Paul N. Courant is University Librarian and Dean of Libraries, Harold T. Shapiro Collegiate Professor of Public Policy, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, Professor of Economics and Professor of Information at the University of Michigan. From 2002-2005 he served as Provost and Executive Vice-President for Academic Affairs, the chief academic officer and the chief budget officer of the University. He has also served as the Associate Provost for Academic and Budgetary Affairs, Chair of the Department of Economics and Director of the Institute of Public Policy Studies (which is now the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy). In 1979 and 1980 he was a Senior Staff Economist at the Council of Economic Advisers.
Courant has authored half a dozen books, and over seventy papers covering a broad range of topics in economics and public policy, including tax policy, state and local economic development, gender differences in pay, housing, radon and public health, relationships between economic growth and environmental policy, and university budgeting systems. More recently, his academic work has considered the economics of universities, the economics of libraries and archives, and the effects of new information technologies and other disruptions on scholarship, scholarly publication, and academic libraries.
Paul Courant holds a BA in History from Swarthmore College (1968); an MA in Economics from Princeton University (1973); and a PhD in Economics from Princeton University (1974).
Peter Steiner was the department chair when I was hired. I gave a talk in February 1973 and he called a few days later, presenting me with an ultimatum: I could accept the job within the next few days or they would continue the search and maybe one of the other candidates would turn out to be stronger than me. I took the job, and have been at Michigan, more or less ever since.
In those days the Department was a collegial place. Recruiting visits involved a dinner (in my case at the home of Harold and Vivian Shapiro) and a reception (in my case at the home of Bill and Mary Palmer, who owned the only Frank Lloyd Wright house in Ann Arbor.) Attendance at the receptions was very good -- half the department or more would show up, and at least into the late 1970s the recruiting season was the heart of deparatmental social interaction. Spouses attended these events as well. Somehow thiis has attenuated over the years; faculty have gotten busy (and faculty spouses have gotten busy) and recruiting dinners tend to be faculty only, at restaurants. Receptions are relatively rare except for senior hires. I think that these trends extend beyond Economics, but I'm not sure.
I was jointly appointed in Public Policy, which back in those days was an "institute" rather than a department or a school. More to come. 4/17/11