MSU’s President: institutes detract

Here’s an interesting piece by Princeton’s Stan Katz on Michigan State University’s President Simon has concluded regarding excellence at the large public university:

MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon is quoted as saying that therefore “the university [must look] at the big picture before it considers any new program and balances societal needs with the institution’s strengths. . . . ‘You try to find areas where you can be one of the best, if not the best.’” The operational conclusion has been “the elimination of independent research centers, which have self-sustaining budgets and can create barriers to interdisciplinary collaboration.”

Forgive me, but I don’t see this logic. Seems to me, that institutes do the opposite–they in fact eliminate barriers that would naturally exist between conventional units to trans-disciplinary collaboration. Read the piece and see what you think.