How COVID-19 is changing our universities, with President Marc Tessier-Lavigne (EP.09)
Civic RxSeptember 17, 2020
27:4219.21 MB

How COVID-19 is changing our universities, with President Marc Tessier-Lavigne (EP.09)

A couple weeks ago we heard from Richard Barth, President of the KIPP public charter school network, about how K-12 schools across the country are navigating the capricious and unprecedented demands of COVID-19 this school year. Today we hear from a leader in higher education about how one major university is managing the same. Marc Tessier-Lavigne is a pioneering neuroscientist, biotechnology executive, and, since 2016, the president of Stanford University, where he has accelerated the university’s commitment to not only advancing knowledge but also leveraging those discoveries to solve real-world problems. 

President Tessier-Lavigne’s own story — as the son of a Canadian military family, a first-generation college student and Rhodes Scholar who went on to perform groundbreaking neurological research and serve as both Genentech executive and now two-time university president — itself deserves a full conversation. But suffice it to say that, as a Stanford alum, I’m grateful that the university and my second home have President Tessier-Lavigne at the helm during this crisis.  

Across the country, over 88,000 cases have already been reported on college campuses. Stanford made headlines last month when it announced that, in response to these numbers, it was closing its campus to most undergraduates this fall. Today, President Tessier-Lavigne and I explore how Stanford has reimagined its campus to prepare for COVID-19. We unpack why school leaders pivoted their reopening strategy amid the virus’s summer surge. We discuss college sports, and the Pac-12’s contentious decision to cancel football this season. We examine the financial consequences that this, and many other necessary changes, have exacted, both from students and from the university as an institution. And all of these issues we consider through the lens of equity. 

For more details on the discussion, check out:

  • Stanford’s reopening plans
  • this profile of President Marc Tessier-Lavigne, and
  • NYT’s college cases tracker, which only continues to grow.

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