|November 13, 2012|
|7:00 pm||to||8:30 pm|
Venue: The New School, Theresa Lang Community and Student Center, 55 West 13th Street, 2nd floor, New York. NY 10011
Tickets: This event is free and open to the public. For further information please email Jean: firstname.lastname@example.org
Speakers: Professor Andrew Delbanco, Mendelson Family Chair of American Studies and Julian Clarence Levi Professor in the Humanities, Columbia University; author, College: What it Was, Is, and Should Be; Anya Kamenetz, senior writer, Fast Company magazine; author, Generation Debt; Angus Kennedy, head of external relations, Institute of Ideas; chair, IoI Economy Forum; convenor, The Academy; Professor David Scobey, executive dean, New School for Public Engagement
Moderator: Alan Miller, co-director, NY Salon; co-founder, London’s Truman Brewery
Education is regarded as vitally important in a number of ways: training workers for the global market, helping young people to develop a positive sense of identity; and serving as a pathway to upward social mobility. Yet, are these aims true to what higher education should be? Is there more to education than just becoming an informed citizen, getting a job or taking tests? The past hundred years and more have seen wide shifts in the model of American higher education: put crudely, from a system mainly based on colleges providing a uniform and largely traditional education, especially in the liberal arts, to a university system geared towards research and specialisation, with a bent to the hard sciences and the law. But is the university still a place where we pursue the truth for its own sake?
For many, such an old-fashioned notion is more suited to eccentric religious foundations like Oral Roberts University than the modern campus, where relativistic notions of truth and value are widespread, and there is even little consensus on the content of the curriculum. The bewildering array of electives available can be seen as liberating the student from the dead hand of tradition, but when students are expected to know what they want to read, perhaps one traditional role of the university is neglected: precisely to educate a generation of young people in what they don’t even know they need to know. Their unknown unknowns if you like.
Just what should the balance be between meeting the requirements of today’s fast-paced world and teaching the best of yesterday’s? Should it require all students to know at least some of the same things? Is student choice an aspect of academic freedom, or is educational anarchy a testament to the decline of professorial authority? Is there a value in common knowledge, or are some things best left to specialists? Is the academy today still somewhere that should aspire with Emerson to ‘get the soul out of bed’?