Some of the most interesting and insightful recent writing on American higher education has been the work of William Deresiewicz. He's also a superlative literary critic, with a clear, direct reviewing style reminiscent of Edmund Wilson (yes, he's that good). When his articles are eventually collected in book form, I'll pre-order a copy. In the meantime, here are links to my favorite Deresiewicz articles and reviews available online:
"Love on Campus" (from The American Scholar). An essay that begins with pop culture cliches and expands to explore the complex reality of the erotic side of education.
"The Disadvantages of an Elite Education" (from The American Scholar). The title pretty much describes it...
"Faulty Towers: The Crisis in Higher Education" (from The Nation). A marvelous and depressing tour d'horizon of the current American university crisis. Should be required reading for anyone considering an academic career.
And after googling to find these articles, I discover that Deresiewicz has already posted links to these and more at his website, rendering this post redundant. Check out the essays here and the reviews here. If you haven't read Deresiewicz, follow these links and treat yourself to one of the best critics writing today.