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Profiles

Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot Henry Rosovsky
Katherine Merseth Charles Deutsch
Martha Minow

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Henry Rosovsky
Photograph by David Zadig

Henry Rosovsky, Ph.D. '59, cochair of the Harvard Project on Schooling and Children, started his professional life as an economist who specialized in the Far East, particularly Japan. He has been a professor of economics at Harvard since 1965, and was dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences from 1973 to 1984. The Geyser University Professor emeritus, Rosovsky has been teaching courses on higher education at the Graduate School of Education.

"I believe in youth," he explains. "When I got through being dean, I said to myself, 'I have a few years left, the Japanese don't need me (and anyway, there are lots of people in that field), so let me try to focus on something that is of social importance and in which I have acquired a great deal of experience.' I chose education.

"When it comes to schooling and children," he says, "the big question is, What can Harvard do? Where does our comparative advantage lie? The schools are in a perilous state and the problems that come into play are of such complexity and vastness they are just frightful. We can't solve national problems, but there is a role for us."

That role, he suggests, might embrace four or five likely areas. "The first is science. We have a lot of faculty members who are interested in doing something for the schools. Another area is leadership in the schools; the Business School, for instance, could really help improve the management of schools since they have lots to offer in training people to run institutions. Third, I am determined that we should have some involvement with local systems. Fourth, we are making good progress in setting up a possible future concentration for undergraduates in the general area of schooling and children. And a fifth thing we can do particularly well is to be a forum for children's issues nationally."

He is impatient for HPSC "to engage." "We have brains and means," he says, "and now we are doing something with them."
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