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Choice Quotes from David Harris

Last month we stumbled upon a wonderfully provocative quote from President Skorton on the challenge of organizational efficiencies at Cornell.

Today we bring four choice quotes from interim Provost David Harris on the challenge of admissions and financial aid at Cornell. They speak for themselves, and so we offer them with little comment.

On the bitter irony of educating more poor students:

Doing anything at Cornell costs a lot more than other schools and that’s a big part of our count – just more expensive. We’re victims, if you will, by the fact that we’ve been economically diverse much more so than some of our peers and we’re larger.

On how to recruit under-represented minorities to Cornell:

The overall approach here is that everything we do around underrepresented minorities we should think of them as students first, URMs second. We’re very concerned about the number of URMs. But I fear that we can turn off some kids off who may be thinking, “I want to come to Cornell because I love English; I want to be an English major” and if they feel that they’re not having those avenues open to them and they’re getting channeled more as a URM. We need worry about that kind of negative impact on our ability to recruit and so we want to think about a range of things that people see and feel.

On whether or not the other Ivy schools are adhering to a common policy regarding financial aid for athletes:

We’re less competitive because there has been a relative change in what we do for athletes – not an absolute change what we do for athletes. Harvard, Yale and Princeton and in particular Harvard, has gone way beyond in what it they can offer kids in terms of parent contributions and in terms of loans in terms of how much summer savings is expected – a whole range of things. There are a number of our peer institutions who are matching Harvard, Yale and Princeton on these terms in ways that are hard to reconcile with Ivy League rules in many cases.

And, finally, is it time to bring back the Image Committee?

The greatest policy in the world is of no use if no one knows about our policy. Has anybody been to our Admissions and Financial Aid websites lately? They’re not so good. They look like they’ve been around for quite a while and so we have to improve those at a minimum. We may not have policies that are as good as some places, but we have to at least sell ourselves as best we possibility can. We can create recruitment materials. Some of that can talk about financial aid... We can do a better job on that. We need to communicate better. I don’t think a lot of people even know the changes we made in January.

Late Update: For those who may be wondering, the quotes come from the Faculty Senate meeting this past October. And David Harris writes in to say that, "We recently revised the admissions and financial aid websites, so the comments about those sites are no longer relevant."

Matthew Nagowski | Posted on November 17, 2008 (#)

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