Jonathan R. Cole is the John Mitchell Mason Professor of the University. For fourteen years, from 1989 to 2003, he was Provost and Dean of Faculties of Columbia University—the second longest tenure as Provost in the University's 258-year history. He has spent his academic career at Columbia. From 1987 to 1989 he was Vice President of Arts and Sciences.
His scholarly work focused principally on the development of the sociology of science as a research specialty. This is seen in early published papers and in his 1973 book with Stephen Cole, Social Stratification in Science (University of Chicago Press). Among his other published works on science are: Peer Review in the National Science Foundation: Phase One of a Study (1978); Peer Review in the National Science Foundation: Phase Two of a Study (1981); Fair Science: Women in the Scientific Community (1987); The Outer Circle: Women in the Scientific Community (1991).
In recent years, his scholarly attention focused on issues in higher education, particularly problems facing the great American research universities. His edited book The Research University in a Time of Discontent (1994, Johns Hopkins University Press), contains essays by prominent educators, including his own opening chapter, "Balancing Acts: Dilemmas of Choice Facing Research Universities." His most recent book, The Great American University: Its Rise to Preeminence, Its Indispensable National Role, Why It Must Be Protected (Public Affairs, 2011), is being translated into Chinese (March 2013) and Arabic (summer, 2013). He recently co-edited a book, Who's Afraid of Academic Freedom? (Columbia University Press, forthcoming), which includes several of his works on academic freedom and free inquiry—and that includes the results of a pilot empirical study on the views of faculty members on academic freedom. He lectures throughout the world on topics related to higher education. He posts opinion pieces on The Huffington Post, and The Economist.com.
Jonathan R. Cole was a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences from 1975-76. He was awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship (1975-76). He spent the 1986-87 academic year as a Visiting Scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation. In 1992, he was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is an elected Member of the American Philosophical Society; Member, Council on Foreign Relations; and Elected Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science.
He received his B.A. in American History from Columbia College in 1964 and his Ph.D. in Sociology from Columbia in 1969. From 1968 until today, he has taught at Columbia. He was the Adolphe Quetelet Professor of Social Science, 1989 to 2001; Professor of Sociology, Columbia University from 1976 to present. He was Adjunct Professor at the Rockefeller University from 1983-1985.
He has held the following administrative posts at Columbia: Director, Center for the Social Sciences, 1979-1987; Vice President of Arts and Sciences, Columbia University, 1987-1989; Provost and Dean of Faculties, Columbia University, 1989-2003.
The awards he has received include: Fellow, Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford, California, 1975-76; John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, 1975-76; Elected Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1992; Cavaliere Ufficiale in the Order of Merit of the Republic of Italy, 1996; Commendatore in the Order of Merit of the Republic of Italy, 2003; "National Associate" U.S. National Academies of Sciences, 2003. Member, Council on Foreign Relations, 2003; Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2004; Member, American Philosophical Society, 2005.