Cusick gives retrospective on school reform

May 11, 2011

The Erickson Hall Kiva was packed with students, faculty, alumni and current and former educational leaders from across Michigan on January 14, 2011 as well-known educational administration Professor Philip Cusick set out to summarize an entire half-century of educational change.

The talk, as friends say, was “pure Cusick.” It started with a wry comment from the in?uential scholar—“Don’t you have anything better to do?”—and ended, after a candid and insightful overview of three key shifts in thinking about schools in the United States, with a powerful standing ovation.

When Cusick retires this spring, “he leaves a legacy of excellence that serves as the mark for those who follow,” said MSU colleague Gary Sykes, who did the introduction. “He is an intellectual craftsman of the highest order.”

Cusick came to the College of Education in 1970 and has continually laid out key questions to be asked of educators and policymakers in rigorous and theoretically signi?cant ways, prompting scores of related research. He always emphasized the need to be tied closely to schools through outreach, scholarly engagement and preparing school and district leaders—hundreds of them in his case.

Among his faculty and administrative duties, Cusick twice served as chair of the Department of Educational Administration. He is the author of many articles and books, including Inside High School: The Students’ World, The Educational System: Its Nature and Logic and A Passion for Learning: The Education of Seven Eminent Americans.