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>  News Releases >   2000 >   November

Conference on "Globalization of the Academy" draws scholars and academic leaders to Dartmouth

Posted 11/16/00

How well are liberal-arts colleges and universities preparing undergraduate students for life in a world where nations are rapidly becoming ever more interconnected and interdependent? How should colleges and universities go about that task?

A group of leading thinkers about internationalization, along with academic leaders from a range of American colleges and universities, are meeting at Dartmouth Nov. 15-17 to begin a conversation about these and many related questions in a conference on "Globalizing the Academy".

The conference is the first of three on the subject of globalization in academics that Dartmouth is convening, with another meeting scheduled at the College for March 29-30 and the concluding conference scheduled for June 28-30 in Salzburg, Austria at the Salzburg Seminar.

The two conferences meeting at Dartmouth also mark the inauguration of a permanent series of "Dartmouth Conferences" intended to address issues of significance. The conferences are supported by an endowment from Fannie and Dr. Alan Leslie of California. Alan Leslie is a 1930 graduate of Dartmouth.

The first conference has drawn more than 50 participants representing fourteen U.S. colleges and universities. Participants include provosts, deans and other academic leaders. Institutions represented include the University of Michigan, Duke University, Smith College, Wellesley College, Williams College, Harvard University, Tufts University, the University of Chicago, Middlebury College and Brown University.

Saskia Sassen, Professor of Sociology at the University of Chicago, opened the conference on Nov. 15 with a plenary address on "Globalization: Developing a Field for Research and Teaching." Donald Pease, Dartmouth's Avalon Foundation Chair of the Humanities, led a "fireside chat" on "The Liberal Arts in the Global University"on Thursday, Nov. 16.

Other speakers at various sessions of the conference are Immanuel Wallerstein, Professor of Sociology and Director of The Fernand Braudel Center at Binghamton University; Mel Bernstein, Vice President for Arts, Sciences and Engineering at Tufts University; Louis Berneman, Managing Director of the Center for Technology Transfer at the University of Pennsylvania; Masao Miyoshi, Mori Professor of Literature and Director of the Council on East Asian Studies at the University of California at San Diego; Robert Donin, Chief Legal Counsel, Dartmouth College; Philip Anderson, Glassmeyer/McNamee Center for Digital Strategies, Tuck School, Dartmouth College.

Conference sessions address three major topics involving a variety of questions.

"Borders" -- In the modern world of globalization, what should undergraduates know and understand about the world beyond their national borders? How should academic institutions ensure that students acquire the needed knowledge and understanding? Does globalization privilege certain disciplines, such as applied sciences? And if so, what will be the impact on the non-privileged disciplines? In a globalized world, what will be the role of interdisciplinary programs? Should these interdisciplinary initiatives be integrated into the mainstream disciplinary structure or kept separate?

"Collaborations" -- Some argue that globalization fosters academic/corporate relationships, which by their very nature are a Faustian bargain undermining the institution's core values, especially academic freedom. How can colleges and universities reap the benefits of such partnerships without compromising their core values? How does new revenue generated by globalization influence the traditional incentive structure and rewards of academia? In what ways does the revenue influence faculty recruitment, promotion and the distribution of institutional resources? How can academic consortia be created so that students in all parts of the world have access to the best educational resources?

"Wires" -- Information technology permits the creation of global classrooms and universities. How will this technology affect the traditional methods of teaching, learning and research, both on and off campus? The world-wide accessibility of information requires that students be able to discriminate among the knowledge available. How can academic institutions develop in students the needed critical skills? Is there a need for quality control in web-based information? And, if so, who should serve as gatekeeper? How will the change from a local campus to a global community alter the existing relationships among faculty, between faculty and students, and between faculty and their home institutions? Can collaborative partnerships be developed through information technology, so that institutions can share their resources and, in that way, reduce the costs associated with comprehensive coverage? What are the pitfalls hidden in such sharing?

Dartmouth has television (satellite uplink) and radio (ISDN) studios available for domestic and international live and taped interviews. For more information, call 603-646-3661 or see our Radio, Television capability webpage.

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