PLENARY SPEAKERS

Opening Plenary
Thursday, January 23, 8:45-10:15 a.m.

E.J. Dionne, Jr.E.J. Dionne, Jr.
The Brookings Institution 
E.J. Dionne, Jr. is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, a syndicated columnist for the Washington Post, and University Professor in the Foundations of Democracy and Culture at Georgetown University.  A nationally known and respected commentator on politics, he appears weekly on National Public Radio and regularly on MSNBC.

Dionne is the author and editor or co-editor of numerous publications, includingOur Divided Political Heart: The Battle for the American Idea in an Age of Discontent ; Community Works: The Revival of Civil Society in America; and Souled Out: Reclaiming Faith and Politics After the Religious Right. His best-selling book, Why Americans Hate Politics (1991) won the Los Angeles Times book prize, and was a National Book Award nominee.

E.J. Dionne has received numerous awards, including the American Political Science Association’s Carey McWilliams Award to honor a major journalistic contribution to the understanding of politics. He has been named among the 25 most influential Washington journalists by the National Journal and among the capital city’s top 50 journalists by the Washingtonian magazine. Dionne graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. from Harvard University and received his doctorate from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar.

Special Plenary Session
Thursday, January 23, 5:30-6:45 p.m.

Liberal Education and the Future of Innovation

Walter IsaacsonWalter Isaacson
The Aspen Institute 

Walter Isaacson is the president and CEO of the Aspen Institute, a nonpartisan educational and policy studies institute based in Washington, DC. He has been the chairman and CEO of CNN and the editor of TIME magazine.

He is the author of Steve Jobs (2011), Einstein: His Life and Universe (2007),Benjamin Franklin: An American Life (2003), and Kissinger: A Biography(1992), and coauthor of The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made(1986).

Isaacson began his career at The Sunday Times of London and then the New Orleans Times-Picayune/States-Item. He joined TIME in 1978 and served as a political correspondent, national editor, and editor of new media before becoming the magazine’s 14th editor in 1996. He became chairman and CEO of CNN in 2001, and then president and CEO of the Aspen Institute in 2003.

Walter Isaacson is Chair Emeritus of Teach for America and Vice-Chair of Partners for a New Beginning, a public-private group tasked with forging ties between the United States and the Muslim world. He is on the board of United Airlines, Tulane University, and the Overseers of Harvard University. From 2005-2007, after Hurricane Katrina, he was the vice-chair of the Louisiana Recovery Authority.

This special plenary is presented by the Aspen-Wye Academic Programs in collaboration with AAC&U.

ACAD Keynote Luncheon
Friday, January 24, 11:45 a.m.-1:15 p.m.

Inspiring Creativity

Cecilia A. ConradCecilia A. Conrad
John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
By at least one metric, some research suggests that creativity, the propensity to produce something new and original, is declining among America’s children. A decline in creativity has consequences not only for economic competitiveness, but also for civility and public health.  Creative or innovative thinking is highly valued as a labor market skill. Creative expression has been shown to improve mental health and reduce propensity for violence.

Each year the MacArthur Fellows program identifies twenty to twenty-five exceptionally creative individuals for recognition. Who are they? What environment produces them? What lessons does this program offer for how to best cultivate creativity for the future?  This talk will address the importance of creativity in a 21st century economy, the many faces of creativity, and the importance of the liberal arts as sustenance for creativity. 

Cecilia A. Conrad is Vice President of the MacArthur Fellows Program of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.  She received her B.A. degree from Wellesley College and her Ph.D. in economics from Stanford University.  Before joining the foundation in January 2013, she had a distinguished career as both a professor and an administrator at Pomona College. She joined the economics faculty at Pomona in 1995 and in 2002 was recognized as California’s Carnegie Professor of the Year.  She served as Associate Dean of the College, as Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College, and as Acting President.  Dr. Conrad also served as interim Vice President and Dean of the Faculty at Scripps College.

Dr. Conrad currently chairs the congressionally mandated Committee on Equal Opportunities in Sciences and Engineering, an advisory committee to the National Science Foundation.  She is a member of the board of trustees of Muhlenberg College.

Closing Plenary
Saturday, January 25, 11:00 a.m.-12:15 p.m.

Technology and the Future of Work and Learning:
Preparing Students for Success in the New Economy?

Frank LevyFrank Levy
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Leading economist, Frank Levy, will discuss his economic research—highlighted in the influential recent report, “Dancing with Robots,” that documents long term trends that are changing the demands for more educated workers throughout the global economy. He will examine these economic trends in terms of their implications for curricular change, the increasing imperative for liberal education learning outcomes, and a more effective articulation of the “value” of higher education in tough economic times. Levy will explain how technology is changing the demand for workers with more sophisticated skills in problem-solving, communication, and information literacy. He will also address the ways in which technology is likely to similarly impact the “work” of teaching and learning in higher education.

Frank Levy is a Daniel Rose Professor Emeritus at MIT and a Lecturer at the Department of Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School, studying the impact of technology on the content of work, wage levels, and income inequality. His research also focuses on U.S. income inequality and living standards and the economics of education. Frank Levy is co-author, with Richard Murnane, of “Dancing with Robots, Human Skills for Computerized Work” (Third Way, 2013). Levy and Murnane are also authors of The New Division of Labor: How Computers Are Creating the Next Job Market (2005).