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Colgate to host Innovation + Disruption symposium on May 5 in New York and via Livestream

By Barbara Brooks on March 18, 2014
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innovation and disruption symposium
On May 5, Colgate University will host Innovation + Disruption, a symposium about technology, the liberal arts, and preparing graduates for the future.

Clayton Christensen, Kim B. Clark professor of business administration at the Harvard Business School and co-founder of the innovation consulting firm Innosight, will tee up the event with a keynote address titled “The Innovative University.”

Jeffrey Fager ’77, executive producer of 60 Minutes and chairman of CBS News, will moderate a panel discussion, called “Seizing the Initiative in the Digital Age,” with six college presidents. Participants are Jeffrey Herbst, of Colgate University;  Adam Falk, Williams College; Raynard Kington, Grinnell College; Georgia Nugent (emerita), Kenyon College; David Oxtoby, Pomona College; and Joan Hinde Stewart, Hamilton College.

Herbst initiated the event to broaden the public debate about how online learning and the digital revolution will affect higher education.

Jeffrey Herbst is president of Colgate University.

Jeffrey Herbst is president of Colgate University.

“My feeling is that these discussions so far have been flawed,” he said. “First, they have focused overwhelmingly on the views of providers, some of whom are for-profit and are therefore ‘talking up their book.’  Second, the debate has been too polarized: the technological revolution is either an existential threat to everything we do, or completely insignificant.”

Herbst, who sees both threats and opportunities in the future, is eager to initiate a more nuanced discussion that will continue far beyond the symposium, which will be held at the TimesCenter in Manhattan.

While the event will bring together invited academic leaders, foundation officials, media, and other thought leaders, Colgate will welcome a much wider audience through a live webcast of the event. The panel discussion also will be archived for future viewing.

Viewers also can join the discussion via Twitter by using the hashtag #innovationdisruption.

In addition to the panel of presidents, the Innovation + Disruption event will feature two presentations on the topic of the liberal arts classroom in the digital age.

Karen Harpp, associate professor of geology at Colgate, will discuss her course The Advent of the Atomic Bomb, which is currently being offered online to more than 350 alumni, along with 30 undergraduates on campus.

Erland Stevens, professor and chair of chemistry at Davidson College, will speak about his online course Medicinal Chemistry. Both Colgate and Davidson are affiliated with the edX platform.

In the afternoon, Colgate will sponsor a set of presentations around the theme “Are liberal arts graduates ready for launch?” Career center, academic leaders, and human resources professionals are invited to attend.

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