The editorial board of the The Quad:
David A. Tomar—Chief Magazine Editor
David A. Tomar is an author and journalist who has written extensively on music and education. Tomar catapulted to notoriety with his controversial and eye-opening 2010 article in The Chronicle of Higher Education titled “The Shadow Scholar.” Writing under the pseudonym Ed Dante (a name now committed to perpetuity by its own Wikipedia entry), Tomar highlighted his decade-long career as an academic ghostwriter while simultaneously announcing his retirement from the business.
“The Shadow Scholar” became the most read article in the history of The Chronicle of Higher Education. Although student cheating is nothing new, this article underscored the extent to which student cheating had become a business, in which students paid others to do their work, sometimes for an entire course. Tomar’s revelations led to appearances on ABC World News Tonight, Nightline, and the Today Show. There he shared the ghostwriting business’s trade secrets and attempted to bring greater awareness to this hidden epidemic of student cheating.
Since then, Tomar has focused not just on exposing the broader failures in American education but also on reforming it. Through his full-length 2012 memoir, The Shadow Scholar: How I Made a Living Helping College Kids Cheat (Bloomsbury USA), his consulting work for the International Center for Academic Integrity (ICAI), and his editorial seat at TheBestSchools.org, Tomar is seeking to narrow the gap between the promise of education and its (often dismal) reality.
Tomar has written for The New York Times and is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post as well as editor-in-chief of music blog The Liner Note.
James A. Barham—General Editor of TBS
James A. Barham is the General Editor and President of TheBestSchools.org, and has been with this organization since its inception. Barham’s philosophy of education is twofold. The first aim of education should be to help maximize each individual’s development in moral and intellectual virtue (i.e., to be as good as one can be). The second aim of education should be to safeguard the precious legacy of Civilization bequeathed to each generation by the past in trust for the future.
Born in Dallas, Texas, in 1952, Barham received his B.A. in Classics from the University of Texas at Austin in 1972 and his M.A. in History of Science from Harvard University in 1976. After a long period of time spent outside of academia, including six years living abroad (in France, Greece, and ex-Yugoslavia), he received his Ph.D. in History and Philosophy of Science from the University of Notre Dame in 2011.
Barham’s early interest in classical philology and history of science (especially Byzantine astronomy) gradually gave way to a consuming interest in the conceptual underpinnings of the modern scientific worldview, especially in relation to life and mind. Working as an independent scholar, he began in 1990 to publish a series of papers calling into question the adequacy of neo-Darwinism as an explanatory framework for reducing the manifest teleological and normative features of livings systems to purely mechanistic interactions. This work culminated in his Ph.D. dissertation, Teleological Realism in Biology (University of Notre Dame, 2011).
He is currently working on a monograph entitled The Emergence of Freedom: The Sciences and the Human Spirit After Darwin. Much of Barham’s academic work may be accessed on his personal website.
Rich Tatum—Senior Editor & Media Producer
Rich describes himself as an “accidental technologist” and a curious generalist. He loves great stories, long conversations, and luminous photos—and he still wonders what he’ll be when he grows up!
In 1991, Rich graduated from small, private university in Texas (SAGU) with a B.A. in cross cultural communication. While intending to complete studies toward an M.A. in theological studies, Rich inadvertently founded and presided over an Internet users’ group in Springfield, Missouri—when gopher was still a thing and Netscape was not. This led to subsequent technological adventures including training and supporting 1,000 corporate computer users, to serving as webmaster to a rare, two-letter domain holder (ag.org). While not a technician, Rich’s training in communication helped him put technology to good use.
As a curious generalist, Rich’s work has involved technology, photography, writing, marketing, and public speaking. He led Internet operations and managed an online training initiative for the nation’s largest Evangelical magazine publisher, Christianity Today. At HarperCollins, he served as an editorial manager, marketing operations director, word-of-mouth marketing strategist, and also led a groundbreaking data-visualization project. Rich has spoken at conferences, given interviews to national TV and local radio, has published articles as a freelance writer, has edited bestselling authors, and is a friend to coders, journalists, and geeks of all stripes.
When not keeping busy, Rich prefers to watch old sci-fi shows with his wife and three kids in Muskegon, Michigan, while purposefully neglecting his lawn.
Dan Edelen—Writer, Editor & Marketing Director
Dan writes from the rolling countryside of southwestern Ohio, sandwiched between Amish communities and the sprawling Cincinnati metropolis. A summa cum laude Christian Education graduate of Wheaton College in Illinois, he brings a breadth of experience in technical marketing (Apple Computer), network administration (at NASA Ames Research Center and Procter & Gamble), knowledge management (Synchrony Communications), instructional design (Luxottica), and business and academic writing/editing. Interests include board games, birding, geocaching, and blogging on issues facing the Church in America. Dan resides on a small, organic fruit farm with his wife and teenage son, locked in mortal combat with legions of sap-sucking bugs and myriad fungal pestilences. But then, aren’t we all?
Jennifer Finley—Writer, Editor & Marketing Manager
Jennifer holds a BA in English and an MA in English with an emphasis on technical writing from Wright State University. Upon graduation, she ventured to Okayama, Japan, to teach conversational English to Japanese university students. Back in America, Jennifer then worked for 10 years as a project manager for an IT organization until she and her family moved to Kentucky. After homeschooling their four children for five years, Jennifer joined TBS as an editor, and now serves as marketing manager for The Quad.
Bobby Rich—Senior Content Specialist/Coordinator
Bobby has earned both an MA in Philosophy and an MA in English from the University of Louisville. His interests are wide ranging, and he works and researches with the constant desire to expand his knowledge base and, in the spirit of Buckminster Fuller, avoid over-specialization in favor of expert generalism.
Beth Rich—Content Specialist
Beth has a BA in English Literature with a minor in Nonrofit Studies from Auburn University. She has more than five years of experience in education, teaching and developing curriculum for public schools and nonprofits in subjects ranging from college test prep to art history to animation to English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL). Beth cofounded and formerly served as an educator and executive director for Opus in Louisville, Kentucky, a nonprofit organization aimed at preparing high school students for a successful college career through a comprehensive ACT course. Beth is also a certified yoga instructor and trained birth and postpartum doula, interested in psychosomatic wellness and strengthening the body and mind. In addition to writing for TheBestSchools.org, Beth writes for Queer Kentucky and edits TRANSOM, a poetry journal.