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The Future of Higher Education

26th Social Research Conference, December 8-9, 2011

There has been much discussion recently in the media (the New York Review of Books, for example) lamenting the current state of higher education in the United States. Issues under include the demise of liberal arts education, the enormous increase in the numbers of students, the explosion of off-site campuses around the globe, and the exorbitant cost of undergraduate education. The mission of this conference was to do more than reiterate these issues. It brought together experts from inside and outside the academy, from the United States and abroad, not only to assess what is going on now and what might be intelligently be done to improve higher education today, but what we should be aiming for 20 years from now.

For decades, the growth of knowledge and development of culture and industry was heavily dependent upon what went on inside major research U.S. universities. Today, it is no longer clear that universities will continue to be the dominant site (or model) for the generation of new knowledge.

American higher education experts are being hired as consultants to build new universities in other countries. A desire to infuse American universities with global perspectives has led many U.S. universities to enter into international exchanges and build satellite schools in other countries. What are the benefits and challenges of exporting the U.S. research university to other societies?

These moments provide a unique lens through which to examine why and how the U.S. university is being copied around the world and what other countries are aiming to achieve. They may also offer unique opportunities for university leaders and policymakers to support higher education as a tool of international development, strengthening democratic ideals such as gender equality through civic engagement abroad.

The conference brought together scholars and university presidents from the U.S. with experts from Europe, South Africa, China, India, and the Middle East to explore the changes and challenges facing higher education, discuss the goals and uses of higher education globally, assess and respond to the risks, and develop methods to maximize the opportunities.

Funding for this conference comes from the Ford Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation of NY.

To order the related issue of Social Research: An International Quarterly



Thursday, December 8, 2011


Jamshed Bharucha, President, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Arts Matthew Goldstein, Chancellor, City University of New York Neil Grabois, Dean, Milano School for International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy, The New School for Public Engagement; former Provost, Williams College; President Emeritus, Colgate University Robert Zimmer, President, University of Chicago

Moderator: David Van Zandt, President, The New School

Friday, December 9, 2011


REINVENTING THE RESEARCH UNIVERSITY TO SERVE A CHANGING WORLD James J. Duderstadt, President Emeritus and University Professor of Science and Technology, University of Michigan

IS THERE A NEW MISSION FOR U.S. RESEARCH UNIVERSITIES? Jonathan R. Cole, John Mitchell Mason Professor of the University and Provost and Dean of Faculties, Emeritus, Columbia University

OUTCOMES, TESTING, AND THE ETHICS OF READING Peter Brooks, Professor of Comparative Literature, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Scholar, Princeton University

Moderator: Andrew Delbanco, Julian Clarence Levi Professor in the Humanities, Columbia University

Session 2: Part 2


Vijay Kumar, Senior Associate Dean and Director, Office of Educational Innovation and Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

THE FINANCIAL FUTURE OF RESEARCH UNIVERSITIES Henry S. Bienen, President Emeritus, Northwestern University

Moderator: David Scobey, Executive Dean, The New School for Public Engagement


What is it that the people responsible for creating or transforming offshore universities want? How are they trying to achieve it? What is the role of U.S. universities in all of this? How does the U.S. involvement in these offshore universities affect U.S. universities? What evidence is there that these new institutions promote free inquiry, academic freedom, and gender equality, all important aspects of a democracy?

CHINA John A. Douglass, Senior Research Fellow, Public Policy and Higher Education, Center for Studies in Higher Education, University of California at Berkeley

INDIA S. Parasuraman, Director, Tata Institute for the Social Sciences

SOUTH AFRICAN UNIVERSITIES: AT THE EPICENTER OF A CAULDRON OF NATIONAL IMAGINATIONS Ahmed Bawa, Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Durban University of Technology in South Africa

Moderator: Arjun Appadurai, Goddard Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication, New York University; Senior Fellow, Institute for Public Knowledge; President, PUKAR

Session 3 : Part 2


Daniel Fallon, advisor to the German government on its excellence initiative for higher education; Professor Emeritus of Psychology, Professor Emeritus of Public Policy, University of Maryland, College Park

LATIN AMERICA Jorge Balán, Senior Research Scholar, School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University

PANDORA'S BOX: THE FUTURE OF HIGHER EDUCATION IN THE ARAB WORLD Lisa Anderson, President of the American University in Cairo

Moderator: Alan Ryan, Visiting Scholar in the Department of Politics James Madison Program and the University Center for Human Values, Princeton University; former Warden of New College, Oxford University



Speakers, Panelists, and Moderators

Lisa Anderson was appointed president of the American University in Cairo in January 2011. A specialist on politics in the Middle East and North Africa, Anderson served as the university’s provost from 2008 to 2010. As the chief academic officer, she was responsible for shaping and implementing AUC’s academic vision and building the size and quality of the faculty. Prior to joining AUC in 2008, Anderson was James T. Shotwell Professor of International Relations at Columbia University and is the former dean of the School of International and Public Affairs. She also served as the chair of the political science department at Columbia and as director of Columbia’s Middle East Institute. Before joining the Columbia faculty, she was assistant professor of government and social studies at Harvard University. Anderson is the author of Pursuing Truth, Exercising Power: Social Science and Public Policy in the Twenty-first Century (Columbia University Press, 2003), The State and Social Transformation in Tunisia and Libya, 1830-1980 (Princeton University Press, 1986), editor of Transitions to Democracy (Columbia University Press, 1999) and coeditor of The Origins of Arab Nationalism (Columbia 1991).

Arjun Appadurai is Goddard Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University and Senior Fellow at the Institute for Public Knowledge. Professor Appadurai formerly served as Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at The New School. He has held professorial chairs at Yale University, the University of Chicago, and the University of Pennsylvania, and has held visiting appointments at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (Paris), the University of Michigan, the University of Iowa, Columbia University, and New York University. Professor Appadurai is the founder and now the President of PUKAR (Partners for Urban Knowledge Action and Research), a non-profit organization based in and oriented to the city of Mumbai (India). He is the author of many books and articles. His most recent book is Fear of Small Numbers: An Essay on the Geography of Anger (2006).

Jorge Balán was recently appointed a Senior Research Scholar within the School of International and Public Affairs of Columbia University, working with Columbia’s Global Centers and the Institute for Latin American Studies. Previously he was an Adjunct Professor with the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education in Toronto and a Senior Researcher with CEDES, in Buenos Aires. A sociologist and international education expert trained in Argentina and the United States, Dr. Balán served as a Senior Program Officer with The Ford Foundation between 1998 and 2006, developing a higher education research and public policy initiative in the U.S. and internationally. Before joining Ford, Dr. Balán was a full professor at the University of Buenos Aires, held visiting professorships at many Latin American and U.S. universities, and was awarded postdoctoral fellowships with the Social Science Research Council and the John S. Guggenheim Foundation. He has published extensively on issues of urbanization, rural-to-urban migration, and the sociology of professions, higher education, and philanthropy. His most recent book is World Class Worldwide: Transforming Research Universities in Asia and Latin America (with Phillip G. Altbach).

Ahmed Bawa is vice-chancellor and principal of the Durban University of Technology in South Africa. Dr. Bawa is a theoretical physicist who, until August 2010, was a faculty member of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Hunter College and a member of the doctoral faculty at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Previously, he held the position of deputy vice-chancellor of the University of Natal and then of the University of KwaZulu-Natal. He has served as the program officer for higher education at the Ford Foundation, where he led and coordinated the foundation’s African Higher Education Initiative. He served on a number of policy development teams in the post-1994 period in the areas of Science and Technology and Higher Education. He served as a researcher for the National Commission on Higher Education and was an inaugural member of the National Advisory Council on Innovation till 2002—a body that was established to advise the South African cabinet on science and technology matters.

Jamshed Bharucha is the 12th president of the Cooper Union, as of July 1, 2011. He was previously provost and senior vice president of Tufts University since August 2002. Dr. Bharucha is a pioneer in studying how the brain responds to music. At Tufts, he created the University Seminar, a course that brings together faculty, undergraduates, and graduate students from multiple schools to focus on an issue of societal importance. Working with the International Board of Overseers, he launched a strategy of engagement with Mexico, India and China, establishing partnerships that serve students and faculty, connecting with international alumni, and promoting Tufts overseas. Before joining Tufts, Dr. Bharucha spent his academic career at Dartmouth College, where he was the John Wentworth Professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences and dean of faculty among other leadership positions. At Dartmouth, Dr. Bharucha was instrumental in launching the first MRI-based program in cognitive neuroscience. As an outstanding teacher he received the Huntington Teaching Award in 1989 and the Undergraduate Teaching Initiative Special Award in 1992. He served as editor of the interdisciplinary journal, Music Perception, was a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences in 1993-94, and from 1991 to 1999 Dr. Bharucha served as a trustee of Vassar College. As a psychologist who studies cognitive neuroscience and music perception, Dr. Bharucha's research has focused on the cognitive and neural basis of the perception of music, using perceptual experiments, neural net modeling, and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).

Henry S. Bienen is president emeritus of Northwestern University. He was elected the 15th president of Northwestern University on June 13, 1994, took office on January 1, 1995 and retired as president on August 31, 2009. A nationally recognized leader in higher education, President Bienen, led Northwestern to increased academic prominence, financial strength and athletic success. During his tenure, Northwestern faculty and students received numerous academic awards, the endowment quintupled, applications for admission skyrocketed and the University's reputation grew both nationally and internationally. He was one of the first three university presidents awarded the Carnegie Corporation Academic Leadership Award for innovative leadership in higher education. President Bienen is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the board of directors of the Council on Foreign Relations, serving on the executive committee and chairing the nominating and governance committee. Previously, Dr. Bienen was the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor and dean of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.

Peter Brooks is Sterling Professor of Comparative Literature Emeritus at Yale University and currently Andrew W. Mellon Visiting Foundation Scholar in the department of Comparative Literature and the Center for Human Values at Princeton University. He previously taught in the department of English and the School of Law at the University of Virginia, and has been a visiting professor at Harvard University, the University of Texas, Austin, the University of Copenhagen, the University of Bologna, and the Georgetown University Law Center, and a visiting scholar at Stanford Law School. In 2001-2002, he was Eastman Professor at Oxford University and a Fellow of Balliol College. Among his many accomplishments is the establishment of the Whitney Humanities Center at Yale University. Brooks is an interdisciplinary scholar whose work cuts across French and English literature, law, and psychoanalysis. He has published books on narrative and narrative theory, on the 19th- and 20th-century novel (mainly French and English), and, more recently, on the interrelations of law and literature. His books include Enigmas of Identity (2011), Henry James Goes to Paris (2007), Realist Vision (2005), Troubling Confessions: Speaking Guilt in Law and Literature (2000). He co-edited, with Paul Gewirtz, Law’s Stories (1996) and, with Alex Woloch, Whose Freud? (2000). He is a member of the Editorial Advisory Board for Comparative Literature and Yale Journal of Law & Humanities. His essays and reviews have appeared in the New York Times, New Republic, Times Literary Supplement, The Nation, London Review of Books, Critical Inquiry, New Literary History, and Yale Law Journal.

Jonathan Cole is the John Mitchell Mason Professor of the University and provost and dean of faculties emeritus at Columbia University. For 14 years, from 1989 to 2003, he served as provost and dean of faculties at Columbia, the second longest tenure of a provost in the university's 250-year history. Before becoming provost at Columbia, he was the director of the Center for the Social Sciences from 1979 to 1987, when he became vice president for arts and sciences. In recent years, his scholarly attention has turned to issues in higher education, particularly the problems facing the great American research universities. In 2010, his book The Great American University: Its Rise To Preeminence, Its Indispensable National Role, Why It Must Be Protected examines U.S. universities in the current economic crisis as a national resource and a model of innovation that ought to be used to help solve complex economic, social, scientific, technological, security, and medical problems throughout the world. He also edited (with Elinor Barber and Stephen R. Graubard) The Research University in a Time of Discontent (1994, Johns Hopkins University Press), a collection of essays by prominent educators, including his own opening chapter, "Balancing Acts: Dilemmas of Choice Facing Research Universities."

Andrew Delbanco is Julian Clarence Levi Professor in the Humanities and Director of American Studies at Columbia University. He is winner of the 2006 Great Teacher Award from the Society of Columbia Graduates, is the author of Melville: His World and Work(Knopf, 2005), which won the Lionel Trilling Award and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award in biography. The Death of Satan (1995), Required Reading: Why Our American Classics Matter Now (1997), and The Real American Dream (1999) were named notable books by the editors of The New York Times Book Review. The Puritan Ordeal (1989) won the Lionel Trilling Award. Among his edited books are Writing New England (2001), The Portable Abraham Lincoln (1992), volume two of The Sermons of Ralph Waldo Emerson (with Teresa Toulouse), and, with Alan Heimert, The Puritans in America (1985). Andrew Delbanco's essays appear regularly in The New York Review of Books, The New Republic, Raritan, and other journals, on topics ranging from American literary and religious history to contemporary issues in higher education. In 2001, he was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and named by Time Magazine as "America's Best Social Critic." In 2003, he was named New York State Scholar of the Year by the New York Council for the Humanities. Professor Delbanco has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the National Endowment for the Humanities, and was a member of the inaugural class of fellows at the New York Public Library Center for Scholars and Writers. He is a trustee of the National Humanities Center and the Library of America, and has served as Vice President of PEN American Center. Since 1995 he has held the Julian Clarence Levi Professor Chair in the Humanities at Columbia University.

John A. Douglass is a senior research fellow for public policy and higher education at the Center for Studies in Higher Education (CSHE) of the University of California at Berkeley. He is the co-editor of Globalization’s Muse: Universities and Higher Education Systems in a Changing World (Public Policy Press, 2009), and the author of The Conditions for Admissions (Stanford Press 2007) and The California Idea and American Higher Education (Stanford University Press, 2000; published in Chinese in 2008 and will be available in Japanese in 2012). Current research interests are focused on comparative international higher education, including the influence of globalization, the role of universities in economic development, science policy as a component of national and multinational economic policy, strategic issues related to developing mass higher education, and he leads and international project assessing the student experience in major research universities. He founded and leads the Student Experience in the Research University (SERU) Consortium, a group of major research universities in the USA, China, Brazil, and Europe that are developing new data sources and analysis for improving student academic and civic engagement. He is also the editor of the CSHE Research and Occasional Paper Series (ROPS), sits on the editorial board of a number of international higher education journals in Europe, China, and Russia, and is on the international advisory board of a several higher education institutes. He has been a visiting professor at Amsterdam University College (a unit of the University of Amsterdam and Vrije University of Amsterdam), at the Universidade Estadual de Campinas (Brazil), at Sciences Po (Paris) and a visiting research fellow at the Oxford Center for Higher Education Policy Studies (OxCHEPS). Recent scholarly publications include articles in BOOM: California Policy and Politics, Higher Education Policy and Management (OECD), Higher Education Policy, Inside Higher Education, Perspectives (UK), Change Magazine, California Monthly, Minerva, The Journal of Policy History, California Politics and Policy, History of Education Quarterly, The American Behavioral Scientists, and the European Journal of Education.

James J. Duderstadt was elected president of the University of Michigan in 1988 and served in this role until July 1996. He currently holds a university-wide faculty appointment as University Professor of Science and Engineering, co-chairing the Michigan’s program in Science, Technology, and Public Policy and directing the Millennium Project, a research center exploring the impact of over-the-horizon technologies on society. Before his appointment as president, Dr. Duderstadt was professor (dean in 1981) of the College of Engineering and, in 1986 provost and vice president for academic affairs. Professor Duderstadt currently serves on several major national boards and study commissions in areas such as federal science policy, higher education, information technology, energy sciences, and national security including the NSF’s Advisory Committee on Cyberinfrastructure, the Glion Colloquium (Switzerland), and the Intelligence Science Board.

Daniel Fallon is professor emeritus of psychology and professor emeritus of public policy at the University of Maryland, College Park, where he had served as vice president for academic affairs and provost. Previously, Professor Fallon supervised grant making at the Carnegie Corporation of New York, where he was chair of the Education Division. He has also held appointments as dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Texas A&M University, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Colorado at Denver, and associate dean of the Harpur College of Arts and Sciences at Binghamton University. Dr. Fallon has published widely on learning and motivation, academic public policy, and comparative higher education. He is the author of a prize-winning book, The German University: A Heroic Ideal in Conflict with the Modern World (1980).

Matthew Goldstein has served as chancellor of The City University of New York (CUNY) since September 1999. He is the first CUNY graduate (City College, Class of 1963) to lead the nation’s most prominent urban public university, which comprises 24 colleges and professional schools throughout the five boroughs of New York City. Dr. Goldstein has served in senior academic and administrative positions for more than 30 years, including president of Baruch College, president of the Research Foundation, and acting vice chancellor for academic affairs of CUNY. Prior to being named chancellor, he was president of Adelphi University. He has held faculty positions in mathematics and statistics at Baruch College, the CUNY Graduate School and University Center, Polytechnic University of New York, Cooper Union, Eastern Connecticut State University, and the University of Connecticut. He is the co-author of three books: Discrete Discriminant Analysis, published by John Wiley & Sons in 1978; Intermediate Statistical Methods and Applications, published by Prentice Hall in 1983; and Multivariate Analysis, published by John Wiley & Sons in 1984. In addition, he has written many articles for leading scholarly publications in mathematics and statistics. Currently, Dr. Goldstein is a member of the Board of Trustees of the JP Morgan Funds and the Museum of Jewish Heritage. He is also a member of the Business-Higher Education Forum, as well as a director of the Lincoln Center Institute for the Arts in Education, ex officio. By appointment of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, he is co-chair of the New York City Regional Economic Development Council. He previously served as chair of the 2010 New York City Charter Revision Commission at the appointment of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. Dr. Goldstein is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and a fellow of the New York Academy of Sciences. Among his honors are the 2011 Association for a Better New York "Spirit of ABNY" Award, the 2010 New York Building Congress Leadership Award, the 2009 Manhattan Chamber of Commerce New Yorker of the Year Award, the 2009 YIVO Institute for Jewish Research Lifetime Achievement Award, the 2007 Carnegie Corporation of New York's Academic Leadership Award, the 2005 John H. Finley Award, the 2005 Medal of Honor "Austrian Cross of Honor for Science and Art, First Class," the 2002 Ellis Island Medal of Honor, and the 2000 Townsend Harris Medal.

Neil Grabois is former President of Colgate University and former dean, provost, and chair of the department of mathematical sciences of Williams College. He was the 13th president of Colgate and served in that position for 11 years. Today, he is the dean of the Milano School for International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy at The New School for Public Engagement in New York City. After leaving Colgate, he served as vice chair of the Carnegie Corporation in New York, and he currently sits on the boards of Swarthmore College, the Jewish Foundation for the Education of Women, and the Michael Wolk Heart Foundation.

Vijay Kumar is Assistant Provost and Director of Academic Computing at MIT. Through these roles he influences the Institute's strategic focus on educational technology and promotes the effective integration of information technology in MIT education. Vijay provides strategic leadership for units engaged in delivering infrastructure and services to support educational technology activities at MIT: Academic Computing in Information Systems and Technology as well as the Academic Media Production Services (AMPS).

S. Parasuraman is an anthropologist by training and received his professional education from International Institute for Population Sciences, Bombay, India Institute of Technology, and Institute of Social Studies. He is currently a professor of social sciences at the Tata Institute of Social Science. Dr. Parasuraman was deputy national director of Oxfam in India from 1995 to 1997. He has written extensively on the subjects of development, displacement, resettlement, and rehabilitation, and has been associated with the Namada Movement since 1987. He was recenlty a member of the Prime Minister's Committee to review the Tehri Hydroelectric project in India.

Alan Ryan is author of biographies of John Stuart Mill, Bertrand Russell, and John Dewey. He teaches at Princeton University. He was previously warden of New College and a professor of politics at the University of Oxford. Ryan is a regular contributor to the New York Review of Books, London Review of Books, and the Times Literary Supplement.

David Scobey, executive dean of The New School for Public Engagement, is a national leader in developing innovative methods to engage higher education institutions with communities outside the academy. He was director of Bates College's Harward Center, an academic center that brought together community-based learning and research, co-curricular work, and environmental stewardship. He was founding director of the University of Michigan's Arts of Citizenship program, an initiative to integrate civic engagement with the liberal arts. He serves on the boards of Project Pericles and Bringing Theory to Practice, a project linking learning, civic engagement, and student well being. David's scholarship explores politics, culture, and space in 19th-century America, particularly New York City. He taught for 16 years at the University of Michigan, where he earned tenure. He holds a PhD in American studies as well as an MA and BA from Yale.

David E. Van Zandt is the eighth President of The New School. He is a sociologist, attorney, and visionary in higher education with a record of distinguished academic leadership spanning three decades. President Van Zandt came to The New School from Northwestern University School of Law, one of the top-rated law schools in the nation, where he was dean from 1995 until 2010. Under his leadership, Northwestern Law transformed its approaches to admissions, education, and social engagement. President Van Zandt, who holds a PhD in sociology from the London School of Economics, continues to lecture and contribute to professional and scholarly journals. He is a past president of the American Law Deans Association and has published articles and written and presented papers on the regulation of international financial markets, the sociology of religion and deviance, social theory (in particular the microsociological aspects of law), the economics of common sense, and more recently legal education. An expert in corporate law, international finance, and legal education, President Van Zandt has taught courses in International Financial Markets, Business Associations, Property, Practical Issues in Business Law, and Legal Realism.

Robert J. Zimmer became the 13th President of the University of Chicago in 2006. Prior to his appointment as President, Zimmer was a University of Chicago faculty member and administrator for more than two decades specializing in the mathematical fields of geometry, particularly ergodic theory, Lie groups, and differential geometry. As a University of Chicago administrator, Zimmer served as Chairman of the Mathematics Department, Deputy Provost, and Vice President for Research and for Argonne National Laboratory. He also served as Provost at Brown University from 2002-2006, returning to Chicago in 2006 to become President of the University. As President of the University, he serves as Chair of the Board of Governors of Argonne National Laboratory and Chair of the Board of Directors of Fermi Research Alliance LLC, the operator of Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. He also served on the President's Committee on the National Medal of Science from 2008 to 2010, and is on the executive committee of the Council on Competitiveness. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. President Zimmer is the author of two books, Ergodic Theory and Semisimple Groups (1984) and Essential Results of Functional Analysis (1990), and more than 80 mathematical research articles. He served on the Board of Mathematical Sciences of the National Research Council from 1992 to 1995, and was on the executive committee from 1993 to 1995. Zimmer held the title of Max Mason Distinguished Service Professor of Mathematics at Chicago before leaving for Brown, where he was the Ford Foundation Professor of Mathematics in addition to being Provost. President Zimmer earned his A.B., summa cum laude, from Brandeis University in 1968 and a Ph.D. in mathematics from Harvard University in 1975. He joined the Chicago faculty as an L.E. Dickson Instructor of Mathematics in 1977. He was also on the faculty of the U.S. Naval Academy from 1975 to 1977 and has held visiting positions at Harvard University and at institutions in Israel, France, Australia, Switzerland, and Italy.

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