Cathedral Round-Up: Harvard’s New President

Cathedral Round-Up: Harvard’s New President

Looks like Dean Faust is stepping down and Lawrence Bacow is stepping up. Bacow has an S.B. in economics from MIT, a J.D. from Harvard Law, and an M.P.P. and Ph.D. from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

 

I don’t know much about Bacow, but I’m sure I’ll learn once he takes over writing Faust’s column in Harvard Magazine. Overall he looks like a “safe” (ie dull) choice. His work at Tufts involved a expanding financial aid (Harvard already has extremely good financial aid, so there’s not much to do there) and diversity initiatives.

Bridget Terry Long, Economist, Dean of HGSE

Harvard has a couple of other newcomers. Economist Bridget Terry Long will be the new dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Long’s CV is long (no pun intended) and filled with the sorts of awards and commiittee memberships appropriate to an Ivy League striver, like the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Long’s research focuses on getting more poor and dumb (excuse me, unprepared) students into college. I don’t have time to review her entire corpus, but I read her most recent paper, “Does Remediation Work for All Students? How the Effects of Postsecondary Remedial and Developmental Courses Vary by Level of Academic Preparation.” (Co-author: Angela Boatman.) The paper is fine, if rather oddly written (by my standards.)

[Results: placing borderline low-performing students into first-level remedial classes in the University of Tennessee system may be worse than just letting them try their best in regular courses; but really dumb kids actually do benefit from remedial courses. Obvious Conclusions that I didn’t see directly stated: Cut-off score for inclusion in remedial classes in U of Tenn system is too high.]

Long’s research looks fine; I don’t think it’s bad to look at whether a remedial program is actually helping students or whether a financial aid program is working (aside from my conviction that students who can’t do college-level work don’t belong in college.) It’s not exactly groundbreaking work, though. Harvard has plenty of folks like Reich and Pinker who are paving new intellectual (and technical ground); Long’s research seems underewhelming by comparison.

 

Tomiko Brown-Nagin, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard

Tomiko Brown-Nagin has been tapped to lead the Radcliffe Institute. From Harvard Mag’s article about her:

Brown-Nagin, who holds a J.D. from Yale Law School and a Ph.D. in history from Duke, is best known for her contributions to the history of the civil-rights movement. Her 2011 book Courage to Dissent: Atlanta and the Long History of the Civil Rights Movement won the Bancroft Prize for U.S. history, and is widely regarded as a definitive text on the legal and social history of civil rights in the United States. Her current book project explores the life of Constance Baker Motley, an African-American lawyer, judge, and politician who was an attorney in Brown v. Board of Education. …

Brown-Nagin is a sophisticated, nuanced thinker on the significance of diversity and representation in democratic institutions. In a recent Columbia Law Review article titled “Identity Matters: The Case of Judge Constance Baker Motley,” she wrote:

“Motley did endorse greater representation of women and racial minorities in the judiciary. Her argument for diversity on the bench did not turn on the view that women and people of color have a different voice or would reach different or better decisions than white men. Motley advocated judicial diversity because, she believed, inclusion reinforced democracy. By affirming openness and fairness, the mere presence of women and racial-minority judges built confidence in government. …”

Radcliffe is a women’s college that Harvard officially absorbed in 1999; the Radcliffe Institute came with it. According to Wikipedia:

The Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard shares transformative ideas across the arts, humanities, sciences, and social sciences. The Institute comprises three programs:

The Radcliffe Institute hosts public events, many of which can be watched online. It is one of the nine member institutions of the Some Institutes for Advanced Study consortium.

What’s new at Yale?

5 thoughts on “Cathedral Round-Up: Harvard’s New President

  1. GM buying out a battery company to get battery tech.

    Hmmm..
    Radcliffe Institute. Harvard diversity takeover? Cheaper than recruiting?

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    • Radcliffe was founded as “Harvard for women” with Harvard professors teaching right from the start, but when Harvard started accepting women, it stopped making sense to keep them separate. They formally merged back in 1977.

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  2. Along with all this, there’s no better example of the Harvard Zeitgeist than its choice of Congressman John Lewis for commencement speaker this year.

    Okay, maybe having Hillary speak (which they also did).

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  3. Check out Bakow on Wikipedia. He’s got the proper Holocaust credentials for a Harvard prof and admin: mother the only family survivor of Hitler, father’s family pogrommed by white Christians … wash, rinse, repeat.

    He will fit right in with the other profs and SJWs.

    I doubt he is interested in preserving the Rights of Englishmen: speech, assembly, petitioning the government, self-defense, etc.

    As a kid of immigrant parents from Eastern Europe all of those Rights smack of Cossacks and Russian peasant mobs.

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