Insistent Change: Columbia’s Core Curriculum at 100


2000s: Science Returns to the Core

As the new millennium began, science once again came to the forefront with increasing alarms about "Global Warming", rapid changes in technology, and a post-Cold War decline in federal science funding which contributed to an overall concern over how science was to be pursued and to what ends.

The arrival of a new president, Lee Bollinger, in 2002 and Columbia's celebration of its 250th anniversary just two years later contributed to a sense of reflection and new direction, particularly with regard to science. As President of the University of Michigan, Bollinger had overseen the development of the Life Sciences Institute, an expansion of cutting edge research facilities that trustees and administrators hoped to emulate on the new Manhattanville campus.

Meanwhile Provost Jonathan Cole, an enthusiastic Core alumnus and notable sociologist of science, pioneered the use of patent licensing to compensate for the decline in federal science funding.

The Bollinger administration's desire to bridge the long-standing science-humanities "gap" at Columbia led to a new effort to finally restore science to the Core.

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