Conversations with History: Institute of International Studies, UC Berkeley

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Leading MIT into the 21st Century: Conversation with Charles M. Vest, Former President of MIT, September 12, 2005, by Harry Kreisler

This interview is part of the Institute's "Conversations with History" series, and uses Internet technology to share with the public Berkeley's distinction as a global forum for ideas.

Welcome to a Conversation with History. I'm Harry Kreisler of the Institute of International Studies. Our guest today is Professor Charles M. Vest. book coverProfessor Vest was President of MIT from 1990 until December 2004. He is the 2005 Clark Kerr lecturer at UC Berkeley and he's the author of Pursuing the Endless Frontier: Essays on MIT and the Role of Research Universities.

  1. Background ... mathematician father and homemaker mother ... bucking the aptitude tests to become an engineer ... optics, lasers, and mechanical engineering
  2. Being a University Administrator ... discovering an unknown skill ... the thrill of fostering careers ... connecting people ... tradition of working together at both schools ... knowing when to be patient ... listening skills ... fostering other people's good ideas
  3. Four Virtues ... recognizing excellence ... perseverence ... boldness at the critical moment ... fighting the Justice Department for needs-based scholarships ... finding reasons for optimism
  4. Thoughts on Management ... management as team-building ... finding what's right at the core ... changing relationship of MIT to the federal government ... changing relationship with private industry ... getting out of the way of interdisciplinary collaboration
  5. Vision ... no vision planned from the outset ... following core values ... commitment to openness ... commitment to fundamental research
  6. Science in the Twenty-First Century ... MIT and open courseware ... precedents in the fifites and sixties ... the beginning of a movement ... preserving openness in the post-9/11 environment ... terrorism is a nebulous issue ... treating all students equally
  7. Terrorism and Homeland Security ... serving on the Silverman Commission ... remaining committed to openness ... too much classified information
  8. Conclusion ... career satisfactions: open courseware ... advancement of women in sciences ... advice to students

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