At City Club 06.15.05: Education is Transformational

Submitted by peter holmes on Wed, 06/15/2005 - 14:52.

"Education is about the transformation of learners not the transmission of information," Case President Edward M. Hundert, reminded a Cleveland City Club audience Wednesday. Nearing his third anniversary as the University's leader, Hundert told aspiring leaders, "It is not about having a bold vision, is is about executing that vision."

Hundert, the first major university president trained as a psychiatrist, linked the very process of taking action to integrating new behaviors, in order to bring about change. "It is a challenge to promote and nurture leaders," he noted, adding, "I spend a lot of time educating people about what we can do."

"I spend a lot of time running interference," for people trying to change things, Hundert said. "As soon as a strong leader comes to town there are ripples," he said of Case's experience in implementing change, in an area currently noted for its paucity of leaders.

He pointed to some recent Case successes :

- 50 percent increase in the size of the freshman class entering in September;
- a five-step jump to 13th, among medical schools' National Institutes of Health grants;
- BioEnterprise, a Case affiliate, is spawning bio-technology start-ups at the fastest growth rate in the nation;

Hundert said he was committed to "excellence" and "best practices", and trying to make Case the nation's best research institution in terms of partnering with its stakeholders. He used words like "inspire" and "cajole" to describe his tools for changing the University's culture, to create what in his words is the most powerful learning environment in the entire world.

"You have to get people to act in the new way of thinking," he noted, "rather than trying to get them to think differently before acting differently." Hundert noted the success of the School of Arts & Sciences undergraduate SAGES program as an example of the process. "Now is the time to get people to act differently," he said. "I try to raise the aspirations of everybody that I meet." He concluded: " What I am trying to do is wear everybody down with good will."

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