Who is He: Bienen served as president of Northwestern University between 1995 and 2009. He was the dean of the Woodrow Wilson School of Foreign Policy at Princeton University before serving as president of Northwestern. He received his bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and received both his master’s and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. Bienen served on the Board of Directors of the investment bank Bear Sterns from 2004 to its failure in 2008. Following his retirement from Northwestern University, Bienen serves as the Chairman of the United Football League and has been vice chairman of Rasmussen College since September 2009.
City Salary: Board of Education members are not paid for their service.
Goals: Bienen’s background in higher education will most likely focus his attention on making Chicago’s student’s the most attractive candidates for colleges and universities. During his time at Northwestern, the University entered the U.S. News and World Report ten best colleges and universities for the first time. His experience improving the school’s rank will likely be influential in his handling of the Chicago Public Schools system.
Challenges: Without very much experience in working with below college level, Bienen will need to understand what the needs are of schools teaching at the high school and grade school level. In his time at Northwestern he increased the budget and the school’s endowment grew, so his experience with cutting back budgets is limited as well. He will need to adjust to the needs of the school system and provide his expertise to improve the school system as a whole.