Great American Research Universities
and How They Got That Way
Special from The Record
Jonathan R. Cole came to Columbia 50 years ago this fall, he says, “as a little freshman wearing a beanie, and I’ve never been able to cut the umbilical cord.” Indeed, he went from student to Ph.D. to sociology professor to vice president of Arts and Sciences and ultimately University provost and dean of faculties, a post he held for 14 years, from 1989 to 2003.
Now as the John Mitchell Mason Professor of the University, he has taken his research specialty—the sociology of science—and his intimate knowledge of how higher education operates and has produced a new book on the future of the American research university.
In The Great American University: Its Rise to Preeminence, Its Indispensable National Role, and Why It Must Be Protected (Public Affairs Books) Cole discusses how these institutions became the nation’s leading source of economic growth and social welfare, and why universities face a host of challenges that include budget cuts, political interference and even changing cultural mores that could lead to their loss of true distinction. In short, Cole wanted to describe how “the discoveries, inventions, medical miracles and better mousetraps have changed our lives without us adequately realizing where these discoveries came from and how they were made.”
—by Record Staff
Columbia mourns the death of Mark Becker, associate director at the Earth Institute's Center for International Science Information Network, who was killed in a traffic accident last week. Visit this page for more information.
Professor Pamela Smith has been named the Seth Low Professor of History and Volker Berghahn has become the Seth Low Professor Emeritus of History.
Professor Adam Sobel won a two-year, $341,600 AXA Award in Climate and Extreme Weather from the AXA Research Fund. Sobel will use the funds to study the local dynamics and global patterns of extreme weather events.