What is the purpose of universities?

For centuries, universities have advanced humanity toward truth. Professor Jonathan Haidt speaks to why college campuses are suddenly heading in the opposite direction.

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  • In a lecture at UCCS, NYU professor Jonathan Haidt considers the 'telos' or purpose of universities: To discover truth.
  • Universities that prioritize the emotional comfort of students over the pursuit of truth fail to deliver on that purpose, at a great societal cost.
  • To make that point, Haidt quotes CNN contributor Van Jones: "I don't want you to be safe ideologically. I don't want you to be safe emotionally. I want you to be strong—that's different."
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Want Americans to graduate college? Make it affordable.

Research from MIT's School Effectiveness & Inequality Initiative found making college more affordable cut dropout rates and boosted degree attainment.

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  • Many of the fastest-growing jobs in the U.S. require a postsecondary education, while college tuition rates continue to climb.
  • Recent research finds that making college more affordable improves bachelor degree attainment.
  • Aid recipients who benefit most are students from historically underrepresented groups.
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    The 3 keys to solving complex global problems

    We have the money to change the world. What's standing in the way?

    • What does it actually take to drive large-scale change? Co-Impact founder and CEO Olivia Leland argues that it takes more than money, voting in elections, and supporting your favorite nonprofit. Solving complex global issues takes philanthropy in concert with community advocacy, support from businesses, innovation, an organized vision, and a plan to execute it.
    • Leland has identified three areas that need to be addressed before real and meaningful change can happen. To effectively provide support, we must listen to the people who are already doing the work, rather than trying to start from scratch; make it easier for groups, government, and others to collaborate; and change our mindsets to think more long-term so that we can scale impact in ways that matter.
    • Through supporting educational programs like Pratham and its Teaching at the Right Level model, Co-Impact has seen how these collaborative strategies can be employed to successfully tackle a complex problem like child literacy.

    How music therapy benefits the autistic brain

    While the benefits of music therapy are well known, more in-depth research explores how music benefits children with autism.

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    • Music is used in many different therapies. Used in conjunction with traditional therapies, music therapy benefits us in a variety of different ways.
    • According to a 2004 study, music intervention used with children and teens with ASD (autism spectrum disorder) can improve their social behaviors, increase focus and attention, and reduce their anxiety and improve body awareness.
    • Various music therapy activities and tools can be used to help improve the quality of life of children with autism.
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    1 in 6 school children meet criteria for mental disorder diagnosis, according to CDC study

    Symptoms of mental illness in children are often dismissed as "going through a phase."

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    • A 2020 CDC study examined mental health symptoms in four different school districts within the United States from 2014-2018. This study found that, based on the reports from both teachers and parents, one in six students showed enough behavioral or emotional symptoms to be diagnosed with a childhood mental disorder.
    • Mental health conditions or illnesses in children are generally defined as delays or disruptions in developing age-appropriate thinking, behaviors, social skills, or emotional regulation.
    • Children can develop many of the same mental health conditions as adults, but their symptoms may be different.

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