Monitor on Psychology - September 2011 - (Page 30)

Questionnaire High goals for higher learning Music and cognition researcher Jamshed Bharucha takes the helm at Cooper Union and hopes to pave the way for cross-cultural collaboration among colleges. By MiChAEL PRiCE Monitor staff F or more than 25 years, Jamshed Bharucha, PhD, has studied how chords, harmonies and musical complexity affect our brains, fill us with emotion and inspire us. Now he’s attempting to create harmony among academic departments and inspire greater global cooperation among institutes of higher learning as the new president of the private college Cooper Union in New York City. Bharucha, who headed the departments of psychology, music and neuroscience at Tufts University for nine years, contributed a number of key findings in musical cognition, such as the fact that people identify in-tune chords more quickly when the chords relate to each other, and that listening to polyphonic music (which consists of multiple melodies) engages the brain’s working memory and attention circuits. He’s also written essays about the challenges facing higher education, arguing that the ways schools design their curricula go against our neuropsychological understanding of memory and that if schools are to succeed under increasingly restrictive economic pressures, they need to reach out globally to share resources with other institutions. His drive for social change and progress underlies Bharucha’s educational mission, and it’s what drew him to Cooper Union. The university is well known for providing every admitted student with a full-tuition scholarship and for its rich history of supporting progressive causes such as women’s suffrage and civil rights. Bharucha plans to leverage that progressive inclination to serve as a model for other higher education institutions as colleges and universities in many parts of the world experience a dearth of educational opportunities, while education costs in the United States skyrocket. He hopes his tenure at Cooper Union will give him a forum to discuss these changes and implement collaborations that allow institutions across the world to help solve each other’s problems. The result, he hopes, will be a globally united higher education network and an increased emphasis on social responsibility. What motivated you to seek this position? Ever since its founding in 1859, Cooper Union has been a leader in so many respects. The Great Hall at Cooper Union launched Lincoln into the presidency. The NAACP hosted its first meeting there. The suffragettes got started at Cooper Union. There were major conferences of Native American leaders. To this very day, it’s a forum for presidents, major speakers and leaders and there’s tremendous possibility to leverage that in a modern context, providing a world forum and a forum that can also be taken into cyberspace. What do you want your legacy to be? It’s too early to tell about specific goals, but I certainly think a better integration of the sciences and the arts is needed. Higher education needs a more dynamic and global perspective. We must prepare our students to work on a global stage, whether they’re in the arts or humanities or sciences or engineering or social sciences. All fields are going to be influenced by the increasing crossing of borders by ideas and people. That will definitely be one of my goals. Another area that interests me is how to preserve academic disciplinary excellence and rigor while at the same time preparing students to tackle the important problems of society. I think many institutions are thinking about that balance. We need to find a way to combine both the pure value of selfrealization and intellectual development and the other, more worldly value of producing leaders who can actually lift up those less fortunate. how do the challenges in the united States compare with those faced by institutions globally? My studies suggest that the biggest challenge is the ability to expand higher education opportunities to more people. 30 Monitor on psychology • septeMber 2011

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Monitor on Psychology - September 2011

Monitor on Psychology - September 2011
President’s Column
From the CEO
Supreme Court hears psychologists on prison and video game cases
Antipsychotics are overprescribed in nursing homes
New MCAT likely to recognize the mind-body connection
A $2 million boost for military and families
In Brief
On Your Behalf
Judicial Notebook
Random Sample
Speaking of Education
An uncertain future for American workers
Advocating for psychotherapy
Seared in our memories
Helping kids cope in an uncertain world
APA and Nickelodeon team up
Muslims in America, post 9/11
Bin Laden’s death
‘They expect us to be there’
Answering the call of public policy
Candidates answer final questions
APA News
Division Spotlight
New leaders
Disaster relief training
Honoring teaching excellence

Monitor on Psychology - September 2011