Joseph Nye on the Ivory Towers

I really liked this piece from Joseph Nye of “soft power” fame in the Washington Post. I remember reading an article during my undergrad by Lisa Anderson, now the provost of AUC, about how academics and policy-makers need to do a better job of working together. Here are some quotes:

Scholars are paying less attention to questions about how their work relates to the policy world, and in many departments a focus on policy can hurt one’s career. Advancement comes faster for those who develop mathematical models, new methodologies or theories expressed in jargon that is unintelligible to policymakers.

Yet too often scholars teach theory and methods that are relevant to other academics but not to the majority of the students sitting in the classroom before them.

I definitely think this can go both ways, and policy-makers sometimes ignore academics for the wine-sipping, elbow-patch wearing snobs that they are. Academics complain so often about American policy, which they have a right to do, and which they should do. But how about using that Harvard PhD to actually help the US make better policy decisions?

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