Thursday, February 14, 2013

Carnegie Mellon's new president

Carnegie Mellon University [1] has chosen Prof. Subra Suresh as its next president. Since Prof. Suresh is currently the Director of the National Science Foundation in the US, his move (back) to a leadership position at an academic institution was bound to raise some eyebrows. Over at Science Insider (the news blog of the journal Science), Jeffrey Mervis articulates the questions raised by this appointment, and reports on the answers from some of key people, including Prof. Suresh:

... [A]lthough Suresh's move is not surprising, the timing and his age (he took the NSF job in October 2010 at the age of 54) raise some intriguing questions:

  • Do university trustees see running NSF as an important steppingstone to the top job at their institutions?

  • Is it unseemly for universities to lure away federal officials after only a few years in the public posts?

  • Does choosing a midcareer scientist to lead NSF foreshadow a short tenure as director?

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[1] Disclosure: I went to grad school there.