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Episode description:

John is joined by Michael K. Young, Professor of Law and Former President of Texas A&M University, the University of Washington and the University of Utah.  They discuss Michael’s career in higher education, starting with his years at Columbia Law School, including the two and a half years that he was a visiting Professor at the University of Tokyo, his establishment of the East Asian Legal Studies Center at Columbia and continuing through his service at the State Department where he negotiated treaties involving trade, international environmental law, human rights, and the terms under which Germany was unified.  They then discuss Michael’s tenure as Dean of George Washington Law School and the University of Utah and, later, President of the University of Utah, the University of Washington, and Texas A&M University. Michael describes his current role at a research center that is preparing the entire educational system, from primary school through university, for the futuristic megacity project in Saudi Arabia called NEOM.  Michael explains how his training as a lawyer helped him perform in these leadership positions by always maintaining his focus on the ends he is trying to achieve, the purpose of the institution and seeing both sides of each issue.  Michael also explains several leadership lessons he has learned including that leaders need to genuinely listen and convey that they have listened, keep everyone focused on the institution’s mission, spread credit generously and take blame when thing go wrong.  Finally, John and Michael discuss the current controversies over free speech at American campuses. Michael shares his approach to handling volatile situations with controversial speakers.


Published: May 16 2024

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