“One of the pivotal questions of our times that merits debating is merit itself.”
So begins Nancy Cantor’s recent essay in The Atlantic, described as a “dispatch from the Aspen Ideas Festival” where Cantor was a featured speaker this year.
I have known Nancy for a long time now, where as University of Michigan provost and social psychologist she was deeply involved in the institution’s defense of affirmative action in admissions. We experienced first-hand her passion for the issues of diversity and inclusion, and her articulation that all students benefit deeply from a richly diverse campus environment.
Her new essay takes on the traditional ways in which colleges and universities have measured merit, referencing the now significant body of social science research pointing to failures in our collective ability to predict success with standard measures of GPA and SAT/ACT scores. “We are long overdue for a clear-eyed debate about what we need to do to improve our ability to find and to cultivate talent broadly and equitably in the increasingly diverse generations that already are growing up.”
Nancy’s leadership voice is strong, clear and consistent. She has a distinct point of view, and in speaking at this year’s Aspen Ideas Festival she was able to leverage both the festival appearance and its sponsorship with The Atlantic to advance her perspective and encourage public dialogue on a pressing societal issue.