Today I attended the C21U launch event. C21U is Richard DeMillo’s new center, focused on the future of the University. The launch event was keynoted by Jonathan Cole (former Provost at Columbia an author of the Great American University).
After his keynote and some remarks by Rich about the center, there was a panel on the future of higher education with Jonathan Cole, Stephen Cross (Executive Vice President for Research, GT), Devin Fidler (Institute for the Future), Alan Kay (President, Viewpoints Research Institute), Roger Schank (Executive Director and Founder of Engines for Education Inc, and Chairman and CEO of Socratic Arts, Inc) and Lynne Weisenbach (Vice Chancellor, Educator Preparation, University System of Georgia). The panel was moderated by Jeffrey Selingo (Editor of the Chronicle of Higher Education).
As I said, the focus was on the future of Higher Education, a future that I’m particularly vested in. I think Jonathan Cole got at the heart of a paradox, which is that for all the successes of American Universities, they have never been the subject of as much discussion about their future, and whether it’s in peril or not as now. What’s the role of technology? What’s the role of a University? What is education? Whom do we serve and why? Are the expectations of our multiple constituencies aligned, and if not where not? These were all questions I heard today. I was glad to be there. When the materials are available online (above) its worth a watch. There will be disagreements, but as one of the panelists put it, if the extreme things aren’t said how can they be thought about in discourse.