Bank Chairman: Don’t Turn Schools into Businesses

Academic and corporate leaders map path for schools struggling in current financial climate

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Bryan Bedder / Getty Images for TIME

Judy Woodruff, James Duderstadt and Chad Holliday

Research universities are floundering and while government must do more, academic and business leaders said Friday at TIME’s Education Summit, schools must also look inward to find solutions.

“Research universities must be there,” said Chad Holliday, the chairman of the Bank of America, recognizing the value of such institutions from a business perspective. “We just do not have a choice for the prosperity of the country.”

“What is unique about American higher education is a partnership between the university, government, states and business world. But what’s happening right now is that partnership is beginning to fray,” said James Dunderstadt, former president of the University of Michigan.

One path forward for universities is for them to assist each other, they said. Dunderstadt pointed to the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon—two schools that have little in common besides proximity—sharing resources and working together to achieve goals. “We’re talking about cooperation and commitment across the state,” Dunderstadt said.

Universities, too, will have to reconcile their contradictions, the men said. Schools must embrace business, although, Holliday, tha bank chairman, said, “it’s critical we don’t make universities into a business.”