The University Record, February 1, 1999

Rackham series on future of research universities starts Feb. 16

From the Graduate School

Rackham's series will explore the future of the research university. Above, a scene from the University's past, courtesy the Graduate School and Bentley Library.

"Envisioning the Future of Higher Education: Perspectives from the Top," a panel of university presidents, is the kick-off event in a free, public lecture series from the Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies that seeks to engage the University and surrounding community in an intellectual dialogue on "The Future of the Research University." The panel presentation will begin at 3:30 p.m. Feb. 16 in Rackham Amphitheater. Panelists include President Lee C. Bollinger; Jorge Klor de Alva, president of the University of Phoenix; and Nils Hasselmo, president of the American Association of Universities (AAU) and former president of the University of Minnesota.

"This panel presentation is expected to be a very lively discussion," says Graduate School Dean Earl Lewis, "on how technology and the various needs of students are shaping the future of higher education and the institutions that provide it. The panelists will offer unique perspectives on how their particular institutions are facing the external and internal forces challenging higher education."

Bollinger will address issues related to large research-based universities like the U-M, and how the University is able to maintain its competitive edge against other institutions that claim to provide "today's student" with flexibility in scheduling, tuition and closer teacher/student relationships.

de Alva is president of a for-profit university that has campuses rapidly spreading throughout the United States and on-line. He will offer his perspective on distance learning with respect to faculty issues, quality of teaching, library resources and curriculum.

Hasselmo will discuss the ways universities of the future are likely to deal with knowledge production and whether the relationship between the federal government and research universities will continue on its present course. As a former university president, he will also provide some historical context on the tenure case at the University of Minnesota Law School as well as explain his vision of tenure in the future.

The present. Photo by Bill Wood, Photo Services

"The series offers a medium for addressing matters of scholarly but popular interest in ways that articulate, reaffirm and, at times, debate the values of American education," notes Lewis. "As we head into a new millennium, it seems only fitting that, as a university community, we begin to question our place and role in what lies ahead. Are we keeping pace with the times and being responsive to the needs of higher education and society? Are we playing a leading role in analyzing significant changes in society?

"For the next year, Rackham is committed to keeping these types of questions as a focal point of dialogue and debate among our community."

Other presentations in the series include:

"Putting the Academy in Its Place: Building Bridges between the University and the Community," 3 p.m. Feb. 23, Rackham West Conference Room. David Scobey, director of the Arts of Citizenship Program, will discuss the growing distance between the academy and public life and the need to bridge that gap through community partnerships and innovative scholarship.

"Food for Thought: Technology, Tradition and Transformation in Higher Education," noon March.18, Rackham Assembly Hall (bring brown- bag lunch). Jose-Marie Griffiths, the University chief information officer, will present the four guiding principles for implementing information technology in the "knowledge community" and share why research universities have a bright and abiding future alongside other institutions that have come about as a result of the information technology revolution.

"Looking on with Trepidation: A Dean's Perspective on Graduate Education," 4 p.m. March 30, Rackham Amphitheater. Annette Kolodny, former dean of the University of Arizona and author of Failing the Future: A Dean Looks at Higher Education, will explore the present state of higher education and offer a sobering view of what lies ahead. She will reveal how the professoriate has allowed itself to become vulnerable to public misperceptions and to lampooning by the media.

"The Role of Research Universities in Advancing the National Security Agenda," 4 p.m. April 12, Rackham West Conference Room. John Cole, doctoral student in higher education and public policy, will discuss how institutions of higher education have been employed by the federal government to advance elements of the U.S. national security agenda, at war and in peace. He will focus on how federal legislation designed to address national security needs has affected America's research universities.

For more information on the series, call Lynne Dumas, 647-2644 or Ann Kolkman, 647-2640.