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Michael M. Crow

Michael Crow
Michael Crow by Gage Skidmore 3.jpg
President of Arizona State University
Assumed office
July 1, 2002
Preceded byLattie F. Coor
Personal details
Michael M. Crow

(1955-10-11) October 11, 1955 (age 64)
San Diego, California, U.S.
Spouse(s)Sybil Francis
EducationIowa State University (BA)
Syracuse University (PhD)
WebsiteOfficial website

Michael M. Crow[1] (born October 11, 1955) is an American academic and university administrator. He is the 16th and current president of Arizona State University, having succeeded Lattie F. Coor on July 1, 2002. He was previously Executive Vice Provost of Columbia University, where he was also Professor of Science and Technology Policy in the School of International and Public Affairs. He is also chairman of the board for In-Q-Tel, the Central Intelligence Agency's venture capital firm.[2][3]

Life and career

Michael Crow was born in San Diego, California on October 11, 1955, the eldest of four siblings.[4] His mother died when he was 9 leaving his widowed father, a sailor in the United States Navy, to raise the children on his own. As is common with military families, they moved many times during Crow's childhood. Crow was a Boy Scout who earned the rank of Eagle Scout in 1969.[5] By the time he had graduated from Warren Township High School, he had attended 17 different schools.[6] He attended Iowa State University on an ROTC scholarship, graduating in 1977 with a BA in political science and environmental studies. Following his graduation he worked for five years at research centers in Iowa and Illinois focusing on energy and policy research.[6][7]

After earning his doctoral degree in Public Administration (Science and Technology Policy) from Syracuse University in 1985, he worked as an advisor to the Office of Technology Assessment at the U.S. Congress and was a Research Fellow on the Technology and Information Policy Program at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. He concurrently began his teaching career, first at the University of Kentucky and then at Iowa State University. He joined the Iowa State faculty in 1988 as an Associate Professor and Director of its Institute for Physical Research and Technology. By 1991, he had become an Institute Professor there and had also worked as a consultant for the U.S. Department of Energy and Columbia University.[4][8]

Crow left Iowa State in 1991 to take up an appointment as Professor of Science and Technology Policy, at Columbia's School of International and Public Affairs. He was a protégé of Jonathan Cole, Provost and Dean of Faculties at Columbia, and his administrative career progressed rapidly. Within two years, Crow was appointed Executive Vice Provost, Columbia's third highest administrative post.[9] At Columbia, he was instrumental in developing the university's digital on-line education strategy and in creating the Columbia Earth Institute.[8] In 1999, Crow was asked by Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet to become chairman of the board for In-Q-Tel, the CIA's venture capital firm.[10][2]

In 2002, Crow was appointed the 16th and current President of Arizona State University. In 2006 he was made a Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration and in 2008 received an honorary doctorate from his alma mater, Iowa State University.[11][12]

President, Arizona State University

Michael M. Crow at Old Main at Arizona State University in Tempe.

As President of ASU, Michael Crow has sought to redefine the role of ASU as the "New American University".[13][14] These changes have generated praise as well as considerable controversy and criticism, much of it centered around the business-style changes he has imposed on academia.[15][16][17]

According to the Wall Street Journal, these include a tendency toward top-down determination of research directions, and an emphasis on revenue generation.[15] Since his tenure began at ASU, there have been several lawsuits against the university brought by professors alleging that the normal academic procedures for determining professorial tenure and the allocation of research resources were being bypassed.[15][18][19][20][21] Newsweek pointed out that Crow's shift toward a corporate CEO style of academic management with an emphasis on bringing in corporate partners and radically restructuring old departments into interdisciplinary institutes was already evident when he was Vice-Provost of Columbia University in the 1990s.[13] The Wall Street Journal reported in 2006 that during his tenure there Crow "led Columbia into the top ranks of universities by royalty income, bringing in more than $100 million a year"[15]

He was also a key figure in establishing Columbia's interdisciplinary Earth Institute, and in 1999 served as its interim president.[22] Professor Graciela Chichilnisky, whose research group was under the umbrella of the Institute brought a lawsuit against Columbia in 2000 in which she alleged that following a dispute with the university, Crow had ordered the dismantling of her offices and a funding freeze on her research group. (In June 2008, Chichilnisky settled with the university for an undisclosed amount.)[23]

Personal life

Crow is married to Dr. Sybil Francis, who holds a PhD in political science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is CEO of the Center for the Future of Arizona which she co-founded with Lattie Coor in 2002.[24] The couple have one daughter and reside in Paradise Valley, Arizona. Crow also has a son and daughter from a previous marriage.[6][25]

Selected publications


  • Designing the New American University (with William Dabars) (2015) ISBN 978-1-4214-1723-3
  • Limited by Design: R&D Laboratories in the United States (with Barry Bozeman) (1998) ISBN 0-231-10982-2
  • Synthetic Fuels Technology Development in the United States: A Retrospective Assessment (with Barry Bozeman, Walter Meyers and Ralph Shangraw) (1988) ISBN 0-275-93083-1


  • "A New Model for the American Research University". Issues in Science and Technology (Spring 2015): 55–62.
  • "Innovating Together: Collaboration as a Driving Force to Improve Student Success" (with Bridget Burns and Mark Becker). EDUCAUSE (March/April 2015): 10–20.
  • "Look, Then Leap". Nature 499 (July 18, 2013): 275–277.
  • "Citizen Science U.". Scientific American (October 2012): 48–49.
  • "Time to Rethink the NIH". Nature (journal)|Nature 471 (March 31, 2011): 569–571.
  • "Differentiating America’s Colleges and Universities: Institutional Innovation in Arizona". Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning (September/October 2010): 34–39.
  • "Organizing Teaching and Research to Address the Grand Challenges of Sustainable Development". BioScience (American Institute of Biological Sciences) 60, no. 7 (July/August 2010): 488–489.
  • "Toward Institutional Innovation in America’s Colleges and Universities". Trusteeship (Association of Governing Boards of Colleges and Universities) 18, no. 3 (May/June 2010): 8–13.
  • "Une nouvelle université américaine?" (with Catherine Paradeise). Le Débat: Histoire, Politique, Société 156 (September–October 2009): 117–127.
  • "The Challenge for the Obama Administration Science Team". Issues in Science and Technology 25, no. 3 (2009): 29–30.
  • "Overcoming Stone Age Logic". Issues in Science and Technology 24, no. 2 (2008): 25–26.
  • "American Education Systems in a Global Context". Technology in Society 30, no. 3 (July 2008): 279–291.
  • "Enterprise: The Path to Transformation for Emerging Public Universities". The Presidency (American Council on Education) 10, no. 2 (Spring 2007): 24–30.
  • "None Dare Call It Hubris: The Limits of Knowledge". Issues in Science and Technology (Winter 2007): 1–4.


  1. ^ Bozeman, Barry; Crow, Michael Maurice (December 1991). "Red tape and technology transfer in US government laboratories". The Journal of Technology Transfer. 16 (2): 29–37. doi:10.1007/BF02371354.
  2. ^ a b Falero, Adriana (November 28, 2017). "How investments in cybersecurity link Michael Crow, the CIA and a venture-capital nonprofit". The State Press. Retrieved July 15, 2018.
  3. ^ "We are entrepreneurs, technologists, and investors – About IQT". Archived from the original on July 16, 2018. Retrieved July 15, 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Michael M. Crow. Curriculum Vitae" (PDF). Retrieved November 17, 2012.
  5. ^ Leingang, Rachel (April 3, 2019). "How Michael Crow took ASU from a party school to the nation's 'most innovative' university". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved March 11, 2020.
  6. ^ a b c Fry, Melissa Crytzer (2006). "Dare Devil". ASU Magazine, Issue 3, 2006. Retrieved November 17, 2012.
  7. ^ Staples, Andy (March 2008). "Inside College Football: Q&A with Arizona State president Michael Crow". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved November 17, 2012.
  8. ^ a b Columbia News (March 29, 2002) "Michael Crow Leaving Columbia to Become President of Arizona State University". Columbia University Office of Public Affairs. Retrieved November 17, 2012.
  9. ^ Kirp, David L. (2004). Shakespeare, Einstein, and the Bottom Line: The Marketing of Higher Education, p. 297. Harvard University Press. ISBN 0674016343
  10. ^ Searer, Kristen (March 30, 2003). "ASU's Crow partners with CIA on research projects". East Valley Tribune. Retrieved July 15, 2018.
  11. ^ Iowa State University. Distinguished Alumni Award: Michael M. Crow. Retrieved November 17, 2012.
  12. ^ National Academy of Public Administration. Fellows: Michael M. Crow Archived January 8, 2013, at the Wayback Machine, Retrieved November 17, 2012.
  13. ^ a b Newsweek (August 8, 2008). "The Campus Of The Future"
  14. ^ Crow, Michael M. (2011). A New American University Reader: Selected Writings On University Design And Related Topics, p. 5. Arizona State University.
  15. ^ a b c d Wysocki, B. (May 4, 2006). "Once collegial, research schools now mean business". Wall Street Journal
  16. ^ Stripling, Jack (August 16, 2010). "Arizona State U. has problems, just how its president likes it". USA Today.
  17. ^ MacEachern, Doug (December 14, 2007). "ASU's Michael Crow first 5 years". Arizona Republic
  18. ^ Irwin, Megan (April 26, 2007). "ASU, Inc.". Phoenix New Times
  19. ^ Arizona State University (2012). Financial Report 2012 Archived July 14, 2014, at the Wayback Machine, p. 33.
  20. ^ Phillips, Melissa Lee (March 6, 2006). "ASU cancer researchers fired". The Scientist
  21. ^ Lecher, Colin (September 2011). "ASU Discrimination Case", p. 42. Phoenix Magazine
  22. ^ Holden, Constance (April 5, 1999). "Earth Institute Director Bows Out". Science
  23. ^ American Association of University Women (July 2008). "Chichilnisky v. Columbia University"
  24. ^ Center for the Future of Arizona. Sybil Francis, Ph.D., Executive Director Archived February 27, 2009, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved November 17, 2012.
  25. ^ Burke, Madelyn (February 21, 2008). "Sybil Francis works for 'seamless' education system in Arizona". Arizona Capitol Times. Retrieved November 17, 2012 via Highbeam (subscription required).

External links