Deans are almost never asked their opinion about anything. When we offer opinions, usually unsolicited, we are not taken to have offered opinions but to have offered emerging policies. Then if someone in the English department is around, of course, those are negatively reviewed immediately. So it's great to brainstorm some.
One reason I was asked was because of my local fame in futurology on area networks. I am one of those people who in 1982 or thereabouts, on the basis of overwhelming evidence (in addition to a special kind of insight that I have) predicted we ought all to downsize our operations because of the impending decline in the college age population, which would result in smaller colleges. My second prediction was that we had about reached the limit on tuition increases and we were going to have to live within our means. Through all, I fortunately have retained my modesty.
My perspective is that of a person who has responsibilities for helping to formulate overall institutional vision. What happens when a question like the impact of unlimited information comes together with some areas of major responsibilities for me? I'll discuss several needs I see though not in equal detail: to formulate an overall vision of the curriculum, to attend to issues of faculty development, to create self conscious understanding of institutional
Clark is Provost and Academic Dean, Earlham College, Richmond, Indiana.