Good news, typical reaction

The next president of Harvard is going to be Drew Gilpin Faust, respected Historian and currently Dean of Harvard’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies.

She’ll be participating in a growing change in today’s universities, becoming one of the 23% of college presidents who are women. Considering that women make up over 50% of college attendance, I would say this is a healthy trend. From the many sources on the story, the reason she was picked was less that she was a woman and more that she’s a consensus builder; not following in the footsteps of Summers, who was aggressively competitive and whose tenure one person said was a “…wasted five years”. According to the New York Times:

Faculty members and officials familiar with the search said Dr. Faust’s leadership style — her collaborative approach and considerable people skills — would be vital for soothing a campus ripped apart by the battles over Dr. Summers, whom many accused of having an abrasive, confrontational style.

“She combines outstanding scholarship with an uncanny ability to administer both well and with a heart,” said Judith Rodin, the president of the Rockefeller Foundation.

Most of the weblogging commentary so far is among the Righteous Right, who clamor about feminism and shake their heads at the decline of civilization as they know it, but you know something? No one really cares what they have to say.

I see this as a good step forward: for Harvard, for women, for all of us.

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