Bob Nelson

For immediate release


(212) 854-6580

Dec. 7, 1998



Michael Crow, Science Policy Expert,

Appointed Columbia's Executive Vice Provost


Michael M. Crow, who has tirelessly advanced Columbia University's scientific and engineering prowess and created new multidisciplinary links across the institution since arriving in 1991, has been appointed to the new position of executive vice pr ovost.

The Trustees of Columbia made the appointment at their regular meeting Dec. 4 and President George Rupp announced their action. The appointment takes effect retroactively to July 1.

Dr. Crow's tenure so far will be remembered for bringing Biosphere 2, the troubled environmental research campus in Oracle, Ariz., under Columbia's aegis and turning it into a productive facility; for creating a pronounced emphasis on environmental research and education, including the successful "Earth semester," which has attracted more than 300 undergraduate students from across the country; and for channeling Columbia's fees from technology licenses back into research, often helping young scien tists establish a reputation and gain outside funding. As a science policy expert and professor of science and technology policy, he also teaches graduate courses in Columbia's School of International and Public Affairs.

"Mike Crow has brought together disciplines and departments, identified the most critical research and education issues of the coming century and revamped the Columbia Innovation Enterprise," said President George Rupp. "He is an extraordinarily va luable asset to the University."

In his new role, Dr. Crow will be a member of President Rupp's cabinet and will oversee the University's multi-disciplinary programs, its scientific research

policy and administration, its new media activities, several new international initiatives and a range of other strategic projects. Among the existing University offices for which he assumes responsibility are the Columbia Earth Institute, a University -wide research and education initiative, and the Office of Projects and Grants, which administers research funding received by Columbia faculty. Dr. Crow will continue to have responsibility for the Columbia Innovation Enterprise, the University's technol ogy licensing arm.

"Michael Crow has found common themes in the work of researchers from disparate disciplines and has brought them together to address real problems faced by American society," said Provost Jonathan Cole. "We at Columbia are fortunate to have him amo ng our top administrative leaders."

Dr. Crow said that in his new position, he expects to devote more time to the University's new media activities, including a possible web alliance with other respected institutions. He doesn't expect information technology to make college campuses obsolete, as Eli Noam, Columbia's well-known telecommunications expert, business professor and director of the Columbia Institute for Tele-Information, wrote in a controversial article in Science magazine. "Knowledge creation and transfer takes pla ce in the kind of open, collaborative environment we have created at Columbia," Dr. Crow said. "If anything, physical campuses will become more relevant, precisely because it is here that knowledge is created."

Dr. Crow, who was born in San Diego and took his Ph.D. in public policy at Syracuse University, came to Columbia in 1991 as associate vice provost for science and engineering. In 1993, he was promoted to vice provost and transformed Columbia's Offi ce of Science and Technology into the Columbia Innovation Enterprise. He credits the CIE's dramatic increase in revenue in the last five years to existing patents, but has been instrumental in launching several Columbia start-up companies, which market su ch diverse products developed at Columbia as telecommunications software and a hemispheric camera.

"Michael Crow is a leader in dealing with intellectual property and is very smart about making investments with the University's money," said Herbert Pardes, dean of Columbia's College of Physicians & Surgeons and head of the Health Sciences Di vision.

Dr. Crow has won respect among the faculty throughout the University for understanding that administrators can't dictate the direction research will take.

Instead, he tries to show enterprising researchers the possibilities their work can open up. Mark Cane, the G. Unger Vetlesen Professor of Earth and Environmental Science, said he didn't think the new International Research Institute for Climate Predic tion, now under construction at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia's earth sciences campus in Palisades, N.Y., would have become a reality without Dr. Crow's institutional midwifing skills. And Stephen Murray, chairman and professor of art history , recognizes that Dr. Crow helped show him that an intelligent use of technology - for example, the Amiens Project, a multimedia representation of Amiens Cathedral - could contribute to a well-defined pedagogical mission. Dr. Murray now heads the Media Ce nter for Art History, which is breaking ground in the use of technology for teaching the humanities.

Dr. Crow also encouraged Sheila Kamerman, the respected social work researcher, to put her expertise behind another multidisciplinary project, the new Institute for Child and Family Policy, which links Teachers College, the School of Social Work an d the Joseph L. Mailman School of Public Health. Dr. Kamerman, the Compton Foundation Centennial Professor of Social Work, believes the institute will expand the research horizons of its affiliated researchers and appreciates Crow's input.

"Michael has substantive knowledge in a wide range of areas and brings enormous enthusiasm and competence to his job," she said. "It's also gratifying to see merit rewarded."

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