Education in the 21st century is seen as a means of training workers for the global market, helping young people develop a sense of identity, and driving social mobility. But is there more to education than becoming an informed citizen, getting a job, and taking tests? The last hundred years have seen a shift in the model of American higher education from a system based on colleges providing a uniform and largely traditional education to one geared toward research and specialization. Is there value in requiring all students to possess common knowledge? Does allowing student choice amount to academic freedom, or is it a testament to the decline of professorial authority?
A panel moderated by Alan Miller, a director of The New York Salon, examines these questions. Panelists include:
- David Scobey, executive dean of The New School for Public Engagement and a national leader in developing innovative methods to bring higher-education institutions together with communities to explore the arts, humanities, and design. Scobey is the author of Empire City: The Making and Meaning of the New York City Landscape and other studies of politics, culture, and space in 19th-century America.
- Andrew Delbanco, Mendelson Family Chair of American Studies and Julian Clarence Levi Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University. Delbanco was awarded the 2011 National Humanities Medal by President Obama “for his writing that spans the literature of Melville and Emerson to contemporary issues in higher education.” In 2001, he was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and named America’s Best Social Critic by Time Magazine. In 2003, he was named New York State Scholar of the Year by the New York Council for the Humanities. Professor Delbanco is the author of many books, including, most recently, College: What It Was, Is, and Should Be (Princeton University Press, 2012).
- Anya Kamenetz, a senior writer at Fast Company magazine. She is the author of Generation Debt (2006) and DIY U: Edupunks, Edupreneurs, and the Coming Transformation of Higher Education (2010). She has also written two ebooks, The Edupunks’ Guide (2011) and Learning, Freedom and the Web, produced in collaboration with the Mozilla community (2011). Kamenetz was named a Game Changer in Education by The Huffington Post, received two National Awards for Education Reporting from the Education Writers Association, and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in Feature Writing by the Village Voice in 2005.
- Angus Kennedy, head of external relations for the Institute of Ideas, for which he programs the annual Battle of Ideas Festival in London and its international satellite events. He is the convenor of the institute’s new initiative The Academy and chairs its Economy Forum. Kennedy writes for publications including spiked and Culture Wars on subjects such as the Holocaust, classics, culture and the arts, economics, and moral philosophy. He is also a member of the European Cultural Parliament (ECP).
For more information visit www.nysalon.org or www.battleofideas.org.uk.