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President Receives Carnegie Academic Leadership Award

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March 4, 2005

Northwestern President Henry S. Bienen was one of three university presidents recognized by the Carnegie Corporation for innovative leadership in higher education.  The newly established Academic Leadership Award, which carries a $500,000 award for the institution, was announced Friday (March 4) by Vartan Gregorian, president of the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

The award recognizes leaders of institutions of higher education who have demonstrated an abiding commitment to liberal arts and who have initiated and supported curricular innovations, including development of interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary programs that aim to bridge the gulf between the theoretical and the practical.  In addition, the award honors leadership that actively supports K-12 school reform and emphasizes community outreach.

“I’m very pleased to have been honored, along with the University, by the Carnegie Corporation,” Bienen said. “Northwestern offers an unusually broad range of academic opportunities for an institution of its size, and our emphasis on interdisciplinary education further enhances opportunities for our students.

“It's wonderful to have the innovative work of our faculty and staff recognized by an institution as prestigious as the Carnegie Corporation,” he added.

The University has not decided where to allocate the $500,000 from the Academic Leadership Award, Bienen said.

Other presidents recognized this year were Don M. Randel of the University of Chicago and Jared L. Cohon of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

“These academic leaders have been articulate voices in defense of liberal arts, robust undergraduate education, the university’s role in K-12 education and the university’s commitment to their cities and communities,” said Gregorian in making the awards.

The Carnegie Corporation cited Northwestern’s commitment to undergraduate education and its programs that link ideas and practical experience. In particular, the award noted the work of the Center for Technologies in Urban Schools, which began in 1997 as a National Science Foundation-funded partnership among Northwestern’s School of Education and Social Policy, the University of Michigan and public schools in Chicago and Detroit. The program develops better urban science education through innovative, hands-on, project-based curricula.

Other programs noted included one in which computer science students work in software companies to give the students strong practical experience to complement theoretical instruction; and the Educational Leadership Collaboratory, a multidisciplinary program involving the School of Education and Social Policy, the Kellogg School of Management and the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science that provides leadership training for urban school principals.

The Academic Leadership Award will be given periodically to recognize those leaders who “believe in a tradition of academic excellence and have proven that presidential leadership and faculty quality are the critical elements that distinguish one university from another,” Gregorian said.

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