Second Part - 28th September 2008

0:09:07 I went to Yale from Cambridge by way of Madagascar and London so there was an interlude of not feeling part of any institution; the most traumatic experience of arriving at Yale was that I was expected to lecture to classes of 60-70 students twice a week for thirteen weeks; not only had I not done anything like that but had never experienced anything like it as a student; I made the mistake of telling the students in my first lecture that I didn't know what I was doing and that we should learn together; so a huge cultural shift as well as being away from my family and everything that I was used to; but I was twenty-four and it was an adventure; I settled in quite quickly, earning $10,000 a year, but living like a graduate student, so I saved almost all of it; it defined some sense of autonomy; partly because I have never been very reflective and had not imagined what things would be like, found them rich and productive years and made friends of a lifetime as well; Harold Scheffler and I taught together on the application of Darwinian theory to human social systems, which was intellectually important to me; Joe Errington and I taught a course on language and symbols in human and non-human primates together; there was wonderful seminar co-teaching; Kwang-Chih Chang and Emily Ahern and I taught a seminar in my first year there called the food seminar which was about food from an anthropological perspective; Keith Hart was enormously influential for me; John Marks, my colleague in biological anthropology - the list is very long but I was much influenced by my colleagues in anthropology; Yale had reading courses which were similar to the Cambridge supervision system, particularly for third and fourth year students and all those doing their senior projects; much of the work with graduate students was also done one to one; I was familiar with this but the performance element of lectures and the systematic way in which one was expected to decide what constituted the knowledge that the students should acquire, which is itself a heavy responsibility, and then how do you convey that; in my own case this was deeply inadequate for many years as I learnt on the job how to do this; even now if I were to return to teaching I believe that my experience as a Provost and a Vice-Chancellor would itself influence the way that I would approach teaching; when I arrived at Yale there was no instruction on how to lecture, you were just expected to know how to do it; over the years this changed and graduate students were given training in how to teach; now at Cambridge there is help available, though not everybody avails themselves of the opportunity; teaching is so central to the University it is strange that we provide no training; my husband learnt by listening to Sidney Mintz's lectures when he was a teaching assistant; it is common practice in the U.S. for teaching assistants to attend lectures of their senior staff for this purpose; Sidney was a warm and welcoming senior member of the faculty when I arrived in 1972 and Bob was his teaching assistant, so we became friends and colleagues

10:21:20 I did not seek out administrative roles so it was more accidental than intentional; I cannot remember important committees that I had anything to do with in my early years at Yale; my first administrative task was to be director of graduate studies for the department; I still look back on that as being the hardest thing I ever did; graduate students have many needs for support and advice and it was hard to draw the line; I nearly drowned doing that because I cared about the students and have remained friends with some of them; from there I went on to become chair of the Department of Anthropology; then one's colleagues would phone at night but the emotional neediness of graduate students was missing, it was more the politics of a community with some shared sense of purpose; the anthropology department had four sub-fields where you are crossing epistemological divides, which was particularly difficult in the 1980's; I was chair from 1986-1991 when I became the Director of the Peabody Museum; in American universities it may be more possible for a chairman of a department to get colleagues to deliver on the expectations of the institution, which exists here as well, but in all matters of any consequence there are no positions of real authority; I don't think the difference between here and Yale is as strong as some might imagine; it is easier to lead there as people are willing to be led, but there is not more power or authority; one of the most difficult areas of agreement is promotion; at Yale the chair of a department had no authority to decide and could only try to manage the arguments among colleagues; I could not articulate what it is that makes a good chairman; if one is always looking for the middle ground does this mean one misses the opportunity to make radical step changes? There are such changes at universities but they tend to play out over a longer period of time than a radical step change; a good example at Cambridge is the change in the demography of the undergraduate population; still think it is extraordinary that an institution that was dedicated to the education of men by men for almost all of its history, in the space of ten years would take almost a residual tolerated presence of women and transform it into a 50/50 undergraduate population; that was radical change but it took over a decade to implement and one could argue there were 50-60 years of precedent leading up to it; Cambridge is thus capable of radical change but may take longer; the question then is does it take too long and are there some radical changes that should happen faster; it is not evident to me that that is the case; I go into meetings well briefed with some sense of what I would hope the direction would be; I do have a sense that the Vice-Chancellor's authority being still at Cambridge a highly questioned or challenged issue; sometimes I bump up against the limits of what I may say or do in ways that surprise me and I am constantly aware that I don't fully understand how Cambridge thinks about what a Vice-Chancellor is and does; I believe that that is changing and evolving and I am cautious in asserting a leadership role that as Provost at Yale I could do; a risk in being too bossy and directive is that people leave the room feeling steamrollered; women were not allowed to take degrees here until 1948 although they had been able to attend lectures and even do the examinations before this; a scandalous muddle and I think a great blot on the history of Cambridge that it took so long for women to be given formal recognition