July 6, 2010

Rawlings, Ehrenberg to serve on national committee to study future of research universities

Cornell faculty members Hunter Rawlings and Ronald Ehrenberg have been appointed to a national committee of top corporate and academic leaders who will examine the state of U.S. research universities.

Rawlings, Cornell president emeritus and professor of classics, and Ehrenberg, the Irving M. Ives Professor of Industrial and Labor Relations and Economics and director of the Cornell Higher Education Research Institute, will serve on the National Research Council's new Committee on Research Universities and participate in a yearlong review of how the federal government can ensure the long-term health of U.S. research universities.

The 21-member committee of corporate and academic leaders will tackle the question: What are the top 10 actions that Congress, the federal government, state governments, research universities and others could take to assure the ability of the American research university to maintain the excellence in research and doctoral education needed to help the United States compete, prosper and achieve national goals for health, energy, the environment and security in the global community of the 21st century?

Bipartisan members of Congress requested that the study be undertaken. Universities have argued that due to cuts in state support, the federal government needs to play a greater role in financing science and research or risk endangering the status of American research universities. The committee's mandate may extend to immigration policies that affect international students' study at U.S. universities.

It is hoped that work by the committee will have an impact on Congressional spending. In 2007 the National Academies, of which the National Research Council is a part, issued a report that led Congress to push for doubling the spending on scientific research. Specifically, the committee will examine:

The Committee on Research Universities will hold its first meeting in the fall and plans to issue a final report within a year that: