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Oct. 13 Online University Forum Speaker to Discuss Current Economic and Societal Impacts of a College Education

Tue, 10/06/2020 - 14:09pm | By: David Tisdale

Paul ToughThe University of Southern Mississippi’s (USM) online fall University Forum series continues Tuesday, Oct. 13 at 6:30 p.m. when it features one of the country’s top journalists and experts on the state of American higher education, Paul Tough, who will discuss outcomes of those earning a college degree today, in contrast to years past.

Tough is the author of How Children Succeed, an examination of why some children in grade school are successful and others are not. It remained on the New York Times bestseller list for over a year. More recently, he authored The Years That Matter Most: How College Makes or Breaks Us, also the title and focus of his University Forum address, in which Tough considers whether a college education provides the same opportunities for social mobility that it did for previous generations of Americans, and also asks difficult questions about who higher education serves – the rich of the poor, and offers advice to educators, student and parents.

As a contributing writer to New York Times Magazine, Tough recently looked at the effects of COVID-19 on students’ opportunities and aspirations, and has previously written about the New Orleans school system, the No Child Left Behind act, and charter schools. He has written for the New Yorker, the Atlantic, and Esquire and is also a former reporter and producer for the public radio program “This American Life”, and is founder of Open Letters, an online magazine.

“Since World War II and the G.I. Bill of Rights, Americans have viewed their education system as the great equalizer,” said Dr. Andrew Haley, associate professor of history and director of University Forum. “Today, Paul Tough argues, higher education is failing to provide the same opportunities for social mobility it once did. As elite universities become more and more elite, regional schools struggle to pay the bills. Anyone interested in the future of American education—and the future of American democracy—will want to heed Tough’s warning."

Presented by the USM Honors College, University Forum is free and open to everyone. To learn how to participate online in fall 2020 University Forum events, visit