Jeff Polet

Jeff Polet is Professor of Political Science at Hope College in Holland MI, where he teaches political theory. He has published numerous articles and book chapters on issues including education, the American founding, and hermeneutical theory. He is a board member and editor-in-chief of the online journal Front Porch Republic.

Alumni donations today: how can I give well?

Alumni account for a significant amount of revenue for colleges and universities, but are often funding institutions that are opposed to their values. Higher education donors should consider where to direct their giving, other than just their alma mater.

Equity and inclusion

Internal university assessments are succumbing to the bureaucratic jargon that obfuscates, rather than facilitates, a healthy learning environment.

Checking our moral self-satisfaction

For those in the philanthropic business of “doing good,” it’s especially important to understand the limits of human goodness.

A meritocracy without merit

The biggest crisis facing higher education is a consumerized understanding of students who seek credentialing above all else, and colleges that will sell themselves to the highest bidder.

First, do no harm

Why we should adopt the Hippocratic Oath as the first rule of philanthropy.

Dangers of abstraction: when we prefer “possible realities” to “real possibilities”

Philanthropists would do best not to aspire to the grandeur of abstractions. Instead of pouring their energies into utopian pursuits, they should focus on what is practicable and realistic.

The government shutdown is an opportunity for self-reflection

The government shutdown is a good opportunity for taxpayers to think carefully about what they are getting for their money. Likewise, it’s a good opportunity for those invested in nonprofits to think about the relationship between their funding and the services they provide.

Philanthropic busybodies

Philanthropy seems borne of the impulse to “do good” and “get involved.” But this impulse comes with its own set of dangers.

The air we breathe: understanding the relationship between private and public sectors

How has the modern state affected the role of intermediary civil institutions in our society?

A case for funding the arts

While the public and personal goods produced by funding the arts can’t be properly measured, there’s a case to be made in its support.