By Steve KolowichCoursera has won powerful allies in higher education by persuading them that it plans to behave more like a university than an investor-backed Silicon Valley company.
Now Coursera has taken another step to bolster its academic bona fides. The company announced on Monday that it had hired Richard C. Levin, who led Yale University as president for 20 years, to serve as its chief executive.
Mr. Levin, an economist who stepped down last year, spent the later years of his presidency cultivating relationships overseas, notably with China and its universities. Mr. Levin also led a controversial effort to create a liberal-arts college in Singapore, Yale-NUS College.
Landing Mr. Levin could be a coup for Coursera, as the company looks to strengthen its reputation at home while navigating the knotty politics of international higher education.
Coursera, which rose to prominence as a provider of massive open online courses, has been trying to expand in China. This past fall the MOOC provider announced a deal with NetEase, a Chinese Internet company, to build a Chinese-language portal for its courses, and it has been working with local universities and organizations in several countries to improve its offerings to non-English-speaking learners.
[ Full article available at The Chronicle of Higher Education: http://chronicle.com/article/Coursera-Hires-Former-Yale/145531/ ]