Leading Voices in Higher Education: Jonathan Cole Lecture

Leading Voices in Higher Education: Jonathan Cole Lecture

September 1, 2019 3 By Ronny Jaskolski


[ Music ]>>First of all I want to thank
Provost Holt and Professor Folt and Professor Wohlforth. I know from one experience
that actually no one outside of a university knows what a
provost is including my mother who for years asked
me what a provost did. But Professor Wohlforth, I must say that you have
the most fabulous title. I consider this the Daniel
Webster professor of government. I just think about
that for a moment. A former political
scientist teacher of mine who became a friend would
have said that the only title that could possibly beat the one that you currently hold is
the Jack Daniel’s professor of political science
and since he never got that I think you have
the– you win the prize. Seriously I– it’s really a
pleasure to be back to Darmouth. I say back to Darmouth. I’ve never taught here. I visited here many summers
trying to get a little bit of education from your libraries
and other things while my family and I are vacationed in Vermont but it is particularly
a pleasure to be part of this series of Leading
Voices in Higher Education. Now I there are going to
be two parts to this talk. The first and early part of
the talk is an elaboration on, you know some of the
things that are in this book and I gather a lot of you have
read it so I’m going to try to move through that
fairly quickly but at least it gives others the
sense of what it is that lead to the preeminence of
American research universities. But I also want to touch on– because it is part of my
next book and it’s not going to be longer than this,
I promise you, you know. It will be considerably shorter. I want to touch briefly
on the normative idea of what great universities ought
to look like 30 years from now and why I think a
great deal of change is in order even among the greatest
of American universities. So let me begin. When most educated
Americans think about great universities
they don’t think that lasers, F.M. radio, magnetic
resonance imaging, global positioning systems,
bar codes, the Richter scale, the algorithm for Google,
they probably know about, the fetal monitor,
the pap smear, cures for childhood
leukemia, the discovery of the insulin gene,
all have their origins at America’s great universities;
as well as the nicotine patch, antibiotics, wacky ballz
and nanotechnology, the origins of computers,
bioengineering through the discovery
of recombinant DNA, they too have their origins at
America’s great universities, nor are they aware that
improved weather forecasting, scientific agriculture, methods
for surveying public opinion, the concept of congestion
pricing, of human capital, the self fulfilling
prophecy were borne at research universities. Indeed I should say
that probably they know that Gatorade came from
the University of Florida but they had no idea that
the electric toothbrush, the Heimlich maneuver
from Cornell, and Viagra had their origins at
America’s great universities. Now most members of the
educated public think of these universities in
terms of undergraduate and professional education;
in terms of the teaching and the transmission
of knowledge rather than the creation
of new knowledge. And I think that
this point of view that they have is
completely understandable. They are concerned about the
education of their children, of their grandchildren
or they relate to their own educational
experiences which are predominantly
that of undergraduate or professional education. But in fact, what I
argue in my book is that what has made our
universities the greatest in the world and we
dominate that set of the great universities
is in fact not the quality of undergraduate
education or our ability to transmit knowledge
as important as that is, and I want to underscore
that and I will in a moment but our ability to fulfill one
of the other central missions of great universities and
that is the production of new knowledge
through discoveries that change our lives and those of other people throughout
the world. I told a story in my book of how these great universities
became the greatest engine of innovation and discovery that the world I
believe has ever known. That includes the work that was
done in 17th century England. How this has been achieved
in a short period of time and how they are
today under threat. Now what evidence do I have? Let me be very, very
quick about this. First of all, in all of the
surveys that had been done of great universities and these
are mostly subjective surveys that are built also around
certain objective indicators as well, American universities
have 80 of the top 20, 75 percent of the top
50, and 60 percent of the top 100 universities
in the world. In contrast, for example is
not one Russian university in the top 75, not
one Chinese university by their own reckoning by
the way in the top 200. And there is not one German
university in the top 50. Now there are other
indicators of course as well. Since the Second
World War 60 percent of all Nobel Prizes have gone to
Americans or people who studied in America, work in
America, migrated to America, and did their work that won
the Nobel in the United States. Also if you analyze citation or
impact factors papers published in various journals,
you will find that while we don’t
produce more papers, in fact than the
aggregate number of European nations we do
have far and away those papers that have the largest
impact on their fields. In short, American universities, research universities have
become the envy of the world and because many of t brightest and most talented young people
want to attend them and work at them they represent, that
is the universities represent collectively perhaps the
only American industry with a favorable
balance of trade. Now, what has produced
this distinction? Let me talk a little
bit about when it began. Most people think that
it goes back to 1636 and the origins of Harvard. Actually Harvard
wasn’t even the first. A failed university preceded
Harvard but I, Identify and I think it’s fair to
identify the beginning of research universities in
this country as occurring and beginning really, 100
years after the signing of the Declaration of
Independence with the opening of the doors of Johns
Hopkins in 1876. Hopkins was the first true
American research library. It was a pathfinder but I should
add there was no consensus in the last quarter of the 19th
century and the first quarter of the 20th century
about what a university, a great university,
should look like. In fact many of the
great leaders of American universities
disagreed enormously about what a university
should look. Hutchins, Robert
Hutchins of the University of Chicago whom I
admire enormously as one of the great leaders
in the history of American higher education
had a completely different idea. He didn’t believe that a researcher should
have faculty appointments. They should actually operate
outside of the university. He lost. He didn’t win. That’s not the way
of the University of Chicago ever became organized and it’s not the way the
great universities have been organized. In fact what happened in the United States was a
hybrid really and a challenge to the Germans and the British
by amalgamating what was best in the German university
system which was the research that was being done there
and which had become the envy of the leaders of
American higher education who had traveled abroad
a great deal on this sort of traveling fellowships
that were sponsored by The Rockefeller Foundation and a number of other
foundations. And the kind of research
that was being done, the serious scholarship
that was being done at these German universities
and that was amalgamated with of course the British
college system particularly that at Oxford in Cambridge. But we built on that model and I think we improved
upon it on that. We had a hybrid system but
it was far more democratic. It was far less hierarchical
than those universities were, far more democratic in
almost every conceivable way. As Hopkins became more and more
powerful and stronger as an idea about how a university
ought to be run and to contain great
researchers they began to poach on other universities and one of the first universities
they liked to poach on most was Harvard. For a while they were
able to do that but– I was about to say George Eliot. It shows you that there is
a humanist in me somewhere but Charles Eliot, the
great leader of Harvard in the late 19th century,
in the 20th century had said of the German system, that emphasized research they
would fit Harvard fresh “about as well as a barnyard
with [inaudible]. However, as Harvard began to
lose key faculty to Hopkins and more and more
were going, Eliot, wise as he was changed his tune and changed the structure
of the university. Now what was some of the
other factors that led to the, the growing preeminence
of American universities in the late 19th and
early 20th century? First there was the sense
that scientism was growing. It wasn’t all to the good
but it was certainly, because there was all
kinds of Darwinism. There was a work at– you know
it really fit in beautifully with the gilded age
and all those people who had made their great
fortunes at the end of the 19th century
believing that they like spencer would have told
them they were the survivors because they were the fittest. But this idea that science
held great potential as well as technology led more
and more Americans to adopt the scientific
perspective and to believe in science as opposed to experts which were coming
out of the ministry. In 1862, the federal government for the first time really
got involved in universities and we now have 150th
anniversary this year of the passage of the moral act which happened during
the Civil War which Abraham Lincoln signed. It would never have
gotten passed by the way had any
south not seceded because they would have
had the votes to block it and they would have blocked it, but because of this
is a Civil War. They were no longer
part of the Senate and the House of
Representatives. It did pass and as you know the
Morrill act introduced the idea of land grant institutions
and really was the beginning of the great state university
systems throughout the United States. Now some had existed already
like the University of Michigan but if you go to most of
the state university systems that grew up afterwards,
they were result of grants of land that– huge
[inaudible] of land, by the way. They were sold off in part in
order to build the structures that are now the
state universities in each of these places. There was also another element
which led to this pre eminence, a fierce competitiveness
to be the best. And this is a light motif
throughout the entire century, the competition, the
fierce competition for the best talent among
these various universities. So as you are familiar with what
Harper did at the University of Chicago, of course
with Rockefeller money, but when he came in he started
to raid eastern universities and Clark University which was
an aspiring and up and coming– a young university, as you
know is the first place that Freud did his lecturing
in the United States. It was raided by Chicago. They took 15 of their best
faculty which was some chunk of faculty and it
really was never– Clark was really
never just the same. Look out of all of these and
I have gone to more detail in the book, there was a merger,
a compact between society and these universities. The government would provide
resources and autonomy from government control, the universities would
provide more skilled and well-trained labor,
better educated citizens who could participate
in a democratic process and discoveries that
would change our lives. There were yet other factors. There was a complicated
set of forces, a part of which you can only
see as they were embedded in American society and how
American society was growing but out of that society
came a set of core values that were incredibly
important for greatness. I discussed 12 of them in
the book but I only want to touch really on 4 here this
afternoon because I want to get on with it as it were. A lot of these have
their origins in, by the way 17th century
British science. So there is a link between
17th century science, humanism, rationalism, and the
university normative structure of the 20th century. And the first of these core
values is universalism, what we might call meritocracy. And that is that individuals
should be judged on the basis of the quality of their work not
on any ascribed characteristics such as gender, nationality,
social origin, or race. Now I should say immediately
that all of these are ideals and we haven’t yet fully
realized these ideals. But they are aspirational
and they are things that we are trying to
move forward towards, I think we have moved forward a
great deal towards meritocracy. The second value is
equally important and that is organized
skepticism. And that is an incessant
questioning of claims to facts and truths. Universities should be the one
institution in the United States if none other, there
should be others but there really
aren’t any others where any idea can have its day
in the marketplace of ideas. It doesn’t matter how
radical on the right or on the left that
idea may have. It should be able to be
discussed but simultaneously with an openness to radical
ideas should be a conservatism about the methodology that
is used and the standards that are used to
determine whether or not that idea has any fact
value or truth value at all. And that is one of the things,
a very interesting combination which operated within
the American system and which helped
propel it forward. Third, there should be free
and open communication of ideas and if you think that
isn’t a problem just think about the ways in
which the government over the last decade
including recently has tried to actually stop open
communication of ideas and has tried to limit certain
papers that are published and take out certain kinds
of sections of those papers. A fourth I believe,
it’s the fourth value and then I will move on is free
inquiry and academic freedom. In some ways I leave that to
last because I challenge any of you about an educational
system that is operated at a high level of quality,
a very high level of quality, truly a great system that
does not have academic freedom and free inquiry. I know that Louis Menand was
here and he talked to you and he has written
some wonderful essays on academic freedom. And in those essays among other
things he talks about the ways in which academic freedom
is not a privilege but is at the very foundation
of the organization and the structure
of universities. It’s essential for our ability
to release our imaginations, challenge established
orthodoxy and prevailing views in science and society. It lies at the very heart
of the way we are organized. And finally I’ll just
mention peer review because peer review is
incredibly important in taking out of the hands of presidents
and trustees the ability to hire and fire and promote faculty
members and put it in the hands of the experts within the field. Okay, when you add to these, these set of elements
you have a set of values and an emerging structure which was pretty much
set by the early 1930s. Then you had one other factor
that was enormously important and that was the growth
and birth of big science. And you could not
have had big science without the government
getting involved in the funding of science. And up until the
Second World War, and we know that
the Second World War of course produced the atomic
bomb which was heralded as this fantastic feat in
the New York Times the day after Hiroshima believe
it or not. But there were other things
like the development of radar and anti submarine warfare
and a whole series of others. Computers, which came
out of the war effort. It was big science. In fact Vannevar Bush, no relation to the
latter day Bushes, but who was extraordinarily
important in producing a science
policy that more than anything else determined
the future of the universities as they related to research
at the universities. He was in charge of more
people during the war than was any president of
any university at t time. And even some of the people who
worked for him were in charge of hundreds and hundreds of people working
on the war effort. After the war successfully
concluded, President Roosevelt when they knew it was imminent,
President Roosevelt called Bush in and said, you know, “What’s
going to happen after the war?” And Bush said, “All hell
is going to break loose.” The science is going to want to
go back to their laboratories, the small laboratories
and they’re going to want to do little science. To many of them, disheartened
by what happened at Los Alamos and the use of the bomb in the
war and they are going to want to go back to be
another kind of science. And he said that would
produce a catastrophe. Roosevelt told Vannevar Bush, he
said, “Okay, I want you to write down a series of questions in
a letter that will come from me to you asking you to
formulate, that is Bush, to formulate a post war policy.” And he did and it was in
the form of a treatise which I recommend to
all of you to read. You can just read the preface. It’s only 10 pages. It’s called science,
the endless frontier. If you had not read
it, you really should. The elements of that can be
summarized very, very quickly and briefly but it made
all the difference. One was, and for the first time in our history we
used taxpayer dollars to support the growth
of knowledge. Until then private
foundations have been doing it but we had not used
taxpayer dollars. Bush wanted to establish a
national science foundation that would be endowed,
heavily endowed. What actually came to pass
was a compromise in 1950, the National Science Foundation,
and the reorganization of the national institutes of
health which took place in 1948. Other issues that were
critically important was a decision by Bush to
outsource science to the universities
and to the colleges. He was not going to create
national laboratories. He wasn’t going to keep national
laboratories as the focal point for research but he was going to use the newly
developed peer review system to determine what were
the best proposals and those best proposals
would be funded by the federal government
as contracts or grants from the federal government
and they would be worked on at university settings and that’s why you have this
enormous explosion in the 1960s of the sciences and the budgets
for science and technology. Linked to that because
[inaudible] universities was the very close, close parallel
between graduate education and teaching and research
because the people who were really running the
laboratories were the graduate students and the post
doctoral fellows. And increasingly we even
had undergraduates coming in to do research. That made a huge difference. If you look at France
today or if you look at Germany today these functions
are separated fundamentally. And there is no competitive
structure like the peer review system. Much of the problems that Europe
has today in terms of its system of higher education has
to do with the absence of the very things that we
built and that is high levels of competitiveness,
rewards for– and recognition for
high performance and productivity
using the universities as the base for research. Okay, one other element
then I will turn to the second real
part of the talk. A lot of this was brewing
in the United States. The United States in the 1930s and the early 40s was building
great, young scientists. They were building
an infrastructure that was supporting
great, young scientists so that physicists
for example like I.I. Rabi at Columbia would say look
we can match our younger talent with any of the best
younger talent anywhere in the world including
Germany, including France, including all those
European nations. But what we lacked
was leadership, and how can we get leadership that would really
show us direction? Well it was rather fortuitous
for us and tragic for the rest of the world that Hitler came
to power in January 1933. By April 1933 he had
purged almost three quarters of the physics community, half
of the theoretical physicists, but it wasn’t only the
scientists that he purged, everyone who could get out because they had
the wrong religion or the wrong ideological
set of persuasions got out if they could and these
included people who saw it early like Albert Einstein, but other
physicists like Leo Szilard, the person who was a
physicist turned biologist who revolutionized biology, Max
Delbruck, the social scientist, Paul Lazarsfeld, Hans Bethe,
Enrico Fermi, Theodor Adorno, Thomas Mann, Bertolt Brecht,
Mies van der Rohe, Bela Bartok. It was an extraordinary
group of artists, writers, as well as scientists. The scientists were
extraordinary well used by the United States. People like Bethe
didn’t just come. During the depression by the way
when there were very few jobs at universities,
he didn’t just come and get placed wherever
he wanted to go. They matched Bethe up and
his skills with the people who needed him most and they
decided that the young people at Cornell needed him the most
and they put him in Cornell. They knew that he
could go anywhere and there would be this
roving seminar of physicists around the United States
as there indeed was but they located him at Cornell and he helped build the
Cornell physics department into a great physics department. Now look I won’t even talk
about the economic impact of these universities but
very few of us look at the way in which we influence the
immediate Economic surroundings of– us in our states. There are some institutions
who are very mindful of these and you can guess
who those might be; Stanford because
of Silicon Valley; MIT because of what it
does, and the University of California actually does a
pretty good job of it as well. But if you use Stanford as
just one example, the companies that have been swarmed by
its faculty, its graduates, alumni and its former students
there are 2400 companies that were spawned by 2008
and they had at 2008– they had generated 255 billion
dollars of total revenue just from the Silicon
Valley firms themselves. And that would have
made them something like the 12th largest
economy in the world. Okay, so here we are. We are great. We rose to preeminence. We are on the top of the world. We are really there and that’s
exactly where we are today. I’ve been to China, they
are trying desperately to be players. They want to be contenders. They want to win
their– nothing more than they want to
win Nobel Prizes. They want to– you know
just like they want to win in the Olympics. They want to win
in universities. They have this enormous
population with tremendous potential
and human capital and yet they don’t have any
of the great universities. I’ve been there. They wanted me to
help build one and yet they don’t have
the values yet in place to build great universities. So we face a significant paradox and that’s what will
be the take off point for what I think we
should do in the future. You know we are the kings
and queens of the mountain and why don’t we just wait until
aspirants come up the mountain and try to displace us from
the top and sit on our laurels and say look we’ve
produced this great system, why do we have to change. And I am going to argue in
the next book and I want to talk a little bit about the
threats to universities today and what I think are some of the
things that will need to be done or ought to be done because
I am not a prognosticator and don’t want to even try to prognosticate what
universities are going to look like 30 years from now, because
I know I’ll be dead wrong. So I much rather deal with
this under normative level of what they ought to look
like and I’ll tell you a few of my thoughts on that. But we face this paradox. We are the best in the world
and yet there is a feeling, there is an uneasy feeling
among us, “if we’re so good, why do we feel so bad?” And why is there a growing
belief that our system of higher learning is at
risk and maybe even incapable of fulfilling its part of
its compact with the nation? And I want to talk about
that, the challenges and what we might think
about doing and opening up a national conversation
and 100 years later about what great universities
ought to look like 30 years from now or 25 years from now. The first thing that many people
think about when they think about threats to the
universities today, they think about
global competition. They think about China. They think about India. They think about other rising
nations whether it be Latin America, Brazil or
those other places. The fact of the matter is
this just doesn’t bother me in the least it doesn’t
worry me in the least. First of all I think it’s going
to be a long time, maybe 20– 25 years before they are capable of building their own
great universities. And by the way, the
day that they are able to build their own great
universities will be the starting point of the
decline of NYU Shanghai because they are not going
to allow the best university in China to have the first
three letters be NYU. They will just, you know they
will just take the money away and build their own university. That’s why there is an ill
conceived idea quite frankly and I have told their
president as much. But I don’t worry about
global competition basically for another reason. It would be good if we had
great universities in China. It would be great for
the growth of knowledge. It would help us in
a competitive way try to solve more rapidly
problems that are vexing to us, and we have not been able
to find cures for diseases, technological innovations that
we have not been able to do. With competition from abroad
and by the way linkages on an individual level have
existed across countries for several generations
basically would not be bad for the United States and it certainly would not
be bad for those countries. So even if they should be
able to compete I don’t think that it would be a bad
thing for us at all. So if it’s not these
foreign competitions that we should worry
about, what is it? And some of you are, I
can see probably of my age so therefore old enough to
have heard of Walt Kelly, the cartoonist, and his famous
cartoon character, Pogo, who said famously in
one of his cartoons and I paraphrase Kelly’s
wonderful character, he says, the enemy is us, or we have
met the enemy and he is us. And so what I really believe is that the enemy is the United
States itself and that if we don’t solve the threats from within then
we have a chance of losing what we have already
gained and not being able to achieve the maximum potential
that these universities can. When I say threats
I don’t mean threats that we become second,
third rate overnight. What I’m saying by threats is that there is enormous there
is just an enormous area between the top level
the maximum of what these universities can
do and where we currently are. And that gap is we
should be on a slope to reaching that maximum. But we could be on a slope where
we’re not only not reaching it but we could be declining. So it’s a threat to
our not being able to meet our full potential. The threats come from
the federal government. They come from the state
government, and they come from ourselves, the
universities. I want to go through
them in that order. And I’ll just tick them off
briefly because I’ve written about them in the
book and those of you who have read it have
seen some of this. First of all there are threats
from anti terrorist legislation, the USA Patriot Act has begin–
begun to impose restrictions on research at universities
which are non tenable. And which have actually gotten
people out of the business who are doing research. I will give you 2 examples. If you are a researcher and
you would like to invite into your laboratory a
student from Iran or from Cuba and there is not a
scintilla of evidence that that person represents, that young person
represents a security risk. You cannot do that and
you cannot do that at risk of being indicted
and put into prison. If they so much as step
into your laboratory. The FBI wants to know where
every single piece of material that could potentially be
use by a bioterrorist is and where it is moved. The FBI has actually been
around campuses an awful lot. The FBI had gone into
libraries and they have asked for the records of
students and faculty members about what they read and
what they do not read. What their e-mail
records are like. And they have gag orders,
which do not allow librarians to tell the people who are
under investigation that they’re in fact under investigation. So there’s no way
of them responding. If the gag order is broken the
librarians also can be indicted. But the threat to research of– to people who are working to
make– find cures for diseases and for viruses and bacteria
that could be very harmful and destructive in the
hands of the wrong people and bioterrorists has had
the following the kind of consequences. And Robert Richardson who
is a Nobel Prize winner at Cornell said that
there were 38 laboratories that were working with the so called select agents before
the Patriot Act was passed. 3 years after the
Patriot Act was passed, at Cornell there are only
2 laboratories working on these diseases and as he
said we’ve got a lot less people working on interventions to
vaccinate again smallpox, West Nile virus, anthrax
and 30 other scourges. That’s the kind of– these people who are really
good they don’t have to do this. They don’t have to
put up with it. They can switch [inaudible]
attention. We have very restrictive
visa policies in this country as a result of the so
called war on terror. And that is hurting us
in exactly the place that we need help and which
we have been receiving help, which is to get the best minds
from abroad to study and to work at the universities
particularly in areas which we called STEM
areas Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. We’re not producing enough
in our K through 8 programs to staff great universities. So what we’re doing is we are
importing them to the extent that the government is
not allowing us to import, that we’re making it
extremely difficult to do so, we’re in trouble. And there is the politicization
of science at the federal level and the restrictions
that have been placed on certain scientists
and what they can say and what they can do, we all know about
embryonic stem cell research and the limitation
on stem cell lines. We know about the way
the government has tried to muscle Jim Hansen from
talking “truth” and facts about global climate change. We know that they’ve
changed website at the CDC about the female
reproductive health issues. And in fact have taken
off of their site the idea that condoms can
actually be of value in preventing the
transmission of HIV AIDS. And they have put up instead
abstinence is the only way in which to do this, as
if that is going to work. They have to tried to compromise
the peer review system and they have tried to
invade academic freedom in a variety of ways. All of which I go
into in the book. Now at the state level, there
is real trouble in paradise. And if paradise is represented
by the State University of California, and that
system and the great system, the three-tiered system
which was better in its ideal than in its practice
I might say, but none the less an
enormously important idea for social mobility
in this country. These universities whether it be
in Arizona, Florida, Wisconsin, in Michigan they are being
dismantled by the kind of stringency and the cutbacks
in budgets that are going on in those states,
20 percent per year for the last several years. So that the University of
Michigan almost gets no money from the state, it’s
like about 8 percent of its total budget
goes to the university. They would like to go private
by the way, buy themselves out. But of course that is
not going to happen. But think of the cascading
effects for the University Of California of these cuts. You have non competitive
salary, so the people like me or the people in
my equivalent role like our provost here is saying
publicly what a terrible, terrible thing that is
going on in California. And meanwhile we’re standing
there like vultures waiting for these people to say, come
I like to come to Dartmouth or I love to come to Columbia
and we love to pick them off one by one with their talent. And with their talent comes
great graduate students, great post doctoral
students, government funding, discoveries that
change the world. And consequently there
is a cascading effect, for every single academic job,
every laboratory job there are 3 to 5 additional jobs
in the service industry and various other
kinds of things which are lost every time one of those terrific
faculty members leaves with their grants. Okay, so there are
enormous economic problems and I’ll leave it at that. There are problems
internally of another kind. The commercialization of
youth– of intellectual property and the conflicts of interest
that are potentially there between faculty members
and their roles as link to pharmaceutical firms
and other industries, things which universities have to shape extra ordinarily
stringent policies about to avoid conflict
of interest going on. By the way if there’s
any norm of science that has been a bridge
significantly in the 21st century it
is the norm of what used to be called communism that
is to say that the idea that you didn’t own any
of your work it was part of the public domain. Your work was to be
handed over to the public and you were not supposed to benefit financially
from that work. We’ll boy that is
gone, that is gone. I mean we have Nobel
Prize winners at Columbia who have earned 50-60 million
dollars off their patents and they are not patents related to the Nobel Prize
work by the way. But– and the university
has benefited as well. So the point is it’s not as if
the university hasn’t opened up new streams of revenue
that we like but with that comes the threat
that that boundary that is extra ordinarily
important between industry and its values and
the university and its values could
be permeated. It is something that we
really do have to worry about. But there are other
internal problems like the rich getting richer. I mean think of Harvard’s
endowment, I really, I [inaudible] for them. And suppose it doubles
every 7 years, and Columbia’s doubles
every 7 years. They have 32 billion,
we have 7 billion. And so we have 14
and they have 64. They have 128 and you
know and we have 32, and that number keeps
getting bigger, and bigger. And the threat is that you
get an English type system where Oxford and Cambridge
dominate all others, so you get 2 or 3 or
4 or 5 universities in the United States, I
could probably name the 5, that have all the money
in the world to use. The others like the University
of Chicago, Pennsylvania, Columbia and others as
a farm system basically. Now is that good for the system
and I would argue it’s not good for the system, although there
may be some inherent limitations to it. Okay, so let me talk in the time
that remains which is limited about some of the things which
I think we ought to think about, whether– if you’re
doing strategic planning or you’re writing a
book about the future of American great universities. First of all there has to be
something that’s going to have to be done about the economics
of these universities, I mean about the cost
structures of them. Dartmouth, Columbia, they’re on
the edge and probably can do it. They can survive because so
many people want to be here. They want to go here and they
are willing to pay a price to do so if they’re in that
middle class group. Of course if they are
poor and they come here, they are probably getting out
with less in the way of loans than kids who go to
universities that are private but not as well endowed. It’s that second
tier of universities that don’t have any endowments. They can’t keep raising their
tuition 5 percent a year compounding all of that and
expect the people are going to continue to pay
and pay and pay when there are alternatives
to that. So the question of whether
or not universities except for a very, very small
number and I’m not talking about the hundred or 150. At a very small number of
them can actually survive with the current cost structure
without creating efficiencies of varius kinds as well as
maintaining or enhancing quality at the same time
is an open question and certainly the
publishers have found out that they didn’t
have a solution when along comes technology like
Amazon and the rest in small, you know, bookstores and the
like have gone out of business. So we know that the
music industry, the book publishing industries
all of these have blown up basically because of
advances in technology that they really didn’t
think about hard enough, when they were beginning. So much has to be thought about
and done with the economics of higher education and I would like to say a few
things about that. In the context of the fact that
I think that the structures that worked for the 20th
century do not necessarily work for the 21st century. In other words when we were
building disciplines we have to bore deeply down
into those disciplines. And out of that came enormous
amount of detail knowledge that was extra ordinarily
valuable. But as we try to attacked
problems that are complex and a very difficult and are
nherently multi disciplinary, we cannot hold on to
the ossified structures that we have built over
the last 50 to 75 years. You cannot expect to
see 20 years from now or 30 years a building
called the chemistry building or the philosophy building. They are going to be
buildings which are going to bring people together
in multi disciplinary roles to solve big problems. That does not mean that they
won’t have extra ordinary in depth knowledge. That they will not have not
learned their discipline, but they will have learned
the new foreign languages of our time, which is to know
enough and to learn enough about other fields, so
that they can collaborate with equally great scholar in
those fields, to work together to try to solve problems
that are inherently complex and require 5, 6, 7 or
8 different disciplines. So I think the structures
have to be rethought. We have to think about how we’re
going to provide opportunities for young people regardless
of their economic background. We know that the probability
of graduating from college if you’ve gotten in
college and you come from a poor background is about
half of what it is if you come from a wealthy background. So even those kids who come from
poor background and they’re able to go to college have a
much lower probability of success once the their–
that success is just in terms of graduation rates,
than those kids who come from wealthy backgrounds. We also have to think about
institutional differentiation. There is room for Dartmouth’s
and Rockefeller Universities. We have 4500 colleges
and universities in this country Dartmouth
is certainly one of the great universities. So it’s part of a
very, very small set. But they don’t all have to
be alike, they don’t all and they shouldn’t all
be doing the same thing. But we have to be highly
selective about what we’re going to choose to do and what
we’re going to emphasize. If you can get as I’ve
heard young people who are undergraduate
working in laboratories on research that’s an enormous
contribution to the system. Because we know that young
people who actually do work on research projects have the
best experiences in college. They are most likely
to go on and do work that involves research. And they just get turned
on by the experience. You do an awful lut of that
here as well as producing a lot of really good, important
new knowledge, you do it in your
medical school, you did it in your
graduate schools. Now if I had time but
I’m going to skip it, I would say the following
a few and it’s that I would completely
change the admissions process at these schools. Now, you might think this is– that we are moving
towards meritocracy. And I think what we’re doing
is we’re moving towards the convergence on one or two
types of intelligence. What we are doing is we are
building into our system, a reward structure that
rewards first of all compliance. As you’re never– were a bad boy or bad girl you never
had an off year. You never did poorly in one subject otherwise your
guidance counselor tells you forget about Dartmouth you
can’t get into Dartmouth. So, we have a lot of goody
goody kids but we don’t have as many quirky kids
and we don’t have– I mean, Allen Ginsberg the
great poet could never get into Columbia today believe me,
there’s no way in the world. He, I think only got
a C or a D in physics when he was a sophomore
at Brooklyn tech. And, we should have room
and places for these kinds of multiple intelligences
to get together. First of all it’s a more
exciting experience for them, it’s a more exciting
experience for the professors and better problem
solving we know comes out of this interaction than
getting 8 people in a room who all have the same
kind of intelligence and who eventually will work at
the best law firms in New York or at Goldman Sachs because
that’s the kind of intelligence, [inaudible] intelligence. It is– I want to tell
you it’s an important type of intelligence but it is not
by any means the only one. Now, in order to change the
structures beyond admissions, what I will talk about in
my book will be the creation of what I call new academic
rather than sports leagues. And that is the age
of fierce competition, of free agency has
got to slow down. We have got to begin to
have cooperative strategies beyond libraries. We managed to be
able to cooperate on sharing libraries
amazingly well but we don’t share
people very well and we don’t share
curriculum very well. And as I told a couple of
people here already, I once– I once suggested, this was
not tongue in cheek I mean, the tongue in cheek
part of my suggestion to the Princeton provost
was that I was going to do a leverage buy out of
Princeton I had all the debt and he had all the assets
so I figured I was– he was right for a takeover bid. [Laughter] But that
didn’t work very well. So, I decided to go to the
second best opportunity which was to propose that we
both had history departments that were in the top
5 in the country. Let’s merge the graduate
history departments. And overnight we would double
the number of historians from about 50 a piece
to about a hundred. We would allow students
to take courses in either of the 2 universities, these
were graduate students, this is before technology as
it is today and will certainly, 10 years from now, allow
undergraduates also to take courses in either place. But I was thinking in
terms of graduate students and then they could
have thesis advisers or they could have
laboratory advisers, et cetera, in either of the place. And in fact some people might
like to live in New York for a year and others might like
to live in bucolic Princeton and so we would even you
know, exchange professors and they would exchange
apartments and stuff like that. And that provost thought
this was a terrific idea. The president of the university
didn’t think it was so terrific because he thought we
might steal their– you know, their alumni,
their wealthy alumni. So, but otherwise he thought
it was a pretty good idea. And they said we’ll take it to
the faculty that’s what you do. There was not one faculty member
in the department of history at Princeton that was for this. And I’m telling you that is
going to be one of the problems that we’re going to face. I’m a faculty member now, I just
finished teaching 3 courses, I loved– I loved it,
I love the students. But I can tell you, you put 2
faculty members together they become very conservative. And the question is how is
the governing structure going to change the universities in
such a way to enable change. There’s a one example which is
one of my favorites that I use. A new president came into
teachers college and he saw that there was something like
a hundred and 50 centers, a teachers college, teachers
college is not that big so what do we need
all these centers for? So, he thought he would– well, are they all
doing important work? He spent a year reviewing
every one of these centers before he came
out with his strategic plan. And after a full year he
assembled the faculty, they all sat around in a
big library in the rotunda and he said “I looked
at all these things and there is one
center here that’s been in operation for 35 years. We give it 200,000
dollars a year and as far as I can tell it has not
done anything for 15 years.” And a voice from the
back of the rotunda says “Oh, give it a chance”. [Laughter] So, there’s something
about the nature of universities that actually are
highly conservative. And we’re going to have to find
ways of moving universities that aren’t [inaudible] places. The best universities, in other
words I have a fellow who work– who work for me, with me that
are with me because he was– he is as good as I
was, Michael Crow who then became president
of Arizona State. It was the sleepiest place in
the world and he’d go in there and Michael is full of
ideas full of action and he could just
change the place. It was almost like he was
running a corporation, you know it’s top
down type managing. If you don’t like it leave. And you know, it wasn’t
that he couldn’t go anywhere because they weren’t
doing anything. But the fact of the matter
you can’t do that at places like Dartmouth or Harvard
or Yale whatever it is. So, how are you going to in
fact you know, produce change? Finally, let me say
the following. Teaching and learning are going
to change and they’re going to change in dramatic ways
and they ought to change. But the question is how
are they going to change, and it’s very hard to
predict because who knows where technology is
really going to be. But we can see the
beginnings of it already. We see announcements in the
paper of cooperative strategies between Stanford and the
University of Pennsylvania and Berkeley, Harvard and
MIT on distance learning. Now, this is– distance learning
is going to be giving courses for free, so what does that
do to the economic models? We’re not going to give them
degrees but they’re going to be giving them courses by
absolutely top notch professors. So, the question is what’s
the value added that we get by being here together
interacting with one another. But, one thing we’re going
to see is an inversion of the lecture problem
solving format. And that, if sooner that happens
the better, there are not going to be anymore classes with a
thousand people in Memorial Hall at Harvard listening to
a lecture, being imparted by Confucius the 18th. It’s just not going to
happen, what they’re going to do is they’re going
to get the best person like Sandel teaching
about justice. They’re going to– they’re
going to high-tech this guy, they’re not doing it now
but they’re going to have– this guy’s going to be
as good as the best kind of DVD you ever saw and going
to be able to play in all kinds of music and they’re
going to have– you’ll be able to get videos on everything you can
possibly imagine and beyond because I can’t imagine it. And this guy is much better than
anybody else at Harvard teaching on justice so why should they
go to one of the other people? So, everyone will look at– at their leisure and they can
go back and forth on the DVD so that if they didn’t
get something, they can get it again. They can listen to it again. And they’ll do their problem
solving sets which they used to do outside of class in their
dorm room, they’ll do them in seminar rooms
overseen by professors. So, there’s going to be this
conversion that is going to take place in the way in
which I think teaching is done. And I think it is not a
bad– a bad outcome at all. One thing I have worked
on this past semester, one of the courses I gave
voluntarily was a course co taught with an architect at the
architecture school at Columbia. With 12 extraordinary graduate
students in architecture, and the problem was re
imagining the campus. And we have not re thought
the university campus since Rome’s domes, Oxford
and Cambridge’s, quadrangles, or Harvard and Yale
house and college system, Jefferson’s campus design at
the University of Virginia, the beautiful setting
that you have here, the gorgeous setting
that you have here. And everything has been
horizontal, everything has been at least in cities, keep the hoi
polio out like the McKim, Mead, and White campus at Columbia,
keep the gates closed, keep the people out and
keep only the students in. And you know, the only short
of those pieces of blast that you see in the
Oxford, the walls is about 350 years difference in where they all
started, maybe 600 years. But, in any event this is all
going to change especially for those places that
are building campuses in densely populated areas. Now, a place like Dartmouth’s
I have no idea how much land it has but it’s obviously
in a quasi world setting. And, one of your problems maybe
how far you are removed actually from a large– a
really large city or from other– other campuses. I don’t know how you
think about that, I don’t even know how your
strategic planning people think about– about that. In fact, most American colleges
were by design built outside of the cities or the towns
that they were nearby. That was by choice. They didn’t want to
be in the cities. Well, there are 800
universities being built in China today, 800
new universities. Most of them are in small
cities of 6 million. And the fact of the matter
is they are vertical cities, there’s no space. They don’t have the
space to give them. And so, can one think about
a completely different way in which a campus is– can be organized especially
when technology is going to allow a transformation in
the way people learn and the way in which people teach. That was the subject of this
seminar and this is just going to be the subject of one of
the chapters in the new book. And that is how we
ought to think about campuses going forward
in the– in the future. Okay, let me conclude,
we’re going to need bold and imaginative leadership
at these universities. We’re going to have to
change our great institutions in some very significant
ways I believe. But ways that can improve them
and in fact make them better and cost efficient or
more cost efficient. It’s all possible but
it’s going to take a very, very strong faculty
leadership as well as administrative leadership
and board leadership without reverting back to
the old 19th century model. And there are many, many good
reasons why the United States should be able to maintain
its dominant position among preeminent research
universities. There continues to
be an enormous amount of unrealized potential
as I suggested. I don’t think we have to
fear foreign competition which I don’t believe is eminent but once it emerges I think
it’ll be good for the growth of knowledge and good for
universities worldwide. But there are choices that
we’re going to have to make and we’re going to have
to make them fairly soon. Are we going to build
monuments for example? Who’s going to build the
library the way we used to build the library. Who’s going to build law
library at Columbia, it’s– it’s now an administrative
building, but who’s going to tear it down, it’s
a national monument, literally is a national
monument, you can’t tear it down, but who
needs it for what it is, I mean. So, how should we look at the
architecture of these campuses as they relate and respond to
the way knowledge grows rather than shoveling knowledge
in because we want to build a beautiful building? I mean we do want to build
beautiful buildings but we want to build beautiful
buildings that also respect and understand the way
knowledge is growing. And these choices are
going to be difficult and we’re capable of blowing it. And if we follow the path being
taken by many states in terms of their support of their own
universities we may lose the luster that we have. And this is the great
test I think that we– we face and it remains
an open question of whether we’ll pass it. Thank you.