Leslie Cohen Berlowitz

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Leslie Cohen Berlowitz is the former President and Chief Executive Officer of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Berlowitz became the Academy's executive officer in 1996 and was later promoted to Chief Executive Officer and President. From 1969 to 1996, Berlowitz was a faculty member and administrator at New York University.

Berlowitz co-edited three books: Restoring Trust in American Business (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2005) with Jay W. Lorsch and Andy Zelleke, America in Theory (New York: Oxford University Press, 1988) with Denis Donoghue and Louis Menand, and Greenwich Village: Culture and Counterculture (New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 1990) with Richard Eric Beard.

American Academy leadership[edit]

As chief executive, Berlowitz won praise for increasing Academy revenues, expanding the scope of programs, and raising the Academy's national profile, though questions about her management style and allegedly poor treatment of employees followed her for years.[1] Berlowitz led the Academy’s Strategic Plan "2001 and Beyond" and the development of the Initiative for the Humanities and its Humanities Indicators.[2][3] She created a network of more than 50 University Affiliates[4] to work with the Academy on issues vital to the higher education community and also established two residential fellowship programs for young scholars: the Visiting Scholars Program[5] and the Hellman Fellowship in Science and Technology Policy.[6]

Degree scandal[edit]

In June 2013, Berlowitz was accused of embellishing her résumé in the course of writing grant proposals for the American Academy. She took a paid leave of absence and the Board of Directors hired the law firm Choate Hall & Stewart to investigate.[7][1]

At the same time, federal investigators announced a probe to determine if Berlowitz violated any federal laws by claiming to have a doctorate and by her misstating prior job titles in securing three grants worth a total of $1.2 million from the National Endowment for the Humanities from 2003 to 2012.[8] Two other Academy funders, the US Department of Energy and the Carnegie Corporation of New York, told the Boston Globe that they were looking into whether false credentials were used to secure funds from them.[1]

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley also announced plans to investigate the falsified résumé and to look into why Berlowitz's compensation exceeded $598,000 in the fiscal year ending March 2012, four times what leaders of comparably sized nonprofits earn, according to the Boston Globe.[9]

On June 12, 2013, the New York Times reported that questions about Berlowitz's credentials and pay had raised concerns among the American Academy's 4,000-plus members.[10] The following day, the Washington Post Editorial Board echoed those concerns, writing that "[a]n untruthfully listed doctoral degree violates the principle of intellectual integrity that the American Academy claims to hold dearest." [11]

On June 19, 2013, the Boston Globe Editorial Board called for Berlowitz's resignation.[12] She resigned her position on July 31, 2013[13] due to revelations that she misrepresented her credentials and work history on several federal grant proposals.[1]


Berlowitz graduated from the Fieldston School, and received a bachelor's degree from New York University and a master's degree from Columbia University. She was named an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters by Northeastern University in May of 2011.[14]

In June 2013, The Boston Globe reported that Berlowitz had claimed to hold a doctorate in English from NYU in three applications for federal grants from 2003 to 2012, but that NYU had no record of her receiving that degree.[15][8][1]


  1. ^ a b c d e Wallack, Todd (2013-06-17). "American Academy head Berlowitz went looking for the best and brightest — and found herself - News Local Massachusetts". Boston.com. Retrieved 2013-10-02. 
  2. ^ "Early Findings From Humanities-Indicators Project Are Unveiled at Montreal Meeting" (PDF). Amacad.org. Retrieved 2015-02-25. 
  3. ^ "A scientific approach ... to the humanities". CSMonitor.com. 2002-08-20. Retrieved 2015-02-25. 
  4. ^ "American Academy of Arts & Sciences". Amacad.org. Retrieved 2015-02-25. 
  5. ^ "American Academy of Arts & Sciences". Amacad.org. Retrieved 2015-02-25. 
  6. ^ "American Academy of Arts & Sciences". Amacad.org. Retrieved 2015-02-25. 
  7. ^ "Leslie Berlowitz, embattled chief of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, gives up reins during inquiry - Metro". The Boston Globe. 2013-06-06. Retrieved 2015-02-25. 
  8. ^ a b "Leslie Berlowitz claims of doctoral degree sparks federal investigation - Metro". The Boston Globe. 2013-06-05. Retrieved 2015-02-25. 
  9. ^ "Attorney General Martha Coakley probes Leslie Berlowitz pay, resume - Metro". The Boston Globe. 2013-06-06. Retrieved 2015-02-25. 
  10. ^ Schuessler, Jennifer (2013-06-11). "National Academy's Troubles Shadow Report on Humanities". The New York Times. 
  11. ^ Board, Editorial (2013-09-26). "Leslie Berlowitz and questions at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2013-10-02. 
  12. ^ "Academcy of Arts and Sciences needs a new, untainted leader - Editorials". The Boston Globe. 2013-06-19. Retrieved 2013-10-02. 
  13. ^ Yvonne Abraham (2013-07-25). "Embattled head of American Academy of Arts and Sciences resigns after questions about resume". Boston.com. Retrieved 2013-10-02. 
  14. ^ "Leslie Cohen Berlowitz". Northeastern.edu. Retrieved 2013-10-02. 
  15. ^ Wallack, Todd (2013-06-03). "Leader of Cambridge’s prestigious Academy of Arts and Sciences inflated resume, falsely claiming doctorate - News Local Massachusetts". Boston.com. Retrieved 2013-10-02. 

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