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
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."