University Shrugged: Duke ethics professor to launch for-profit college

Sick and tired of how American universities operate, professor Gary Hull is setting out to launch a new, for-profit university. Dubbed Founders College, Hull hopes to do away with "publish or perish" atmospheres and tenured professorships, focus on education, and provide a "classic" liberal arts curriculum. It sounds like a gutsy experiment (he's also cutting the sports teams). Hull hopes to mold great communicators out of his students, and he's definitely talking big: The new institution intends to rigorously train its professors, evaluate them constantly on their performance, and give them the fuel to "light minds on fire." He's also promising a profit, despite the $22,000-a-head tuition rate. While academics are on the fence about his prospects, the Ayn Rand-inspired philosopher seems to at least have his marketing bases covered. He's secured the first round of backing for his institution, recruited like-minded profs, and he's planning on hiring the best PR firms in the land to handle his campaign.
Of course, I'm wondering why a man so intent on creating a profit hasn't tried to auction off the name yet (I, for one, would be more inclined to drive-thru Taco Bell Founders College). I'm also wondering whether Ayn herself would approve of such a rigid curriculum, or instead champion the class cutters and drop-outs. In any case, it'll be fascinating to see what happens. Thanks Toby!

A Very Brief History of Chamber Pots

Some of the oldest chamber pots found by archeologists have been discovered in ancient Greece, but portable toilets have come a long way since then. Whether referred to as "the Jordan" (possibly a reference to the river), "Oliver's Skull" (maybe a nod to Oliver Cromwell's perambulating cranium), or "the Looking Glass" (because doctors would examine urine for diagnosis), they were an essential fact of life in houses and on the road for centuries. In this video from the Wellcome Collection, Visitor Experience Assistant Rob Bidder discusses two 19th century chamber pots in the museum while offering a brief survey of the use of chamber pots in Britain (including why they were particularly useful in wartime).

A Tour of the New York Academy of Medicine's Rare Book Room

The Rare Book Room at the New York Academy of Medicine documents the evolution of our medical knowledge. Its books and artifacts are as bizarre as they are fascinating. Read more here.


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