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Academic Leadership

As a consultant to schools on programming for students with autism, I’m used to proposing ideas and hearing, “Sounds great, but sorry, we can’t do that.” Good intentions sometimes can’t overcome limitations in resources. But when I proposed the development of a bachelor’s degree designed to meet the specific needs of students with autism to The Sage Colleges (N.Y.), the response was very different. From the president on down, the prevailing attitude was, “How can we make this happen?”

In the wake of a slow, mostly jobless recovery, volatile market conditions have chilled the appetite of multinational corporations for creating permanent, full-time employment opportunities with health benefits. Recent seismic tremors in international financial markets have exacerbated these market conditions, and importantly, established the critical need for preparing a new breed of global business leaders and entrepreneurs.

Business school is a laboratory for problem solving where aspiring executives are trained to make organizations more efficient, manage risk, and develop new ways to meet society’s needs. They are trained to manage a wide variety of business tasks such as introducing better detergents or MP3 players, running a theme park, bringing life-saving medicines to market, or establishing micro-lending to improve living standards in the third world.

Nancy A. Roseman
    Timothy P. White

    Timothy P. White, who will become the seventh chancellor of The California State University system come December, understands the value of a public education. Born in Argentina, he immigrated to California and is a first-generation college student who has matriculated within every college system in the state. Currently chancellor of the University of California, Riverside, White was previously president of the University of Idaho. He is succeeding Charles B. Reed, who is retiring from the 23-campus system after 14 years.

    • Yale University (Conn.) President Richard C. Levin will step down at the end of this academic year. During his 20-year tenure, he advanced Yale’s schools and academic programs, particularly strengthening science, engineering, and medicine at the university. He oversaw the largest buildingand renovation program on campus since the 1930s, built partnerships with the city of New Haven, and also expanded Yale’s international activities. Levin has led Yale longer than any other president currently in the Ivy League or the 61-member Association of American Universities.
    • The Maine Community College System has lost an integral part of its community. Charles M. Lyons, president of York County Community College, 68, died of cancer August 22. He was president of YCCC from 2006 until the time of his death and previously served as president of the University of Maine at Augusta from 2001 to 2006 and president of the University of Maine at Fort Kent from 1996 to 2001. He was also vice chancellor of the University of Maine System for three years.

      Over the past 10 years, tenure at colleges and universities has come under fire from a variety of sources, especially legislators and politicians, most of whom have little or only tangential experience within the academic community. A recent pro and con about tenure by those more connected to the academy also appeared in The Wall Street Journal. Most surprising among recent attention to this issue is a survey of university presidents, a majority of whom would do away with tenure if they could.

      Sitting back in our local air-conditioned movie theater, on a sweltering hot summer day watching Andrew Garfield scale a sky-scraper in 3D, we are reminded of a recent graduate fast-forwarding from the world of for-profit animation education to the emergent career field of game design.

      In May, MIT and Harvard announced a $60 million joint venture, called edX, to develop an open-source platform to deliver online courses. The descendant of MIT’s OpenCourseWare project that made the institution’s course materials freely available, edX offers significant improvements. For one thing, unlike OCW, edX will host full MITx and Harvardx faculty-led courses, with certificates of mastery at completion. In July, edX announced the addition of UC Berkeley to the project, and the formation of the X-University Consortium.