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September 28, 2015
You don’t turn universities around. You build on their traditions
Thanks to the opportunities given to me as an in-state alum of the University of Iowa, I have gone on to be a professor at the University of Southern California, a historian, writer and journalist on the topics of politics, education and finance. I received diplomas in France and England, and have worked at universities such as Princeton and Rutgers. Part of my job at USC is to help improve the university’s standing through both academic and administrative work. And my experience tells me that the Harreld choice is a mistake that has damaged the UI’s reputation and brand.
Not only do I see conflicts of interest and possible legal issues with Harreld’s appointment; I was startled that no one asked Harreld specific questions about what it means to “turn around” a university. Because there is one thing I have learned during my academic career: You don’t turn serious universities around. You build on their traditions.