In 2013 the American Academy of Arts and Sciences established a Committee co-chaired by Robert Birgeneau and Mary Sue Coleman, the former President of the University of Michigan, to carry out a comprehensive study of public higher education in the United States. The Project is entitled "The Lincoln Project: Excellence and Access in Public Higher education". The committee consists of former politicians such as Kay Bailey Hutchison and George Miller, business leaders such as Bob Haas,Tom Siebel and Patrick Doyle, former public and private university Presidents and chancellors, data experts and educational experts, led by Henry Brady. The study has led to a number of dramatic conclusions including the fact that state disinvestment in public higher education is a national phenomenon and probably irreversible because of forces beyond the control of state legislators. In order to guarantee that the United States will continue to have world leading public research universities, which are accessible to the entire population, not just students from privileged backgrounds, a new compact for the support of public higher education is required. This compact will involve symbiotic partnerships between the federal and state governments,corporations, foundations and philanthropists, the universities and their students. We will discuss specific actions by each of these sectors and specific state and federal government legislation which will enable our public universities both to excel and to continue to retain their public character.
Robert J Birgeneau received his Ph.D. in Physics from Yale University in 1966 with Professor Werner Wolf. He was on the faculty of Yale for one year and then spent one year at Oxford University. He was at Bell Laboratories from 1968 to 1975 and then went to MIT in September 1975 as Professor of Physics. In 1988 he became head of the department and in 1991 became Dean of Science at MIT. In 2000, he became President of the University of Toronto. In 2004 he became UC Berkeley’s Chancellor and joined the Physics faculty. He concluded his service as Chancellor at the end of May 2013 and is now the Arnold and Barbara Silverman Distinguished Professor of Physics, Materials Science and Engineering, and Public Policy. Professor Birgeneau is the co-chair of the Lincoln Project with Mary Sue Coleman, the President Emeritus of the University of Michigan. The Lincoln Project is an initiative of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences which advocates for the importance of public colleges and universities and devises strategies to increase their funding.
Henry Brady is Dean of the Goldman School of Public Policy and Class of 1941 Monroe Deutsch Professor of Political Science and Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley. He received his PhD in Economics and Political Science from MIT in 1980. He has written on electoral politics and political participation, social welfare policy, political polling, and statistical methodology, and he has worked for the federal Office of Management and Budget and other organizations in Washington, D.C. He is past president of the American Political Science Association, past president of the Political Methodology Society of the American Political Science Association, and director of the University of California’s Survey Research Center from 1998 to 2009.