In a thoughtful interview (by Heidi Aspaturian, Caltech News vol. 24, no. 3) Professor Steve Koonin talks about the challenges of being provost (chief academic officer) of a major research institution. Those challenges are profound ones — tough trade-offs between breadth and depth, between independence and cooperation, science and the humanities, teaching and research, business and academia, and on and on. This is the real world. Nothing is simple.

Prof. Koonin concludes: "That's one of the key things I think I've learned as provost — that decisions are not always optimized. This job has also taught me a lot about human nature, and about how heavily it figures into science and engineering. And that has humbled me in some ways. In this kind of environment, it becomes so clear that while there are right answers, there are also good answers, and that the two are not always the same. It sure is interesting. Hope I've done some good."

Sounds like a worthy goal for everybody: "Hope I've done some good."

(See also the 4 May 1999 ^zhurnal entry SimpleAnswers, and My Religion, the 6 November 2000 quotation from Middlemarch by George Eliot.)

Saturday, December 16, 2000 at 21:53:39 (EST) = 2000-12-16

TopicOrganizations - TopicPhilosophy

(correlates: Chess Is an Ocean, SimplyGoodHearted, OrganizationalInertia, ...)

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