The LSU Top 5 #21

This is the 21st of our weekly links to the top 5 interesting bits and pieces we’ve found from around the internet.

(Linking doesn’t mean we necessarily agree with these articles!)

College: Where Free Speech Goes to DieThe Hoover Institution

The author of this article argues that American universities and high schools (and, I suspect he would argue, universities and high schools around the world) stifle genuinely free discussion through ‘sensitivity training’, subjective policies on appropriate behaviour and an over-emphasis of ideology in the guiding principles of education. He quotes Greg Lakianoff, President of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education:

“The only institution that could be helping elevate the national discussion may actually be making it worse” as students graduate never having left the “echo chambers” of their own minds. Instead, they have been subjected to a curriculum and campus life focused on “rewarding groupthink, punishing devil’s advocates, and shutting down discussions on some of the hottest and most important topics of the day.”


Universities are brands whether they like it or notTimes Higher Education

Many hate it, some accept it, and a few embrace it, but it doesn’t really matter what you think: branding of universities is here to stay. This article takes the branding of the corporate world and shows how it might (and does) work for universities.

…the role of branding increases when purchases become “asymmetric”…. For example, laptops are expensive, but it is difficult when you are standing in Currys to judge if a product’s quality will match what is claimed. In this context, a brand’s fame helps to suggest that promises will be kept.


Academia is especially asymmetric: university requires significant outlays in the form of time, energy and money, while the standard of facilities or the social scene is not certain at the start. This asymmetry is partly assuaged by league tables or peer recommendation, but fame can play a vital role, too, particularly if the brand’s familiarity has been built up over time.


We’re so well educated – but we’re uselessThe Guardian

This student-written article shows a concern that many in the UK are knowledgeable in history, law and economics but lack basic skills to make simple things in everyday life. The author suggested that education, besides teaching academic skills, should introduce vital life skills so that we have a generation able to not only think but also create.


Help private schools in trouble, we need them Vietweek

In this Vietweek interview, former Deputy Minister of Education and Training Tran Xuan Nhi talks of the importance of supporting (rather than closing!) private universities and the role they might play in the development of higher education in Vietnam.


The Top Five Career RegretsHarvard Business Review

Based on an informal survey of 30 professionals, this article summarises – you guessed it – the top five career regrets.

Although this isn’t directly related to education, it’s an interesting read with so many of us watching students set off on their careers.


We love hearing your thoughts on these articles, so feel free to comment below!

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2 responses to “The LSU Top 5 #21”

  1. Uyển Công (@uyen_cong) says :

    “I call myself ‘reluctant’,” she says, “not because I think I’m owed a job, or would rather be travelling the world or kicking back with a cup of tea, but because I’ve been raised and educated to aspire to be a good employee.”

    I like this part of The Guardian’s article. Yes, it seems I’m being trained to be a good employee.

    Time to get back my “natural talents”.

    • LSUvietnam says :

      I love learning, and I love to see others get excited about learning too. I like to think that university is a place for learning interesting stuff that makes people think differently and how to do…well…cool stuff.

      At the same time, university’s a bit of a game, too! GPAs really do matter for most people, and getting a GPA sometimes means playing a bit of a game in doing assignments well and in a way that will get you high marks. And I can see how this maybe leads you to be a ‘good employee’!

      So, good idea to get back (or keep?) your ‘natural talents’! Learn what you can from courses, get good marks along the way, and then maybe you can be your own person and an entrepreneur or a good employee…and then you’ve got choice!

      – Sam – LSU HN

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