News & Views item - July 2006



Stanford's President Offers Advice to Would-be Great Universities. (July 17, 2006)

    John Hennessy Bachelor of electrical engineering, Ph.D. in computer science assumed the presidency of Stanford University in 2000. At the third University Presidents Forum which opened in Shanghai on July 12 he warned this past Saturday that Chinese universities face a big challenge in attracting world-class teachers as they attempt to position themselves among the top of university ranks.


He told the forum it could take over twenty years for any Chinese university to assemble a world-class faculty.


Expansion he said was easy but it took a long time to attract and maintain a world-class faculty, "There is certainly a trade-off between scale and quality," Professor Hennessy said, pointing to  schools like Harvard, MIT and Princeton with student populations of 15,000 to 20,000, and added that Stanford could easily expand if it had enough money, but it would take more than 20 years to expand the faculty while maintaining the quality of teaching. "Choosing the right people is perhaps the first and most crucial step in ensuring that an innovative environment is successful."