New York Times Letter to the Editor. Opinion | A Debate Over the Value of the Humanities

The debate about the value of a liberal arts education is hardly over, despite attempts to be definitive via cuts in funding for the humanities. Higher education is about more than job training. A broad-based curriculum educates young people to be productive members of society who contribute to the overall well-being of those around them, from adding beauty through art to solving problems with the latest scientific breakthroughs. A liberal arts and science education is an education for life.

What’s Your Why: Advice from Higher Ed Leadership: Leading with Heart: A Conversation with President Bilger

President Audrey Bilger, the first woman president of Reed College, is a prolific author and inclusive leader. Bilger has held numerous leadership positions across higher education. She is an active member of LGBTQ+ organizations and local Portland organizations committed to breaking down educational barriers. We talk with President Bilger about learning and questioning with joy and having the courage to lead with heart.

Pandemic Leadership: Lessons Learned at Six Institutions

For Reed College President Audrey Bilger, a positive lesson of resilience was how quickly the Reed community could mobilize to address pressing needs, such as the need for virtual instruction. “Prior to March of 2020, we had zero online classes,” Bilger says. “In the last decade, other small liberal arts colleges have increased their online courses. But that’s not a direction that we’ve taken. So when we had to make the move to send everyone to remote instruction, it was really turning on a dime.”

Is Reed College’s New President Too Cool to Be a University Administrator?

Audrey Bilger owns a lot of “firsts.” First woman president of Reed College. First LGBTQ Reed prez. And, probably, the first college president to own a bigger record collection than her school’s entire student body. Bilger and her wife, Cheryl Pawelski, arrived on the 111-year-old school’s leafy Southeast Portland campus packing about 70,000 albums and CDs. Pawelski is a Grammy-winning record producer and music historian who co-owns the record label Omnivore (which Bilger named).

Novels Are Not the Only Books

IN THE FALL OF 1996, I traveled from Southern California to London to interview Jeanette Winterson for the Paris Review. I was in my mid-thirties (one year younger than the author) and had recently left a heterosexual marriage to embark on what would become my new life as a lesbian. I had been teaching Winterson's novel Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit in my college English classes since its appearance in 1985, when it catapulted Winterson onto the international stage as a serious literary figure, and so I was elated when I got this assignment.

The Marriage Prop

AS PROPOSITION 8, my home state of California's ban on same-sex marriage, makes its way through the courts, it leaves behind a trail of documents that will be required reading for anyone who wants to understand American democracy at the dawn of the twenty-first century. Now that Prop 8 has been declared unconstitutional for the second time and the Perry case may be headed to the Supreme Court, we can pause to take stock of this work-in-progress. The Prop 8 trial is, in fact, one of the greatest stories of our time.