Derek Curtis Bok (born March 22, 1930) is an American lawyer and educator, and the former president of Harvard University.Bok was born in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, and graduated from Stanford University (B.A., 1951), Harvard Law School (J.D., 1954), and George Washington University (A.M., 1958).
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If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.
Critics of American colleges typically attribute the failings of undergraduate education to a tendency on the part of professors to neglect their teaching to concentrate on research. In fact, the evidence does not support this thesis, except perhaps in major research universities.
For some students, especially in the sciences, the knowledge gained in college may be directly relevant to graduate study. For almost all students, a liberal arts education works in subtle ways to create a web of knowledge that will illumine problems and enlighten judgment on innumerable occasions in later life.
If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.
I won't say there aren't any Harvard graduates who have never asserted a superior attitude. But they have done so to our great embarrassment and in no way represent the Harvard I know.
Ever since economists revealed how much universities contribute to economic growth, politicians have paid close attention to higher education.
Economists who have studied the relationship between education and economic growth confirm what common sense suggests: The number of college degrees is not nearly as important as how well students develop cognitive skills, such as critical thinking and problem-solving ability.
I think the minority students that we admit to Harvard are every bit as meritorious as the white students that we admit.
Although professors regard improving critical thinking as the most important goal of college, tests reveal that seniors who began their studies with average critical thinking skills have progressed only from the 50th percentile of entering freshmen to about the 69th percentile.
Greater inequality in Europe has made people less happy.
Freshly minted Ph.Ds typically teach the way their favorite professors taught.
I think it's sort of an outrage that companies should have to hire firms to teach the college graduates they employ how to write.
The most obvious purpose of college education is to help students acquire information and knowledge by acquainting them with facts, theories, generalizations, principles, and the like. This purpose scarcely requires justification.
The oldest of the arts and the youngest of the professions.
I think any self-respecting educational institution ought to judge its policies by its best estimate of what their long-term consequences for their students and for the society will be.
If we are prepared to invest the necessary time and effort, affirmative action can contribute to Harvard's quality and not detract from it.
There are no tests similar to SATs to tell us how much undergraduates know.
State legislators, who appropriate billions of dollars each year to higher education, are naturally interested in finding out what they are getting for their money.
An educated man must have a "curiosity in exploring the unfamiliar and unexpected, an open-mindedness in entertaining opposing points of view, tolerance for the ambiguity that surrounds so many important issues, and a willingness to make the best decisions he can in the face of uncertainty and doubt".
I suspect that no community will become humane and caring by restricting what its members can say.
Early admission programs tend to advantage the advantaged.
Colleges and universities, for all the benefits they bring, accomplish far less for their students than they should. Many students graduate without being able to write well enough to satisfy their employers... reason clearly or perform competently in analyzing complex, non-technical problems.
Fewer than half of all university professors publish as much as one article per year.
If you think the cost of education is high, think about ignorance.
The first country to adopt happiness as an official goal of public policy is the tiny little country of Bhutan in Asia near China and India.
The college that takes students with modest entering abilities and improves their abilities substantially contributes more than the school that takes very bright students and helps them develop only modestly.
Despite the hours spent debating different models of general education, the choices faculties make rarely lead to any significant difference in the cognitive development of undergraduates.
There is far too much law for those who can afford it and far too little for those who cannot.