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Intervention by Denise Caruso Read Intervention by Denise Caruso, Executive Director of the Hybrid Vigor Silver Award Winner, 2007 Independent Publisher Book Awards; Best Business Books 2007, Strategy+Business Magazine

archive for January, 2008

‘ALICE’S ADVENTURES IN TENURELAND’

by ~ January 28, 2008

Today’s ‘Inside Higher Ed’ blog posted an interesting analysis of tenure versus interdisciplinary research. Nice to see these issues getting aired on a broader stage, although the argument sounded familiar to our ears.

In 2001, Diana Rhoten and I wrote Hybrid Vigor’s first white paper on roadblocks to interdisciplinary practice, that included tenure as well as several other factors that continue to relegate interdisciplinary scholarship to 2nd-class (or so) status.

It’s called “Lead, Follow, Get Out of the Way: Sidestepping the Barriers to Effective Practice of Interdisciplinarity.” You can download it here [PDF].

METRICS RUN AMOK
ARE KILLING NONPROFITS

by ~ January 7, 2008

Yesterday, my New York Times “Re:framing” column was about the lack of working capital available to nonprofits for their most basic operating needs, and its tragic effects.

It was called, “Can Foundations Take the Long View Again?,” and you should read it just to see the brilliant illustration that ran with it, if nothing else. (You can hit the link to the left, or paste this into your browser - free subscription required - http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/06/business/06frame.html?_r=1&oref=slogin.)

The theme was that as private wealth has migrated into the philanthropic world over the past 30 years, private industry’s methods for gauging the success of any given investment migrated along with it.

To wit: foundation directors, trustees and advisers from corporate America decided that the return on charitable dollars should be tangible and measurable, and should drive capital flow in much the same way that earnings figures do in commerce.

This started the push into project-focused giving, with strictly limited amounts of dollars going to support nonprofits’ operations or overhead costs. Ostensibly this was because it was easier to gauge the “efficiency” of charitable dollars spent if the funding was for some discrete project, like giving away mosquito nets or removing creosote from playgrounds.

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