何毓琦的个人博客分享 http://blog.sciencenet.cn/u/何毓琦 哈佛(1961-2001) 清华(2001-date)

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Achieiving Academic Excellence

已有 1542 次阅读 2019-6-12 21:12 |个人分类:S and T|系统分类:海外观察

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Can you achieve “academic excellence” via rules, evaluation standards, and other legislations?

In my interactions with my Chinese colleagues, question often arise as to what sort of rules, regulations, and systems govern a first rate universities. In an authoritarian meritocracy, people often belief “Excellence” can be ordered and or manufactured by legislation. Thus, official rules and regulation are often created in academic institutions to promote “fame”, to evaluate “excellence”, and to guard against corruption. This is all well intentioned and good. But if one looks at the academic scene in the US and considering private vs public institutions of higher learning, the former category definitely enjoys an advantage. MIT and Harvard (The Tsinghua and Beida of the US) both are private institutions. They do not have a legislature overlooking their work and “excellence” are not quantified by supposedly objective and official measures as bureaucrats like to do. Instead world wide peer review and opinion represents the ultimate authority and reward system (Note almost all academic prizes including the Nobel are administered by peer groups and government are not involved).

The points is “innovation and discovery” is an artistic endeavor. They cannot be regulated and manufactured on order. The best thing society can do is to provide the environment and resources conducive to invention and let people do what they want and are interested in. THIS IS ACADEMIC FREEDOM!

Of course, you would counter with the WWII Manhattan Project which government organized and produced the Atomic Bomb. But without the initial scientific and experimental work of Einstein and Fermi, No one would dream engineering an A-bomb is possible.

 




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