Phi Beta Cons

Re: Mansfield on Summers

George says: “Unfortunately, Summers won’t have the opportunity to continue his project of curricular improvement at Harvard and it’s very hard to find efforts in this direction at other schools.”
And he is exactly right, but what’s more, I think it is becoming clear that higher education is a very unique industry in the way leadership shuffling at one firm affects another. In most any other industry, a renegade reform movement such as Summers’, which is successful to a point and then cut off for political reasons, would inspire peer executives to take up the mantle at their own firms. Summers had demonstrated direction, motivation, a road map to success, and had driven Harvard some meager distance down that road. Now? Fellow college presidents are hushed. Summers was squelched and that has undoubtedly discouraged other university leaders who may have been guided by him. Another unhappy result of what is basically mob rule.

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