Launch of The Higher Education Task Force Report

Wednesday, March 1, 2000 Omni Shoreham Hotel, Regency Ballroom, Washington, D.C.
Henry Rosovsky Co-chair, Task Force for Higher Education

I would like to thank everybody who made comments and I obviously cannot answer them now, though many of the suggestions were excellent. Many of the faults that you pointed out probably do exist, although I will have to say that quick reading shows in some of your remarks, because quite a number of the points are covered.

I'll give you only one example. This whole question of public/private/philanthropic: we devote quite a good few lines precisely to that point, as well as to some others. I think the question about student politics and the brain drain issue is covered quite extensively, and of course Mr. Wolfensohn mentioned the science centers which is a Bank initiative precisely at this point.

The very last comment, are we a guide to the future - I would say this: certainly you exaggerated my remark, that was never my intention, but I do think there is some question in our minds about what the future will look like. We do say a fair amount about virtual universities, about IT, about networks and so forth, but let me speak for myself, and say I think that the traditional university will remain alive into our future, and that it will remain a center of education complemented by the rest.

Just one last point. I was a little puzzled by another thing Professor Levi said, that we seemed to be too academic, too focused on the research universities. I thought our whole systems chapter is precisely designed to get away from that, to articulate a whole vision that is composed of all different kinds of institutions, including for profit, vocational and so forth, but that they should fit into some kind of a rational vision.

I think your comments are excellent. If we ever put out another edition we will certainly take these very much into account. One very last point, this is certainly a discussion document. That is the intention. I think the discussion that is taking place today shows that it is accomplishing at least part of its purpose.