Schedule of Meetings
The main work of the National Forum takes place during twice-yearly sessions at the Desmond Tutu Center, a recently fully renovated conference center in Chelsea in New York City. We conduct our main business all day on Fridays and on Saturday mornings. Our speakers, panelists, and discussion leaders are leading academic administrators, practitioners, and theorists, public intellectuals, and guiding figures in government, the media, and foundations.
Meeting 1: February 19-20, 2010
Topic: Introductions and Overview of Public Policy, Governance, and Pedagogy
Meeting 2: Fall 2010
Topic: Learning and the Liberal Arts
Meeting 3: Spring 2011
Topic: Education Administration and Leadership
Meeting 4: Fall 2011
Topic: Education Policy
Meeting 5: Spring 2012
Topic: Concluding Observations and Next Steps
Each session will consist of a multiple-part program.
Speakers of national stature will bring the challenges, questions, and research directly to the group. These speakers will come from a variety of positions, inside the academy and out. They may give formal presentations followed by discussion, or work through case studies, where particularly difficult challenges in liberal arts education are made salient, and even the most sacred cows are set out for discussion, including the benefits of tenure, the uses of assessment, and the priority of specialized research for career advancement.
Fellows will engage in focused discussions of key pre-circulated articles or essays on topics chosen by the directors--ranging from new developments in cognitive science to the question of whether gender or and race are relevant to pedagogical practices to the political challenges facing the liberal arts--to complement the remarks of the guest speakers. The intent is to familiarize Fellows with provocative research bearing on higher education today.
Fellows will present their own best ideas on improving university teaching and learning to the group as a whole and to our speakers and observers from inside the academy and out. The emphasis will be on the sharing of evidence-based innovations, and testing them in a rigorous spirit of cross-examination from some of the most thoughtful voices in higher education. The Fellows' contributions will vary and might take the form of fresh research on what works and what doesn't (from those whose fields have a direct bearing on student learning or education policy) or "field reports" on innovations they themselves have undertaken in the classroom.
Each session will close with a discussion about next steps: actions Fellows propose to undertake at their home departments and institutions to continue the conversation and to seed innovative teaching and leadership ideas beyond the boundaries of the group. Fellows will be expected to report on their progress on this score at the next meeting of the Forum.
The forum seeks to build a sense of the group. This cohort of talented faculty will build a social and intellectual network, forming alliances across institutional boundaries. From one part of the country to the other, these faculty will make up a core national group of academic leaders invested in the big picture: the significance and future of liberal education.