Fellow, Education Policy Program, Urban Institute
James Kvaal, President, Institute for College Access and Success
Moderated by Laura Meckler, Education Reporter, Washington Post



Download a video of Panel III and Closing Remarks
Download a podcast of Panel III and the Closing Remarks

2:35 - 2:45PM CLOSING REMARKS

Neal McCluskey, Director, Center for Educational Freedom, Cato Institute

2:45 - 3:15PM RECEPTION AND BOOK SIGNING

Unprofitable Schooling
edited by Todd Zywicki and Neal McCluskey

Land-Grant Universities for the Future
by Stephen Gavazzi and Gordon Gee

Going to College in the Sixties
by John Thelin

Fall of the Faculty
by Benjamin Ginsberg

Overcharged
by Charles Silver and David Hyman

The Coming Death and Future Resurrection of American Higher Education: 1885–2017
by Richard Bishirjian