Last year, Stanford University held an urgent roundtable discussion to ask: what role have the ‘humanities’ played in higher education? While this particular meeting articulated the traditional value of liberal arts teaching, it noted that the future of the humanities is in question, not only due to recent economic conditions, but also due to the growing prominence of industries based on the hard sciences and technology. The growing emphasis on STEM in education (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) poses a challenge to reviving or reinventing the humanities for today’s world in which education resources remain scarce. The education system of the United States, historically ranked in the top five globally in math and science has recently fallen to 30th, faces the challenges that will confront many nations around the world. How can educators ensure advances in both the hard sciences, which are easily measurable, and the humanities that are essential to understanding our world, but are not quantifiable? If the United States is a test case in the decade ahead, what should be educators’ priorities and what kind of education is essential to prosperity and well-being in our global age? Where would funding be best placed, and how should funding be linked to performance indicators? What role do the humanities play in a marketplace, increasingly dominated by science and technology? Conversely, how can technology be used to enhance and broaden access to education that will prepare young people for the challenges of the present and future?
Dr. Vincent Aleven
Dr. Vincent Aleven is an Associate Professor in Carnegie Mellon's Human-Computer Interaction Institute, and has 20 years of experience in research and development of advanced learning technologies, grounded in cognitive theory.
Dr. Aleven is a firm believer in the notion that effective educational games will emerge when the best practices and practitioners in game design and instructional design come together. He is dedicated to make this vision come to fruition in his research on virtual worlds and game-based learning. He is the principal investigator on a project to develop and evaluate educational games for science learning for children in pre-K through grade 3, sponsored by the DARPA ENGAGE program.
Dr. Aleven's research is also producing advances in intelligent tutoring systems, a proven and practical learning technology that supports learning by doing of complex skills. He and colleagues developed novel authoring technology that makes the development of tutors 4-8 times more cost effective and possible for non-programmers.
Dr. Aleven is a member of the Executive Committee of the Pittsburgh Science of Learning Center (PSLC), an NSF-sponsored research center spanning Carnegie Mellon and the University of Pittsburgh. He is a co-founder of Carnegie Learning, Inc., a Pittsburgh-based company that markets Cognitive Tutor™ math courses that include intelligent tutoring software. Dr. Aleven has taught numerous courses and workshops on the development of intelligent tutoring systems and educational games.
Dr. Howard Gardner
Dr. Howard Gardner is the John H. and Elisabeth A. Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He also holds positions as Adjunct Professor of Psychology at Harvard University and Senior Director of Harvard Project Zero.
Among numerous honors, Dr. Gardner received a MacArthur Prize Fellowship in 1981. He has received honorary degrees from twenty-nine colleges and universities, including institutions in Bulgaria, Chile, Greece, Ireland, Israel, Italy, South Korea and Spain. In 2005 and again in 2008, he was selected by Foreign Policy and Prospect magazines as one of the 100 most influential public intellectuals in the world. Most recently, he received the 2011 Prince of Asturias Award for Social Sciences. The author of twenty-eight books translated into thirty-two languages, and several hundred articles, he is best known in educational circles for his theory of multiple intelligences, a critique of the notion that there exists but a single human intelligence that can be adequately assessed by standard psychometric instruments.
During the past two decades, Dr. Gardner and colleagues at Project Zero have been involved in the design of performance-based assessments; education for understanding; the use of multiple intelligences to achieve more personalized curriculum, instruction, and pedagogy; and the quality of interdisciplinary efforts in education. Since the middle 1990s, in collaboration with psychologists Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and William Damon, Dr. Gardner has directed the GoodWork Project-a study of work that is excellent, engaging, and ethical. More recently, with long time Project Zero colleagues Lynn Barendsen and Wendy Fischman, he has conducted reflection sessions designed to enhance the understanding and incidence of good work among young people. With Carrie James and other colleagues at Project Zero, he is also investigating the nature of trust in contemporary society and ethical dimensions entailed in the use of the new digital media.
Among new research undertakings are a study of effective collaboration among non-profit institutions in education and a study of conceptions of quality, nationally and internationally, in the contemporary era. His latest book, Truth, Beauty, and Goodness Reframed, was published in the spring of 2011.
Dr. Stephen Kosslyn
Stephen M. Kosslyn is currently Director of The Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (CASBS), at Stanford University. He has been Dean of Social Science and John Lindsley Professor of Psychology at Harvard University and also Associate Psychologist in the Department of Neurology at the Massachusetts General Hospital.
He has focused on the study of the brain and played a role in founding the field of Cognitive Neuroscience. His research has focused primarily on the nature of visual mental imagery, visual perception, and visual communication. Professor Kosslyn has authored or coauthored 11 books and over 300 papers on these topics. More recently, he has turned to the intersection of social phenomena and the brain, using measures of differences in specific cognitive abilities to help compose teams.
Professor Kosslyn has received the American Psychological Association's Boyd R. McCandless Young Scientist Award, the National Academy of Sciences Initiatives in Research Award, the Cattell Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the J-L. Signoret Prize (France), an honorary Doctorate of Science from the University of Caen (France), and election to Academia Rodinensis pro Remediatione (Switzerland), the Society of Experimental Psychologists, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
He received a B.A. from UCLA and a Ph.D. from Stanford University, both in psychology. His original graduate training was in Cognitive Science, which focused on the intersection of cognitive psychology and Artificial Intelligence.
Dr. Fred Mednick
Dr. Fred Mednick founded Teachers Without Borders in 2000 in order to provide professional development for teachers on a global scale. TWB's network of local educational leaders conceive, run, develop, and adapt programs designed to connect demand-driven needs in education with human welfare. TWB now has a membership in 183 countries and offers an Certificate of Teaching Mastery; an innovative toolset connecting a global social network to communities of practice and courseware; an emergency education program (particularly focused on earthquake science); and training for teachers to serve as Millennium Development Ambassadors.
He received his BA from the University of California; his MA from Claremont Graduate University; and his EdD from Seattle University. He has led two K-12 institutions and written numerous publications on adolescence, international development, and comparative education. In 2006, Dr. Mednick was invited to the Nobel Peace Prize Public Service Summit. In 2010, Teachers Without Borders' Africa office was awarded Hewlett/Ashoka's "Hero of African Education" award.
For 2012-2013, he will also serve as a Visiting Fellow at the Johns Hopkins School of Education, focusing on connecting global education and teacher professional development. Dr. Mednick has been an active delegate to the Blouin Creative Leadership Summit (100 leaders) for five consecutive years.
Dr. Mednick is currently preparing a book for publication in 2012 on the stories of teacher leaders who have overcome obstacles in order to serve their communities.
Ms. Susan Polgar is a World and Olympiad Chess Champion, and one of the greatest female players in history. In 1984, at age 15, she became the #1 ranked woman player in the world, and remained in the top 3 for nearly 25 years.
In 1991, Ms. Polgar became the first woman in history to earn the Grandmaster title in regular competition. She won a total of 4 World Championships and 10 Olympiad medals (5 gold, 4 silver, 1 bronze). She is the only World Champion in history (male or female) to win the triple-crown (Blitz, Rapid and Classical World Championships).
In 2003, Susan became the first and only woman to win the honor of "Grandmaster of the Year". In that same year, she became the first woman to win the US Open Blitz Championship, and repeated in 2005 and 2006.
In 2011, Susan became the first woman in history to coach a men's division I team, Texas Tech, to win the National Championship. They won the Final Four again in 2012.
In June 2012, Susan Polgar accepted the position as Director of SPICE at Webster University in St. Louis. All members of the Division I team who started the Fall of 2011 at Texas Tech joined her and transferred to Webster. In August 2012, she became the first woman to coach the #1 ranked men's division I team in the U.S.
She once held 5 world records, of which two are still unbroken. More information about Susan can be found at www.ChessDailyNews.com.
Dr. Adam Weinberg
Adam Weinberg is the President of World Learning, an organization running education, exchange and development programs in more than 75 countries. Weinberg has expanded World Learning's network to include nearly 200 programs with participants from more than 140 countries.
Dr. Weinberg joined World Learning in 2005, serving as Executive Vice President of World Learning and Provost of SIT, formerly the School for International Training. During this time, he focused on expanding World Learning's academic programs through innovative models of international education. Prior to World Learning, Mr. Weinberg was vice president and dean of the college at Colgate University, where he served on the faculty for more than a decade. He gained national prominence for his commitment to civic education and his work on residential education as a key component of the liberal arts.
Dr. Weinberg is a member for the Council on Foreign Relations and serves on many boards including: Vermont Campus Compact, InterAction, and the Alliance for International Educational and Cultural Exchange. His published works include two books, Urban Recycling and the Search for Sustainable Development and Local Environmental Struggles, and dozens of articles. He speaks regularly on a range of topics relating to the internationalization of higher education, the liberal arts, international development and youth leadership.
He graduated magna cum laude from Bowdoin College and did work at Cambridge University before receiving his master's degree and doctorate from Northwestern University. He lives with his wife and three children in Brattleboro, Vermont.
Susan Polgar, former chess champion and Executive Director of the Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence, makes the case for adding chess to the education curriculum. Polgar believes chess teaches critical thinking and creative problem solving.