Archive for May, 2007

A Harvard Appointment

Posted on May 22nd, 2007 in Uncategorized | 9 Comments »

Princeton’s Robert Darnton is taking over from Sid Verba as University librarian…..

Drew Faust’s Dean Problem

Posted on May 22nd, 2007 in Uncategorized | 21 Comments »

On Gadfly, Adam Goldenberg suggests that, with Jeremy Bloxham having turned down the FAS deanship, Drew Faust is going to have a very difficult time finding a replacement. I agree—though not for all the reasons Goldenberg states. They are:

I don’t think 1, 3, and 4 are such a big deal. The FAS deanship is still a prestigious and desirable job, especially for professors who might want to become college presidents one day. You also get a big raise. And let’s face it, leaving scholarship behind for a while isn’t always the worst thing.

Finally, I’m inclined to think that the FAS deanship under Drew Faust is going to be a strong position. She needs strong deans, and she’s smart and secure enough to realize that.

No, the problem seems to me to be #2—budget issues. What if the new dean is going to have to operate in a time of shrinking resources? Trying to manage the relationship between science and Allston at a time when FAS is facing budget cuts could be a nightmare.

It’s a lot more fun to be dean when you can say yes than when you’re constantly telling people no.

I suspect that this is the real issue here, and it is a big problem for Drew Faust. She obviously wanted a scientist for the deanship. But will any scientist take the job if he or she has to pick and choose among the various science factions because of budget cuts?

Don’t Doom the Yankees Just Yet

Posted on May 22nd, 2007 in Uncategorized | 5 Comments »

In the Boston Globe, Dan Shaughnessy all but says the season is over.

When the Braves were at Fenway over the weekend, veteran Smoltz took a look at the Sox roster and the AL East standings and said, “I don’t think they can be caught.”

He’s probably right.

Remarkable. It’s not even June, and the Yanks are finished?

Granted, they’re 9 1/2 behind a very good Sox team, and they’ve looked awful on numerous occasions, mediocre on a few more.

But as the Times rightly points out, in 1978, the Yankees were 14 games out in late July. And we all know how that turned out. (If you don’t, even more reason to read my forthcoming book on the 1978 pennant race, out next spring.)

Let’s consider this Yankee lineup: Catcher Jorge Posada is leading the league in hitting, which won’t last, but still….. At first base, Doug Mientkiewicz can’t hit any worse than he is now. Robinson Cano will be a .300 hitter. Then come Jeter and A-Rod, both of whom are having great seasons. (Jeter is a marvel; he only seems to get better.) And in the outfield, Hideki Matsui, Johnny Damon and Bobby Abreu are all better than they’ve been playing. What’s going to happen when they start to click? Same with designated hitter Jason Giambi, the only man in baseball to apologize for using steroids.

Meanwhile, the Yankee pitching will come together, especially if these starters—Chien Ming-Wang, Andy Pettite, Mike Mussina and Roger Clemens—remain healthy. And rookie Phil Hughes will return from injury to win, I predict, ten games.

Pretty much everything that could wrong in a season has so far for the Yankees; that luck will change. While for the Red Sox, pretty much everything that can go right has…and that will also change.

Trust me, it’s not over.

And even if it is, there’s always the wild card, right?

Monday Morning Zen

Posted on May 21st, 2007 in Uncategorized | 3 Comments »


Hawksbill turtle and angelfish feeding, Cozumel.

College Presidents in Trouble

Posted on May 21st, 2007 in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

The Washington Post reports on an exodus of college presidents in that region.

At dozens of colleges this month, graduates will get diplomas, hug their parents, toss their caps in the air. But it’s not just students who are starting anew this commencement season: Many of the schools are, too.

There has been lots of turnover in leadership at Washington universities recently, shaking up schools that have had the same presidents for many years.

GW, Howard, Gallaudet—all are getting new presidents.

Frank Wu, a trustee at Gallaudet, said, “The increasing complexity of colleges and universities, heavy regulation, intense public scrutiny, demands for fundraising, relentless pursuit of rankings — each has dramatically increased the pressure, and together they’ve transformed the college presidency.

Sounds like a fun job, no?

The Ombudsman Comes Through

Posted on May 21st, 2007 in Uncategorized | 8 Comments »

Some of you will remember my suggestion here that it was particularly inappropriate for the K-School 4 to impinge on free speech given that they were also Crimson editors.

Now the paper’s ombudsman, Michael Kolber, reports that there are a lot more Crimson editors than you might think.

The Crimson currently claims that about 800 undergraduates are Crimson “editors.” That’s because, until recently, it identified anyone who has ever joined the staff as an “editor.” Joining the staff involves writing a certain number of stories (or taking photos or designing pages as the case may be) and attending a few seminars, steps fully one in eight undergrads has taken.

800 editors? No wonder the Crimson doesn’t worry about grade inflation. It’s a massive practitioner of title inflation. Kolber says that only about 200 to 275 of those folks “regularly contribute” to the paper. I’d be surprised if the real number is half that. (Also, 200-275 is a pretty broad range.)

But let’s be conservative and say that there are at least 600 Crimson “editors” floating around campus who don’t actually do anything for the paper.

As a former editor myself, I dislike this policy on the basis of accuracy in diction. These people are not “editors,” and the vast majority of them never were, even when they were active on the paper.

The Crimson has now decided to call them “inactive editors.” Better, but not good enough. The paper needs a new term for people who worked on it for a couple months, then quit. Contributor?

It’s True, Then

Posted on May 21st, 2007 in Uncategorized | 18 Comments »

As blogger Adam Goldenberg reported last week, Jeremy Bloxham has turned down the FAS deanship. (The Crimson reports the news today.)

With Bloxham out, two of the most serious contenders appear to be Sociology Department Chair Robert J. Sampson and Psychology Department Chair Stephen M. Kosslyn, though other professors could still be candidates, the two individuals close to University administrators said.

Well! This is Drew Faust’s first bump in the road, and it is a large one. She now has to hurry to appoint a second choice before the end of the school year, because the dean should be appointed by the end of the school year. (It’s already taken an awkwardly long time.)

Here’s a question: How you can not know that someone will say no if you offer them a job….isn’t that what due diligence is for? And yet, the Corporation gets turned down by Thomas Cech, and Drew Faust gets ixnayed by Bloxham.

Of course, as readers of 02138 will soon find out, there are all sorts of poetic justices in this recent episode….

2nd Prize: 48 Hours

Posted on May 18th, 2007 in Uncategorized | 9 Comments »

36 Hours in Baltimore

Jack Who?

Posted on May 18th, 2007 in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

CNBC runs a three-part series on Harvard money manager Mohamed El-Erian. Here are some snippets.

Summers in the Sun

Posted on May 18th, 2007 in Uncategorized | 15 Comments »

The NY Sun runs a Bloomberg story on Larry Summers’ severance….

“It is comparable for the marketplace,” said Claire Van Ummersen, 70, vice president of the American Council on Education’s Center for Effective Leadership in Washington. “It is also a reflection on how competitive the presidential marketplace is at the current time.

Am I missing something, or is that quote completely nonsensical? There’s a marketplace in golden parachutes? How can a severance package possibly reflect how “competitive the presidential marketplace” is?

There’s a point that a poster mentioned a few days ago that I haven’t seen raised in a single story about Summers’ severance: His five-year contract was up. Harvard didn’t have to pay him a thing. Why did it? To buy his silence….

Again, perhaps I’m missing something, but what is the point of even having a five-year contract if its expiration is meaningless?