Judith Rodin: I'm not going to repeat what my eloquent
colleagues have said. I'll try to sum up a bit of their comments
and just add a few additional thoughts and then open this for
discussion. I would like first, I'm sure on behalf of all of
you, to thank Greg Farrington for an extraordinary job-a wonderful
set of days and meetings. Mike Eleey, too. Just really terrific,
and we are all very grateful. So thank you.
When the COFHE presidents first talked about having this conference
and really what we could learn from one another and how we could
assist one another, Greg's last point was the most pertinent.
I think we all have the experience of collaboration among our
libraries and have learned in that venue in particular the benefit
using these new technologies of extraordinary kinds of collaborative
efforts. What we haven't learned as well as administrators is
learning from one another's mistakes and not replicating those
mistakes over and over again. And so while I think that we have
accomplished many things, if we have only accomplished a mechanism
for reaching out to one another and a way to continue this conversation
to tell one another our good ideas and keep one another from replicating
the bad ideas, I think that it will have been very successful.
I have I guess a somewhat different perspective than Harry's.
I think that the technology is upon us with a vengeance, and
that it is fun and it's creative and it's exciting, and it is
empowering our students more perhaps than it is empowering our
faculties. And so when we deal with what the internal sets of
issues are, what I find most challenging is really creating the
kinds of mechanisms that allow our faculty to understand, appreciate,
deal with, or move away from in appropriate instances what feels
like the inexorable drive of these new technologies.
Our students began a set of boards, undergraduate advisory boards,
to each of the major arts and sciences departments. The first
one developed by our own Al Filreis in English, and last year
the English undergraduate advisory board held a seminar for their
faculty called "The 24 Hour Classroom", trying to persuade
the faculty of the elegance of the computer revolution for really
extending the learning venue to a full 24 hours, because indeed
these kids were interacting with one another and Al, god bless
him, day and night, 24 hours a day, as a result of the new technologies.
Well, there's a number of our faculty that find that notion awful
and terrifying, and we really do need to think about how we make
it available, in what ways, and for whom.
Our veterinary school faculty is now teaching the initial surgery
course as a virtual anatomy course. It has done a world of good
in terms of our animal rights activists and has really done some
interesting things in terms of how students feel about their learning
in the surgical arena. So there are many ways that the use of
these technologies has softened for many of our faculty issues
that were of great concern, but it has also raised some.
Let me address two issues, one of which has been talked about
and the other not. The issue not so much of what we do internally,
but of who our outside competitors are, if we use that word.
And I don't mean that in terms of the sort of pejorative market
forces, but as, in some ways, we all compete with one another,
and so who will this new group be? When we talked about having
Mike Leavitt here or someone who represented the Western Governors
initiative, it really was in part because we felt that we should
all recognize that whether we like it or not, there is going to
be an onslaught of initiatives that will sometimes emerge outside
of the universities but impact on the university, either by trying
to get members of our faculty to participate in initiatives for
which we don't pay them and others will pay them more handsomely
or those who will create by creating new sets of faculties different
from the faculties that we put through peer review processes and
the like. Whether we like it or not, this is happening and it
will happen, and the question is really how the kinds of institutions
that we represent choose to participate in, compete with, address,
or marginalize, or maybe all of the above those related set of
activities if in fact that is appropriate. It's not just about
distance learning. It's about all of the outside-of-the-traditional-
university-walls ways that students of all kinds will have access
to information, instruction, and I think increasingly education,
not just information, in the future.
Steve, I agree with you, although Mike Leavitt pushed the argument
aside: I think if we have a crystal ball and this does move forward
in the way that it seems to that we will have fewer colleges and
universities, that the elites will be likely to survive, as we
have survived even with high charges and the like because we are
able to offer something that is differentiating, but that there
are many institutions out there that don't have something that
in a very tangible and palpable way differentiates them. And
I think that they will change, and I think we will see many, many
fewer universities and colleges. We have to ask ourselves whether
that's a good or bad thing. You asked whether we would have fewer
faculty. I think we will have fewer faculty, and I think we have
to ask ourselves whether that's a good or bad thing. Again, these
are realities that are approaching, and I can't imagine even what
25 years will be like, but I agree with my colleagues that being
planful now and being nimble and being flexible is something that
is probably more demanded of us at this moment than ever before.
Finally a word about leadership. Greg ended this panel with
the three of us not because after spending a day and a half doing
good things you needed to hear from three university and college
presidents, but because Greg really feels, and I agree strongly,
that the day is now past when the presidents can turn over the
issue of technology to the chief technology officer and say, "Now
you go away and wire this or figure this out, and I'm out of this."
I think this is a moment when universities and colleges will
fundamentally transform themselves, and presidents have got to
be deeply and intimately and planfully involved, and if not leading,
at least actively participating in what is going on and hopefully
playing an important and dynamic collaborative and leadership
role in those activities. That certainly is my goal here, and
I think it is critical for the future of our institutions that
presidents take on that mantle. Those of you who are not presidents
or chancellors and chief academic officers, please go back and
tell your presidents that this is the moment. Thank you.
Farrington: Well, I think we're ending. Ending and beginning
I hope. The new technologies I think give us lots of wonderful
new opportunities, but if we lose sight of our values we won't
be able to celebrate them and use them. One of the mistakes people
make about technology all the time is believing that it changes
people. It doesn't, really, I don't think. It just gives them
new ways of acting out who they are. You and I, I'm sure, have
plenty of opportunities-I know I do-to speak with alumni. The
older the alumnus, the more likely he or she is to ask me not
about laboratories or libraries or fraternities or dormitories,
but about people. They ask about Old So and So. Sometimes Old
So and So isn't that old, they just seem that old at the time.
"Is Old So and So still around?" That is: people
who've gone through colleges and universities and been students
remember people, people who took time to touch their lives, people
who interacted with each other. Faculty are changed by the process
and so are students.
The challenge of the new technologies isn't to use them to put
distance between us, but to make the connections closer. The
magic that began this morning with Pinchas Zukerman was having
him in the room while he was in Tel Aviv and having him touch
the life of Elizabeth who was doing her best on the violin, a
lot better than I could ever dream of doing, even though he was
seven time zones away. It was the personal connection that was
the magic, not the technology.
Regardless, change is happening. We are not setting the rules.
Change will happen. The market is strong. The question is,
we have choices, we have people-how do we create institutions
that are as lively and innovative in teaching as they are in research?
We all know that there's not a researcher in this institution
who doesn't know everything going on with his or her colleagues
around the world, as I said a moment ago, but they may not know
how physics is taught down the road at Swarthmore College, even
if it's taught a lot better at Swarthmore College. So we have
to bring some of our creative energy that's so good at superconductivity
to super teaching, and I think that requires us knowing a little
bit more about what we do in our institutions at the teaching
level as well as at the research level.
We are marvelously, marvelously creative institutions at the
research level and sometimes not so marvelously creatively at
our core business that accounts to 60, 70 to 80 percent of our
income. Now isn't that interesting? Does that sound a bit like
large, multi-national corporations that went through such change
in the eighties? Well, just a little bit too much for comfort.
So if I could challenge you all, it's for goodness sakes to go
back and communicate the message: technology is not the side
show. It's not what goes on over here. It's not what's done
by somebody who reports to you. It's utterly central to the future
of the institution, and those that thrive are going to be those
that not only create and those that exploit its new powers and
opportunities and not only those that survive economically in
the process, but also those who remember that ultimately it's
people who touch people's lives, and that's what the business
is all about, whether learning, training, or education.
Thank you for coming to Penn. Thank you for coming to Philadelphia.
Have safe trips home, and we hope that you will return either