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Changing Higher Education to Change the World with Cathy Davidson

College was designed to prepare students for a 20th-century workplace and it's not catching up fast enough to the realities of the modern world. How can we overhaul the entire system? Join Cathy Davidson for an upcoming webinar offered by Connected Learning on Thursday, October 11, 1-2pm ET

Cathy Davidson teaches at Duke University, where she co-directs the Ph.D. Lab in Digital Knowledge and holds two distinguished chairs: Ruth F. DeVarney Professor of English and the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies. She is a co-founder of the global learning network HASTAC, which administers the annual HASTAC/MacArthur Foundation Digital Media and Learning Competitions, and was recently appointed by President Obama to the National Council on the Humanities. Cathy is a frequent speaker and consultant on institutional change at universities, corporations, and non-profits around the world. You can Follow her on Twitter at @cathyndavidson.


Abstracts of Cathy's articles from her Fast Company series

How to Participate


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In case you might be interested in some background reading, here's a reblog of an earlier post of abstracts for my series by this name for the @CoExist blog of Fast Company.    Once this is done, I hope to post these on an open comment tool and collect examples of people who are already doing great things.  Some people think I'm setting the bar for transformation too high--but the transformation is happening now, everywhere around us, and I hope to bring together those energies to help others who want to change to have models and examples of change that works to convince administrators, colleagues, of what is possible. 




(1)  "Reinventing College to Prepare Us For the Future, Not the Past"College was designed to prepare students for a 20th-century economy, and it’s not catching up fast enough to the realities of the modern world. How can we overhaul the entire system?

(2) "Going From One-Size-Fits-One to One-Size-Fits-All"We need to teach students individually, and in a way that doesn’t emphasize memorizing the right answer, but more realistically reflects how we learn and succeed in the real world.

(3)  "Why Flip the Classroom When We Can Make It Do Carthweels?":  Adding some technology to the educational process is one thing, but truly revolutionary learning experiences take a deeper sort of innovation, which you can see at a program at Duke working for change in Haiti

(4)  "Can We Replace Professors With Computer Screens?"  Quite possibly, but an education just from YouTube videos would miss the true point of a college education.


(5) "A Core Curriculum to Create Engaged Entrepreneurs":    It’s time to transform the focus, mission, and rhetoric of liberal arts and combine its focus on cross-disciplinary critical thinking with real world experience. Here’s one proposal.


(6)  "Why Web Literacy Should Be Part of Every Education" (with Mozilla Executive Director Mark Surman):  Teaching our kids to code will make them uniquely prepared to fully contribute to the world.


(7)  "How Do We Measure What Really Counts in the Classroom?"  A new generation of assessment tools are hoping to piggyback off the wealth of online rating software to find a better and more efficient method of assessing students.


On the docket for future contributions: 


**Why Does Higher Ed Cost So Much--And What Do We Want to Do About it?    An attempt to unravel the different ways educational expenses are rising in the public and private sector and what we, as individuals, a society, and as educators, want and need to do about it.

**Conclusion:  How Does Changing Higher Ed Change the World?:  Where Do We Go From Here?



Cathy N. Davidson is co-founder of HASTAC, a 9000+ network committed to new modes of collaboration, research, learning, and institutional change.  Along with a steering committee of scholars across many fields, Davidson has been directing HASTAC's operations since 2006, when moved to Duke University, where she also co-directs the Ph.D. Lab in Digital Knowledge.   She is author of The Future of Thinking:  Learning Institutions for a Digital Age (with HASTAC co-founder David Theo Goldberg), and  Now You See It:  How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn (Viking Press). She is co-PI on the HASTAC/MacArthur Foundation Digital Media and Learning Competitions.   NOTE:  The views expressed in Cat in the Stack blogs and in NOW YOU SEE IT are solely those of the author and not of HASTAC, nor of any institution or organization. Davidson also writes on her own author blog, .  The paperback of Now You See It was published July 31, 2012 :