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Equality vs. excellence in higher education: the case of Spain

Posted: December 29, 2012 at 8:52 am, Last Updated: December 29, 2012 at 9:26 am

Spanish daily El Mundo publishes today an interview where I analyze some aspects of Spanish higher education as it compares to the American system. Given how critical higher education is for any country’s competitiveness, it is comforting to see this topic gain interest in the Spanish press (see my earlier interview this month discussed here). […]

How does Virginia stack up in public higher education funding?

Posted: December 11, 2012 at 5:10 pm

By  Callie LeRenard and Ángel Cabrera   This blog has discussed already the changing social contract for higher education and how students across the U.S. are now picking up a larger portion of the tab for degrees that were once heavily subsidized by the states.  We’re often asked how our home state stacks up against […]

Governance matters

Posted: December 11, 2012 at 5:04 pm

I was interviewed this past Dec. 8th by Spanish business daily Expansión (interview in Spanish available here). Among other things, we discussed the differences in governance in universities in continental Europe and the U.S..  After years experiencing both systems, I’ve reached the conclusion that governance is one of the main reasons why American universities became dominant and […]

Only honorable business leaders can stop corruption

Posted: December 4, 2012 at 10:28 am

The World Economic Forum’s blog this week is dedicated to combating corruption.  In my contribution I argue that only by changing the dominant value system of managers we will be able to curb the damaging effects of corruption: Corruption will not be eradicated through legislation and prosecution alone. It will take a deep change in […]

Spanish unemployment

Posted: November 29, 2012 at 5:14 pm, Last Updated: December 4, 2012 at 10:30 am

If I had a penny for every time someone has asked me be about Spain’s economic ills, George Mason University’s endowment would be taken care of by now.  In case anyone still cares to know, here’s my take. The Bankinter Foundation for Innovation in Madrid (on whose board I serve) dedicated its Future Trends Forum […]

Realignment? Misalignment? Reshuffling?

Posted: November 28, 2012 at 1:50 pm

All this talk about athletic conference realignments reminds me of M. C. Escher’s Waterfall lithograph, where water flows down through a series of canals to end up in the same place.  Every university hopes to move up to a better, more reputed, more distinguished club. They leave partners behind for new ones, leaving spaces in […]

The Mission of the University according to Ortega

Posted: November 23, 2012 at 6:59 am

A Mason colleague recently directed me to Spanish, 20th Century philosopher Ortega’s essay on the mission of the university (José Ortega y Gasset, 1931, Misión de la Universidad, pdf in Spanish). The text is indeed priceless and very pertinent for our ongoing task to craft a new mission statement for the university.  It raises questions […]

The best university FOR the world

Posted: November 22, 2012 at 5:29 pm

Prof. Tom Lovejoy recently reminded me of the conversation we had over lunch at Barra de Tijuca in Rio last summer, during the Rio+20 U.N. Conference, right before I joined Mason and before he received the prestigious Blue Planet Prize: The university should not strive to be the best in the world, but the best for […]

Why we have (public) universities

Posted: November 11, 2012 at 4:56 pm, Last Updated: November 11, 2012 at 5:32 pm

As we continue the work of producing a new vision for the university, I was reminded of Louis Menand’s piece in The New Yorker: Why we have college. There are at least three (mostly implicit) theories that shape our narratives about the purpose of universities. Meritocratic theory: College is a four-year long intelligence test, a […]

The social contract of publc higher education

Posted: November 10, 2012 at 6:00 pm, Last Updated: November 12, 2012 at 9:18 am

By Ángel Cabrera and Callie LeRenard Let me add more color to my commentary last week about the public disinvestment in higher education. Though not a perfect public good, higher education creates many positive externalities that benefit society at large. Whether or not you are the one going to college (and therefore the one personally […]