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Threats to Higher Education: The Conservative Assault on Public Universities
October 23 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Recent years have seen escalating attacks on U.S. higher education, from attempts to eradicate tenure and institutional efforts for equity and diversity to the very ideals of university autonomy and academic freedom. Though these threats have been targeted at the state level in places like Texas, Florida, and North Carolina, their similarities suggest a national-level political effort.
This webinar brings together experts and leaders who will share their research and experiences to explore the existence and operations of coordinated efforts led by conservative think-tanks. We will examine these common attacks and discuss their implications. Among them, this webinar asks what the roles the legislature and the courts play both in these attacks and in their potential rebuttal, and how we might better leverage them for a more active defense of higher education.
Registration required here.
Dr. Steve Brint, Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Public Policy at the University of California, Riverside
Steven Brint is Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Public Policy at UC Riverside and Director of the Colleges & Universities 2000 Project. His studies of higher education have been funded for more than two decades by the National Science Foundation and four philanthropic foundations. He is the author of five books and editor of three others and has published more than 80 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters. His recent book, Two Cheers for Higher Education, won honorable mention for the American Sociological Association’s Pierre Bourdieu Award, was co-recipient of the Emory Elliott Book Prize, and was named one of the top 10 books on higher education for 2019 by Forbes. He is an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Sociological Research Association. A native of Albuquerque, NM, Steven Brint received his BA in sociology with highest honors from the University of California, Berkeley and his Ph.D. in sociology from Harvard University.
Dr. Ashley L. White, Assistant Professor at the School of Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Inaugural Education Fellow for Equity Access and Opportunity with the NAACP’s Center for Education Innovation & Research
Ashley L. White is an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Inaugural Education Fellow for Equity Access and Opportunity with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s (NAACP) Center for Education Innovation and Research. Before her appointment at UW-Madison, White served as the Joseph P. Kennedy Public Policy Fellow with the Committee on Education and Labor under Chairman Robert “Bobby” C. Scott. Before earning her Ph.D. from the University of South Florida, White taught school for 15 years in general and special education settings. White researches the intersectionality of ethno-racial identities and disability in P-postsecondary settings through the consideration of student and educator experiences and the policies that impact these experiences. Additionally, Dr. White invests time in working with school districts across the country to advance professional development for teachers related to special education, disability, and intersectional issues. As a scholar and advocate, Dr. White envisions restorative policy as a way to address the historical and present inequities that persist for ethno-racially marginalized individuals with disabilities at large.
Dr. Jeremy C. Young, Program Director, Freedom to Learn, PEN America
Jeremy C. Young is the Freedom to Learn program director at PEN America. In this role, he leads PEN America’s efforts to fight government censorship in educational institutions, with a particular focus on the higher education sector. He directs PEN America’s work on educational gag orders, the Champions of Higher Education initiative, and an expanding network of coalitions to mobilize support for professors and teachers. A former history professor and university administrator, he is the author of The Age of Charisma: Leaders, Followers, and Emotions in American Society, 1870-1940 (Cambridge, 2017).
This webinar is moderated by Eric Mlyn, Distinguished Faculty Fellow at the Kenan Institute for Ethics and Lecturer at the Sanford School for Public Policy at Duke University. Dr. Mlyn directs Democracy & Higher Education, a project of the Kenan Institute for Ethics that gathers faculty, administrators, and members of the public to reflect on how the university should respond to ongoing threats towards democratic values and principles. We critically examine the current political debates surrounding higher education to identify areas for intervention while remaining nonpartisan and embracing a view of the university as a place where different ideas come together. We will be hosting a newsletter; if you’d like to subscribe, you can do so here.