Thursday, May 30, 2013

Do you believe this?

Birgeneau "interviewed" by his PR team: " I was recruited for the job in an extraordinarily brief period of time — the entire recruitment process, from when I agreed to be a candidate to when I was offered the position, was slightly less than 48 hours. The president of the system, Bob Dynes — whom I knew well — called me up and said, “You don’t have to commit to being a candidate — just come and talk to the committee. ”

That was on a Wednesday. I flew out on Thursday, and my interview was at 8 o’clock Friday morning. I am a reasonably competitive person, so I presented myself to the committee as someone who very much wanted the position. Coming to Berkeley would have required me to leave the presidency in Toronto after four years, and I did not feel good about that. Basically, I had not finished what I wanted to do in Toronto. On the Friday afternoon, I was on a Hertz shuttle bus [at Logan Airport], heading to our home in Boston where Mary Catherine was waiting, when the phone rang. It was the head of the search firm, offering me the position."
" A fair fraction of our faculty did not believe, when the first big budget cuts came, that we could both maintain our excellence and continue to be committed to the goals of equity and inclusion, for example, by providing the kind of financial aid that we do to low-income students."
"Thus, initially our internationalization had nothing to do with money. In fact, when I started to push for an increase in the percentage of international students, I did not even understand the financial implications. In particular, I did not know what the tuition was for out-of-state and international students at that time. My motivation was entirely educational."

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