I wanted to point your attention to an interesting new addition to the blogroll: The Collegiate Way. This site — it’s not strictly speaking a "blog" although it does have a frequently-updated news section — is dedicated to what it called the "residential college movement". From their About page:
The Collegiate Way website advocates the creation of decentralized residential colleges within large universities as a way of improving higher education for all. Residential colleges are small, permanent, cross-sectional, faculty-led societies of a few hundred members that provide the advantages of a small college in the context of a big institution.
There are lots of articles and information at the site. In the blogroll, you’ll find a link to the "news" portion.
After reading the stuff at this site, I find myself thinking that the vision of decentralized residential colleges is a lot closer to the idea of higher education that I had growing up and going to college and graduate school than is the actual reality of academia in America and a lot closer to what I wanted to do when I decided to be a professor. Even at small liberal arts colleges, academics and learning usually have to compete — usually unsuccessfully — with life outside the classroom, including (and especially) athletics and Greek organizations. It doesn’t have to be so difficult and unnatural to put learning and the life of the mind above all, and I think residential colleges are a step in the right direction. The more I read The Collegiate Way, the more I suspect I’ll be blogging about it.
(It’s also nice to see that my alma mater is starting up one of these residential colleges.)