Top Colleges Should Develop Roadmaps For Increasing College Access and Talent

December 18, 2014
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Impatient Optimists Blog

Educational opportunity is critical to America’s success. If the best colleges in the country don't find and educate the best students, today’s opportunity gap will translate into tomorrow’s leadership gap. And yet, research tells us that, annually, tens of thousands of talented, lower income students don’t apply to the strong colleges for which they’re qualified.


Schools Can Do More to Make College Accessible

December 8, 2014
The Philadelphia Inquirer
Co-authored with William "Brit" Kirwan, Chancellor, University System of Maryland

Today, there aren't nearly enough lower-income students...attending America's highest-performing colleges and universities. Less than 10 percent of young people whose families are in the lowest quartile of American incomes ever earn a college degree, compared with 85 percent of those in the top quartile...America is re-creating the economic caste system our ancestors came here to escape. To make our country truly a land of opportunity, colleges must do a better job serving low-income and minority students.

New SAT is College Board's Answer to Greater Student Opportunity

March 6, 2014

Are we doing all we can to propel America’s students into college and career opportunities? So asked College Board President David Coleman yesterday as he outlined an ambitious, multi-pronged “opportunity agenda” that will define the future work of the 114 year-old non-profit organization known primarily for its iconic SAT and Advanced Placement (AP) exams.

Let's Make 2013 the Year of the Seminar

April 29, 2013
The Chronicle of Higher Education

I believe we have a collective responsibility to challenge the notion that MOOCs are the future of American higher education. If we really want to make a difference for most students, let's make 2013 "The Year of the Seminar."

Learn While Doing

Spring 2013
Independent School

Were he around today, Shakespeare might have described the relationship between independent schools and liberal arts colleges as a “marriage of true minds.” Both institutions teach, cultivate, and empower students for lives of meaning. We both adopt what Stanford Professor Carol Dweck calls the “growth mindset” in our approach to students. We both emphasize intellectual rigor, faculty mentoring, creativity and higher-order thinking, holistic student development, community, diversity, and the individuality of each student.

The Dick Winters Challenge

Sept. 2, 2012
Lancaster Newspapers 

Editor's note: … "Here are excerpts from [President Porterfield's Convocation] remarks about a heroic individual and 1941 F&M graduate whose life, Porterfield notes, holds lessons for all."
To the Class of 2016: … Maj. Winters triumphed with honor not simply because he was brave and strong, but also because he was smart and mentally prepared. His liberal arts education at F&M played a defining role.


Top Colleges Can Help Transform Education

March 30, 2012
The Houston Chronicle

Highly selective national colleges and universities like the one I lead, Franklin & Marshall College in Pennsylvania, should do more to embrace students from low-income communities. But unfortunately ..., the nation's top 150 colleges - the schools so accomplished at launching young adults into lives of impact - currently enroll only 3 percent of their undergraduates from America's lowest economic quartile. 

Another Kind of College Sports

Dec. 16, 2011
The Philadelphia Inquirer

Many believe that liberal-arts colleges, which typically play sports at the Division III level, do not especially value athletics. ... Colleges like Franklin and Marshall, Haverford, and Wesleyan aim to further the intellectual growth of all our students in a climate of high achievement and individual responsibility. In that context, we appreciate the educational value of competitive sports and structure our athletic programs to maximize their contribution to learning.