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Publics, Politics, and Pedagogy: Remaking Higher Ed for Turbulent Times

Publics, Politics, and Pedagogy: Remaking Higher Ed for Turbulent Times

How do we move from critical thinking to creative action?  How do we do that within education? How do we take what we have learned and apply it to our lives beyond school, including to social justice and social action?  For well over a decade, we've heard the drumbeat of "critical thinking" as important in education.  It is.  But there's a real problem w critical thinking alone: it has no boundaries, no conversion from ideals to implementation, from critique to creative action, and it provides the reflex of indignation without a supplementary set of skills: alliance-building, solidarity, organizing, translation of ideals to pragmatics within the systems of power that can oppress and undermine us.  Tying critical thinking to active learning is a practice of change and action within constraints--whether that constraint is the classroom or "democracy."

On March 28, our annual Futures Initiative conference will work to connect the dots between "Publics, Politics, and Pedagogy."  We are thrilled at our conference line up.  A number of events will be livestreamed, everything will be live tweeted and recapped. 

The conference includes panels where Futures Initiative professors present ways that their innovative, team-taught courses, in a range of subject matter areas, worked to address issues of equity, democracy, citizenship, social justice, and the pedagogical, active learning practices that they adopted to make this happen. 

  • In one course, for example, arts students pushed the boundaries of what constitute the "public" by visiting areas of the city where the homeless live in boats of the river, performing in front of city-wide surveillance cameras that never sleep, and testing how "public" commercial spaces advertised as "public" really are. 
  • In another course, as a class project, students and faculty researched and then designed useful informational pamphlets for professors addressing DACA issues with their students.
  • Another course invited students to co-create the syllabus, including with archival research on McCarthyism and African American writers and activists.

Faculty panels will be followed by workshops by students who will amplify and expand on what student-led learning really means and what it means to take seriously higher education's mission as a "public good."

Key events will be livestreamed and livetweeted.  Follow along at #fight4edu

Breakfast and lunch will be served to conference registrants.  Space is limited so RSVP now!

You can find out more and RSVP (free) to attend here:


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