Frank Bruni hails Andrew Delbanco as the “conscience” of the new film Ivory Tower

Ivory Tower, a new documentary produced and directed by Andrew Rossi (Page One: Inside the New York Times), is scheduled for theatrical release next month. In a preview for The New York Times, Frank Bruni calls Princeton University Press author Andrew Delbanco “the conscience” of the film and cites his recent award-winning book College: What it Was, Is, and Should Be. If you are concerned with the burgeoning costs and inequality of college education in America, this book should be required reading, and we invite you to sample the introduction today.

ivory towerTHE word “crisis” pops up frequently in “Ivory Tower,” a compelling new documentary about the state of higher education in America.

It pops up in regard to the mountains of student debt. It pops up in regard to the steep drop in government funding for public universities, which have been forced to charge higher and higher tuition in response. That price increase is also a “crisis” in the estimation of one of many alarmed educators and experts on camera.

And “crisis” isn’t even their direst appellation. Andrew Delbanco, a Columbia University professor of American studies who functions as the movie’s conscience, notes an “apocalyptic dimension” to today’s discussion of college’s failings. The movie is set on verdant campuses. It’s rife with lecterns, books and graduation gowns. And yet it’s a kind of horror story.

Source: Class, Cost and College, The New York Times

Princeton University Press is proud to publish Andrew Delbanco’s book-length rumination on the past, present and future of college in America and hope you are as moved as we are by its arguments.

Watch the trailer for Ivory Tower:

What is the reality behind the race for scientific talent? Watch this EPI event with Michael Teitelbaum to find out

Also, in a related review of Michael Teitelbaum’s book Falling Behind? from Spectrum Magazine, published by the IEEE, they had this fun little quiz:

Okay, here are your choices: 1957, 1982, and 2014. Match each year to when the following statements were made:

a. “It is pretty generally realized that our country faces a serious scientific and engineering manpower shortage. We have at present about half the engineers which we need, and each year we are graduating only about half our annual needs.”

b. “Science, technology, engineering and math form the foundation of the global economy. Yet, … if educational trends continue, fewer qualified candidates will be available to support growth in these areas.”

c. “We appear to be raising a generation of Americans, many of whom lack the understanding and the skills necessary to participate fully in the technological world in which they live and work.”

To see the answers and to read their review, please visit

To learn more about the boom and bust cycles of STEM education, please read Falling Behind?

Congratulations to Howard Wainer for winning the 2014 AERA Division D Significant Contribution to Educational Measurement and Research Methodology Award from the American Educational Research Association

j9529[1]Uneducated Guesses: Using Evidence to Uncover Misguided Education Policies by Howard Wainer is winner of the 2014 AERA Division D Significant Contribution to Educational Measurement and Research Methodology Award, American Educational Research Association. The award “recognizes one publication that represents a significant conceptual advancement in theory and practice of educational measurement and/or research methodology. This year’s award recognizes such a publication in the area of Quantitative Methods and Statistical Theory. The evaluation criteria are quality, originality, and potential impact.”
In their citation for the award, the commitee notes, “In his book, Wainer describes, evaluates, and illustrates complex statistical reasoning embedded in a wide range of important educational policies in ways that are easily accessible and penetrable to non-technical people. This collective work evaluates the relationship between sophisticated statistical and psychometric machinery and challenges the educational policies and practices that have far-reaching impact on our society at large. Wainer’s thought-provoking writing regarding the perils of misusing quantitative measurement outcomes represents a significant contribution that is likely to shape educational research and practice for many generations.”

New documentary Ivory Tower explores the challenges of higher education in the 21st century

Watch this:

Then read this:


Andrew Delbanco recently attended Sundance Film Festival where he participated in a screening of Ivory Tower, a new documentary on the spiraling costs of higher education and the impact this has on students and their families. The director of the documentary is Andrew Rossi, who rose to prominence thanks to his earlier work Page One: Inside the New York Times. Delbanco is featured quite a bit in the movie which hopefully will have a greater distribution soon. In the meantime, to bone up on the challenges universities and colleges face, please check out College: What It Was, Is, and Should Be.

Diane Coyle becomes Manchester Professor

Coyle_GDP_author photo
Princeton author Diane Coyle, one of the UK’s leading economists, is to become a Professor at The University of Manchester. She will teach undergraduates at the university, give a public lecture each year and work with academic colleagues and policy makers. Diane, who is Vice Chair of the BBC Trust and a former Economics Editor of The Independent newspaper, will take on the part-time role in September 2014.


A Harvard PhD graduate, she runs the consultancy Enlightenment Economics.

Awarded an OBE in 2009, her books include ‘The Economics of Enoughand ‘The Soulful Science, as well as the forthcoming ‘GDP: A Brief but Affectionate History‘.

She said: “It’s a privilege for me to have this opportunity to teach undergraduates at Manchester, and I hope to offer them a distinctive perspective on economics from somebody who has been involved in the world of public policy as well as research and writing. Economics is particularly exciting and important when it engages with real world events, and I’m looking forward to debates with students as well as my new colleagues.”

Head of the University’s School of Social Sciences Professor Chris Orme said: “We are delighted that Diane has been able to accept this substantive academic appointment in Economics. Apart from the significant and important contribution to research and the wider current economic policy debates, she will also deliver her own research-informed economics teaching to undergraduates and assist us in curriculum innovation.”


President Emeritus William G. Bowen To Speak At Princeton University

William BowenPresident Emeritus William G. Bowen will give a talk “Academia Online: Musings” at 8 p.m. Monday Oct. 14, in McCosh Hall, Room 50, as part of the Princeton University Public Lectures Series. Bowen’s most recent book, Higher Education in the Digital Age (Princeton University Press, 2013), which examines two of the most visible and important trends in higher education today: exploding costs and the expansion of online learning, will be a topic of discussion. Bowen believes that technology has the potential to help rein in costs without negatively affecting student learning.

This event is free and open to the public. For more information, click here.

Andrew Delbanco Wins the 2013 O.L. David, Jr. Book Award

Andrew Delbanco – College: What It Was, Is, and Should Be
Winner of the 2013 O.L. Davis, Jr. Book Award, American Association for Teaching and Curriculum

Each year, the American Association for Teaching and Curriculum (AATC) acknowledges an Outstanding Book in Education.  AATC, as a recognized major society in the common fields of curriculum and teaching, selects a book that merits high praise and recognition. The award is given in recognition of scholarship that adds substantively to the body of knowledge about the practices and theories of curriculum and teaching.

“At a time when vast changes in higher education are happening, author Andrew Delbanco of Columbia University calls attention to the purpose of college education (historic origins to the present). It is a very good read.”- Chara Bohan, Committee Chair

College: What It Was, Is, and Should BeAs the commercialization of American higher education accelerates, more and more students are coming to college with the narrow aim of obtaining a preprofessional credential. The traditional four-year college experience–an exploratory time for students to discover their passions and test ideas and values with the help of teachers and peers–is in danger of becoming a thing of the past.

In College, prominent cultural critic Andrew Delbanco offers a trenchant defense of such an education, and warns that it is becoming a privilege reserved for the relatively rich. In arguing for what a true college education should be, he demonstrates why making it available to as many young people as possible remains central to America’s democratic promise.

In a brisk and vivid historical narrative, Delbanco explains how the idea of college arose in the colonial period from the Puritan idea of the gathered church, how it struggled to survive in the nineteenth century in the shadow of the new research universities, and how, in the twentieth century, it slowly opened its doors to women, minorities, and students from low-income families. He describes the unique strengths of America’s colleges in our era of globalization and, while recognizing the growing centrality of science, technology, and vocational subjects in the curriculum, he mounts a vigorous defense of a broadly humanistic education for all. Acknowledging the serious financial, intellectual, and ethical challenges that all colleges face today, Delbanco considers what is at stake in the urgent effort to protect these venerable institutions for future generations.

In a new preface, Delbanco addresses recent events that threaten the future of the institution.

Andrew Delbanco is the Mendelson Family Chair of American Studies and the Julian Clarence Levi Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University. His many books include Melville: His World and Work (Vintage), which won the Lionel Trilling Award and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times book prize in biography. He is a recipient of the 2011 National Humanities Medal for his writing that spans the literature of Melville and Emerson to contemporary issues in higher education.

What The Pros Have To Say About Higher Education

It seems as though having a college education is becoming more and more necessary in today’s job search, and with the high price of getting that degree and the constant changes in our modern higher education system, something’s got to give. With some wisdom on exactly what is giving and who is being affected, here is a list of some of our top books on higher education:

Higher Education in America1) Higher Education in America
By: Derek Bok

This book is an analysis of the current condition of our colleges and universities and the strengths and weaknesses of modern American higher education.  At a time when colleges and universities have never been more important to its students or to our nation as a whole, Bok provides a thorough examination of the entire system and determines which criticisms of higher education are unfounded or exaggerated, which are issues of genuine concern, and what can be done to improve matters.
College2) College: What it Was, Is and Should Be
By: Andrew Delbanco

As the commercialization of American higher education accelerates, more and more students are coming to college with the narrow aim of obtaining a preprofessional credential. The traditional four-year college experience–an exploratory time for students to discover their passions and test ideas and values with the help of teachers and peers–is in danger of becoming a thing of the past. College demonstrates why making education available to as many young people as possible remains central to America’s democratic promise.
3) HighHigher Education in the Digital Ageer Education in the Digital Age
By: William G. Bowen

Two of the most visible and important trends in higher education today are its exploding costs and the rapid expansion of online learning. Could the growth in online courses slow the rising cost of college and help solve the crisis of affordability? In this short and incisive book, Bowen explains why he believes technology has the potential to help rein in costs without negatively affecting student learning.
4) The Great BThe Great Brain Racerain Race: How Global Universities Are Reshaping the World
By: Ben Wildavsky

This book presents the first popular account of how international competition for the brightest minds is transforming the world of higher education–and why this revolution should be welcomed, not feared. Every year, nearly three million international students study outside of their home countries, a 40 percent increase since 1999. Wildavsky shows that as international universities strive to become world-class, the new global education marketplace is providing more opportunities to more people than ever before.

A Back To School Round Up

It’s never easy going back to school. You have to get up earlier, you have to do homework, and worst of all, you’ll probably have to step outside your comfort zone at some point and try something new. Usually the start of a new school year involves diving in and just hoping for the best, but this year I’m offering you all a little help. Having the right strategy can be the key to surviving a new year, whether it be on a math test, a research paper, or just trying to figure out where that crusty book in the back of the library is hiding.
If you need help with any of those things, check out some of our school-friendly titles below:

The Five Elements of Effective Thinking

1) The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking
By: Edward B. Burger & Michael Starbird

This book presents practical, lively, and inspiring ways for you to become more successful through better thinking. The idea is simple: You can learn how to think far better by adopting specific strategies. By using these straightforward and thought-provoking techniques, you will regularly find imaginative solutions to difficult challenges, and you will discover new ways of looking at your world and yourself–revealing previously hidden opportunities.

 Check out the introduction here.


2) The CalculThe Calculus Lifesaverus Lifesaver: All the Tools You Need to Excel at Calculus
By: Adrian Banner

For many students, calculus can be the most mystifying and frustrating course they will ever take. The Calculus Lifesaver provides students with the essential tools they need not only to learn calculus, but to excel at it. The book combines ease of use and readability with the depth of content and mathematical rigor of the best calculus textbooks.

 Check out the first chapter here.

3) How to SolHow To Solve Itve It: A New Aspect of Mathematical Method
By: G. Polya

In this best-selling classic, George Pólya revealed in lucid and appealing prose how the mathematical method of demonstrating a proof or finding an unknown can be of help in attacking any problem that can be “reasoned” out–from building a bridge to winning a game of anagrams. Generations of readers have relished Pólya’s deft instructions on stripping away irrelevancies and going straight to the heart of a problem.

Check out a preview here.
4) The ElThe Elements of Library Researchements of Library Research: What Every Student Needs to Know
By: Mary W. George

This short, practical book introduces students to the important components of the information-seeking process. It provides a foundation for success in any research assignment, from a freshman paper to a senior thesis. Unlike guides that describe the research process but do not explain its logic, this book focuses entirely on basic concepts, strategies, tools, and tactics for research–in both electronic and print formats.

Check out the first chapter here.

The – “The Machine Zone: This Is Where You Go When You Just Can’t Stop Looking at Pictures on Facebook”

What an anthropologist’s examination of Vegas slot machines reveals about the hours we spend on social networks

Alexis C. Madrigal | Jul 31 2013, 12:37 PM ET -- “The Machine Zone: This Is Where You Go When You Just Can’t Stop Looking at Pictures on Facebook” The Machine Zone (Sarah Rich)

“People love Facebook. They really love it,” Biz Stone wrote earlier this month. “My mother-in-law looks hypnotized when she decides to put in some Facebook time.”She is not the only one. ComScore estimates Facebook eats up 11 percent of all the time spent online in the United States. Its users have been known to spend an average of 400 minutes a month on the site.

I know the hypnosis, as I’m sure you do, too. You start clicking through photos of your friends of friends and next thing you know an hour has gone by. It’s oddly soothing, but unsatisfying. Once the spell is broken, I feel like I’ve just wasted a bunch of time. But while it’s happening, I’m caught inside the machine, a human animated GIF: I. Just. Cannot. Stop.

Or maybe it’ll come on when I’m scrolling through tweets at night before bed. I’m not even clicking the links or responding to people. I’m just scrolling down, or worse, pulling down with my thumb, reloading, reloading.

Or sometimes, I get caught in the melancholy of Tumblr’s infinite scroll.

Are these experiences, as Stone would have it, love? The tech world generally measures how much you like a service by how much time you spend on it. So a lot of time equals love.

My own intuition is that this is not love. It’s something much more technologically specific that MIT anthropologist Natasha Schüll calls “the machine zone.”

To view the entire article, refer to

Addiction by Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas by Natasha Dow SchüllAddiction By Design
Machine Gambling in Las Vegas

Natasha Dow Schüll

Recent decades have seen a dramatic shift away from social forms of gambling played around roulette wheels and card tables to solitary gambling at electronic terminals. Addiction by Design takes readers into the intriguing world of machine gambling, an increasingly popular and absorbing form of play that blurs the line between human and machine, compulsion and control, risk and reward.

Drawing on fifteen years of field research in Las Vegas, anthropologist Natasha Dow Schüll shows how the mechanical rhythm of electronic gambling pulls players into a trancelike state they call the “machine zone,” in which daily worries, social demands, and even bodily awareness fade away. Once in the zone, gambling addicts play not to win but simply to keep playing, for as long as possible–even at the cost of physical and economic exhaustion. In continuous machine play, gamblers seek to lose themselves while the gambling industry seeks profit. Schüll describes the strategic calculations behind game algorithms and machine ergonomics, casino architecture and “ambience management,” player tracking and cash access systems–all designed to meet the market’s desire for maximum “time on device.” Her account moves from casino floors into gamblers’ everyday lives, from gambling industry conventions and Gamblers Anonymous meetings to regulatory debates over whether addiction to gambling machines stems from the consumer, the product, or the interplay between the two.

Addiction by Design is a compelling inquiry into the intensifying traffic between people and machines of chance, offering clues to some of the broader anxieties and predicaments of contemporary life.

Natasha Dow Schüll is associate professor in the Program in Science, Technology, and Society at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


Addiction by Design is a nonfiction page-turner. A richly detailed account of the particulars of video gaming addiction, worth reading for the excellence of the ethnographic narrative alone, it is also an empirically rigorous examination of users, designers, and objects that deepens practical and philosophical questions about the capacities of players interacting with machines designed to entrance them.”–Laura Norén, PublicBooks

“Natasha Dow Schüll, an anthropologist at MIT, has written a timely book. Ms Schüll has spent two decades studying the boom in casino gambling: the layout of its properties, the addicts and problem gamblers who account for roughly half its revenue in some places, and the engineering that goes into its most sophisticated products. Addiction by Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas reads like a combination of Scientific American’s number puzzles and the ‘blue Book’ of Alcoholics Anonymous.”–Christopher Caldwell, Financial Times

“Schüll adds greatly to the scholarly literature on problem gambling with this well-written book. . . . Applying an anthropological perspective, the author focuses especially on the Las Vegas gambling industry, seeing many of today’s avid machine gamblers as less preoccupied with winning than with maintaining themselves in the game, playing for as long as possible, and entering into a trance-like state of being, totally enmeshed psychologically into gaming and totally removed from the ordinary obligations of everyday life. . . . The book offers a most compelling and vivid picture of this world.”–Choice

“A stunning portrayal of technology and the inner life. Searing, sobering, compelling: this is important, first-rate, accessible scholarship that should galvanize public conversation.”Sherry Turkle, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, author of Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other

Higher Education in the Digital Age by William G. BowenIf you enjoyed this article, you may be interested in other internet-related topics, such as online learning. Online learning is often crowned as the ultimate solution to cut costs in the education system. Will our ever-increasing migration away from the physical world and into the virtual world ultimately help us, or cost us in more ways than one?

Higher Education in Digital Age by William G. Bowen explores how online learning could help control the exploding cost of higher education. In this short and incisive book, William G. Bowen, one of the foremost experts on the intersection of education and economics, explains why, despite his earlier skepticism, he now believes technology has the potential to help rein in costs without negatively affecting student learning. As a former president of Princeton University, an economist, and author of many books on education, Bowen speaks with unique expertise on the subject.

Want to score an internship with Princeton University Press? Our interns offer some advice on maximizing your chances.

Two students interning with Princeton University Press have agreed to answer a few questions about their experiences as interns during the summer 2013 term. Are you interested in becoming an intern with Princeton University Press? Read on for tips and tricks to maximize your success – Brought to you by our Editorial Intern, Anna, and our Social Networking Intern, Holly.

Anna Olkovsky (Smith College)

Title: Editorial Intern
Department: Editorial
College Major: American Studies
Year: Senior

Holly Jennings (Rider University)

Title: Social Networking Intern
Department: Publicity
College Major: Public Relations
Year: Senior

1.) What does your list of duties for the Princeton University Press include?

Anna: “I help the Editorial Assistants in any way I can. Some of my regular assignments include: sending copies of our books to authors, professors, and other scholars in the field; contacting museums and organizations to start the process of getting the rights to use one of their images; and helping with administrative tasks such as photocopying, scanning, and fetching books from the University Library.”

Holly: “I assist the Publicity Director and Assistant Publicity Director/ePublicity Manager. Some of my regular assignments include: Utilizing HTML, CSS, and other variations of code to create content, researching online blogs for specific topics to obtain information for marketing and publicity, adding events to the Princeton University Press facebook site and individual book sites, setting up Facebook pages for each PUP title, watching author interviews/reviews and selecting excerpts to be placed on the blog, posting articles and creating features on the blog, attending departmental meetings to get an overall view of the function of the publicity department, and conducting research related to various books for marketing purposes.”

2.) Are there any special qualifications, skills, or training that you have brought with you to the internship?

Anna: “I have previously completed two other internships, so I am comfortable in an office setting and have had some experience with copyediting, proofreading, and writing blog posts. I have worked as a Writing Tutor at my college for two years now, which has taught me how important it is for academic work to be well-structured, clear, and legible to a general audience. Also, although it hasn’t impacted my work in this internship directly so far, I have always found in interviews that employers are interested in my fluency in another language, so I am proud of the work I have done to achieve that.”

Holly: “I’ve interned with Princeton University Press twice – once as a general Publicity Intern, and now twice as a Social Media Intern. I’ve also interned with Princeton AlumniCorps. Both internships have given me invaluable lessons that have been added to my skill set. I have been doing web design and HTML since I was fairly young – I’ve been self-taught since about 6th grade. My best friend and I used to build HTML/CSS layouts for Xanga, which is an online journal community. Having the skill set to build websites and become familiar with different types of coding is vital to the Social Media Intern position because this is a position heavily based around creativity and putting your own unique touch on things.”

3.) What aspect(s) do you enjoy most about your internship with the Princeton University Press?

Anna: “My favorite part of my internship is the Project Review meeting I get to attend every Thursday. During this meeting, editors who have been in touch with authors and agents about potential books give the rest of the Editorial Department a summary of the project, and then other editors weigh in with their comments about the project. Since a lot of the work I do on a daily basis is pretty administrative, it’s great to be able to see The Press’ work from a more top-down perspective. Plus, most of the new book topics sound fascinating to me!”

Holly: “The aspects I enjoy most about my internship is the freedom to make what you do all your own. In my department, I’m given a lot of freedom to show off my creativity. I’m allowed to create my own projects and am autonomous in making a lot of decisions. This is excellent for building up my portfolio. Since I’ve interned here a few times, I have a endless collection of examples of my own work that I can show to future employers at interviews. All samples of work that I have created at The Press can apply to various job functions – whether they fall under social media, marketing, advertising, public relations, or other occupational areas.”

4.) In what ways do you think this internship will help you in future job endeavors?

Anna: “I applied for this internship because I became interested in academic publishing as a potential career, and wanted to get some hands-on experience to see if I really liked the work and field. This internship has only cemented my desire to work as an editor at an academic press, and it has been a great experience to finally figure out a potential career path and have some sort of clarity about what I’m doing after college. And I’m sure that when I apply to future jobs in publishing, this internship will stand out for the Press’ well-known leadership in the field of academic publishing.”

Holly: “Building off of the previous question, I think being responsible for my own projects has taught me a lot about responsibility and self initiation. It’s easy to mess around when you have little guidelines on exactly how your work should be done. In a Social Media Intern position, you’re your own boss, in a sense – it is real sense of accomplishment knowing that your work comes from your own successes. Future employers want to hire people that know how to step up to the plate and be leaders.”

5.) What job skill(s) learned at the Press do you feel are most vital to your overall career success?

Anna: “There are some more technical skills I have practiced here, such as using the particular software we use to ship orders from our warehouse, but I have also learned a lot about how different departments within the Press work together to support the ultimate goals of publishing great work. Sitting in on meetings with not only the Editorial department, but also with Publicity and Permissions, has given me a good sense of what kinds of work are necessary to get a book published and sold.”

Holly: “The job skills I’ve learned at the Press that I feel are most vital to my overall career success would definitely be the social media postings. I’ve become very savvy with what types of language you should use in Facebook and blog posts. When you learn how to communicate to your company’s specific key publics in a way that resonates with them, you obtain a priceless skill that is transferable to any type of business you may venture into.”

6.) Would you recommend this internship to others?

Anna: “Definitely! It has been a great experience so far, and I have learned a lot about the field of academic publishing. Plus, everyone in the office is really nice, and there’s usually free food in the kitchen.”

Holly: “I would absolutely recommend this internship to others. The Princeton University Press is a very friendly environment. I always feel comfortable asking any of my coworkers for help. There are an unlimited number of projects that greatly benefit your resume for future employers.”

7.) Is there any advice you can give to those applying for internships, looking for jobs in your field, or ways to maximize one’s chance of getting an internship with the Princeton University Press?

Anna: “One piece of advice is definitely to start early when you’re applying for summer internships. The people I know who started looking in December or January ended up having more options, and had their plans figured out earlier, than those who didn’t start applying until March or April. And also, don’t be worried if you don’t have previous experience that’s completely relevant to the publishing world; during my interview, I was able to talk about how my different experiences with research and tutoring have taught me the importance of good written organization. You probably have more relevant skills and experiences than you think you do, and it’s important to emphasize those in your resume and interview.”

Holly: “If there is any advice I can give to those looking to be chosen for an internship at PUP, I would have to say that building your resume is paramount. Play up your strengths, and try to keep job descriptions to the point while highlighting the important duties and accomplishments that apply to the department you are looking to work for. For me, I made it a point to play up my previous employment in retail on my resume. Although one might not think retail relates directly to social media, the interactions with customers and fellow coworkers have taught me a lot about communicating with others, whether it be in person or through the internet. Another strength on my resume is my GPA. I work hard to maintain a very high GPA, because although a GPA may not be everything to employers, it does help you appear to be a promising employee with a steadfast work ethic.”

Apply for one of the internships listed above or any of PUP’s other opportunities:


Congratulations to William G. Bowen, recipient of a 2012 National Humanities Medal

William G. Bowen, President Emeritus, The Andrew W. Mellon FoundationOur congratulations and heart-felt good wishes go to William Bowen in recognition of his 2012 National Humanities Medal.

This medal will be awarded by President Obama today, July 10, 2013.  According to the White House, Mr. Bowen will be honored for “his contributions to the study of economics and his probing research on higher education in America.”

The staff of Princeton University Press celebrate this honor, acknowledging Bill Bowen not only as an illustrious author—most recently of his 2013 book, Higher Education in the Digital Age—but as a former trustee, long-time advisor, and most of all, friend.