I often chuckle at how college and university presidents feel as if they need to save the world.
From Pomona's President David Oxtoby's fear of climate change to Claremont McKenna's Pamela Gann's love of "social entrepreneurship," it is often instructive to see how those who are entrusted with our tuition dollars love spending them on fads and phony issues.
Oxtoby wants to tackle global climate change by passing tough college rules on emissions, even though he isn't convinced its the right approach. How colleges are contributing to the scourge of global warming is anyone's guess. One thing is for sure, it's going to cost Pomona students more money.
But the latest efforts to save the world come from CGU President Robert Klitgaard who wrote an article in today's The Chronicle of Higher Education entitled "Universities Have the Responsibility to Tackle the World's Toughest Problems."
I happen to agree with Klitgaard that corruption is a serious issue, but why should colleges be addressing it? Klitgaard has the answer right here:
Most important, universities should be willing to take on seemingly intractable problems. If we don't, who will? Who else will provide the hard analysis, the breakthrough thinking, and the long-run perspective? Not government, subject as it is to political agendas and election cycles. Not business, as shareholders will not tend to value CEOs who direct significant company resources to immigration, terrorism, or failing schools. Nongovernmental organizations have the ideals and often the vision, but they often lack the intellectual and financial resources to do it alone.Does he forget that colleges are often unaccountable to their donors and that their research tends to skew to one side of the political spectrum? Maybe he is aware or maybe he just wants to establish himself as the go to guy on corruption.