August 1, 2012

WALTER RUSSELL MEAD: The Recession Is So Bad Even Harvard Has to Innovate.

The economy is so bad that even Harvard is having to cut costs these days. The Wall Street Journal reports that, after the recession lowered the university’s endowment by nearly $5 billion, it has been putting a number of projects on hold to save cash.

At first, the cuts were skin-deep ones, limited to postponing construction projects and laying off non-faculty staff. Now the cuts are nearing the bone, including aid programs and even Harvard’s impressive library system. . . .

This is a constructive step. If Harvard, Princeton, Yale, and other prestigious universities take the lead in reforming wasteful academic practices of all kinds, it will make it easier for the rest of the nation’s universities, where budget pressures are often even greater, to follow suit, helping put U.S. higher education on a more sustainable footing across the board.

Adaptability is America’s key strength and in this tumultuous century our ability to innovate in the face of change is a bigger advantage than ever. It’s good to see that Harvard hasn’t forgotten what this is about.

Maybe they’ve been reading up.

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