International Policy Center Home Page

Paul Courant to organize bicentennial colloquium on the social compact with universities

January 29, 2016

Presidential Bicentennial Professors Paul Courant and Susan Alcock have been tapped to organize and oversee a bicentennial colloquium on "The Future of the Social Compact with Universities."

U-M President Mark Schlissel will sponsor three such colloquia throughout 2017—the University of Michigan’s bicentennial—on topics related to the university’s future. According to the University Record article, “Schlissel announces topics, professors for bicentennial colloquia,” these will focus on

  • the future university community (winter 2017),
  • the future of the social compact with universities (June 2017), and
  • the future place of the university (October 2017).

Courant’s colloquium on the future of the social compact is described as such:

In conjunction with the annual Tanner Foundation meeting, which will bring together an extraordinary group of university leaders and which will take place in Ann Arbor, this colloquium explores the future public missions of the university—the university’s roles, in Harold Shapiro’s phrase, as ‘servant and critic of society.’

How can the university best engage with the many public interests, concerns and controversies that are inevitably part of its work? What should society expect from the university, and how should the university respond to those expectations? How do we assure that the rich life of the mind is recognized as essential to any successful contract between the university and society at large?

Paul N. Courant is the Harold T. Shapiro Collegiate Professor of Public Policy, an Arthur  F. Thurnau Professor, and a professor of economics and information at the University of Michigan. He was university librarian and dean of libraries (2007-13), provost and executive vice-president for academic affairs (2002-05), and has also served as chair of the Department of Economics and, on multiple occasions, director of the Institute of Public Policy Studies (which is now the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy). In 1979 and 1980 he was a senior staff economist at the White House Council of Economic Advisers.