Your independent source for Harvard news since 1898

Your independent source for Harvard news since 1898

John Harvard's Journal

Brevia

November-December 2013

Riptide, an oral history of video interviews with industry leaders and narrative on the evolution of the news, resides online at the Nieman Journalism Lab website.

Riptide, an oral history of video interviews with industry leaders and narrative on the evolution of the news, resides online at the Nieman Journalism Lab website.

Journalism’s Decline

What befell the print news media during the digital transition? John Huey, former editor in chief of Time Inc.; Martin Nisenholtz, former senior vice president of digital operations at The New York Times Company; and Paul Sagan, former president and CEO of Akamai Technologies collaborated during fellowships at the Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics, and Public Policy to document what happened, and its implications for democracy. The result, Riptide, an oral history of video interviews with industry leaders and narrative on the evolution of the news, resides, appropriately, online at the Nieman Journalism Lab website: http://www.niemanlab.org/riptide.

The Asian Frontier

The Jeffrey Cheah Foundation, associated with Malaysia’s Sunway Group companies, has underwritten a Southeast Asian studies initiative: a professorship, a visiting professorship, and fellowship and travel programs (the latter for student research involving Malaysia). The $6.2-million gift will build ties between Harvard scholars and a new research institute based at the foundation’s Sunway University. Separately, Harvard Kennedy School’s Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, which hosts research and executive education focused on Indonesia, received an $8.1-million grant to evaluate accountability, transparency, and healthcare in Indonesia and Tanzania.

Biotech Business

Harvard Business School has appointed the initial five Blavatnik fellows in life science entrepreneurship. The Blavatnik Biomedical Accelerator and fellowships, created in April (see http://harvardmag.com/blavatnik), aim to commercialize life-sciences products emerging from basic-science discoveries on campus. The fellows, recent HBS graduates, receive a $95,000 stipend for a one-year appointment and associated funding to work with investors and the Office of Technology Development. They are based at the Harvard Innovation Lab. Vicki Sato, former president of Vertex Pharmaceuticals and now professor of management practice and professor of the practice of molecular and cellular biology, directs the program.

Nota Bene

Library legwork. Sarah Thomas, vice president for the Harvard Library, has also become Larsen librarian for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, a post last filled in 2011, enabling her to effect better coordination among the library systems.For her views on the reorganizing libraries, see the interview at http://harvardmag.com/thomas-13.

To the bench. President Barack Obama has nominated David J. Barron, Green professor of public law, to serve as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. Barron has been directing the University’s task force on the privacy of electronic communications since the revelation of investigations of resident deans’ e-mail accounts last spring (see http:// harvardmag.com/policy-13).

Campus venture capitalist. Hugo Van Vuuren, the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences’ “expert in residence” at Harvard Innovation Lab and a partner at the Experiment Fund (which seeks to encourage and invest in student start-ups), is apparently the first campus-based venture capitalist in the country. The fund has offices in SEAS’s Maxwell Dworkin lab and in Harvard Square.

A cheating culture? After last year’s academic misconduct investigation and punishment of several dozen undergraduates, the Crimson reported on September 5 (in its freshmen survey) that 42 percent of the class of 2017 respondents admitted to cheating on homework or a problem set, 17 percent on a paper or take-home assignment, and 10 percent on an exam. According to the newspaper, nearly 80 percent of the class responded to the survey.

Undergraduate expansions. Yale president Peter Salovey announced a $250-million gift from alumnus Charles B. Johnson (former chair of a mutual-fund company and principal owner of the San Francisco Giants baseball team) that nearly completes funding for two new residential houses and a 15 percent expansion of the Yale College student body to 6,000.…Stanford president John Hennessy has unveiled a plan to increase its undergraduate enrollment by 100 students annually.

Miscellany. Although Harvard Stadium awaits renovation (construction of enclosed club seating and private concessions), football fans were offered “field club seating” this season, behind the end zone in the open end of the stadium. The seats include vouchers to the privately owned John Harvard’s Brewery and Ale House tent.…The National Science Foundation has made a $20-million grant to the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences to lead a Center for Integrated Quantum Materials, with MIT, Howard University, and the Museum of Science, Boston. Mallinckrodt professor of applied physics and of physics Robert M. Westervelt leads the project, which aims to explore new approaches to signal processing and computing (for background on his work, see “Thinking Small,” January-February 2005, page 50).

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H. Luke Shaefer directs the University of Michigan’s Poverty Solutions—now partnering with Harvard to address economic mobility in Detroit.
Photograph courtesy of Poverty Solutions/University of Michigan

Harvard partners with the University of Michigan

From left, Presidents M. Roy Wilson, M.D. ’80, of Wayne State University and Lawrence S. Bacow of Harvard and Mary Kramer, director of the economic-development forum, speaking on higher education in Detroit on September 14.
Photograph by Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Public Affairs and Communications

Harvard President Lawrence Bacow promotes Michigan initiatives

Photograph by Rose Lincoln/Harvard Public Affairs and Communications

Harvard’s twenty-ninth president gets to work