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President's Speaker Series seeks to engage university, community about 'big questions'

Big questions demand big answers, and a new speaker series from University of Houston-Clear Lake is looking to spark big conversations.

The President's Speaker Series will launch this conversation with a panel discussion, "How Do We Prepare for the Future of Education?" on Oct. 30 at 9 a.m. online via Zoom. All series events are free to attend.

The panel will feature three nationally recognized speakers: Professors Peter Bishop, Chris Dede, and Jennifer Jarratt. All are former UH-Clear Lake faculty, and they will be discussing the university's strategic challenges and mission to become a "new century university."

After the panel, attendees may join a virtual reception and afternoon workshops focusing on creating a 60-year curriculum, transforming the workplace in a post-pandemic world, and integrating "future thinking" into the curriculum.

"One role of a public, regional university is to raise the community's consciousness about what's important and provide a space for people to discuss ideas," said UHCL President Ira K. Blake. "Through this series, we will create a dialogue between the university and the community around larger issues, which will change over time. Focusing on the future of higher education is the right way to launch the Presidential Speaker Series."

Universities provide degrees, certificates and programs as part of addressing society's 'big questions.' "That is what led us to spotlight the topic of discussing the future of higher education. We must produce a different kind of citizen — one who can excel professionally and personally while engaging all the complexities of how we live," UH-Clear Lake's Chief Strategy Officer Kevin Wooten said.

The second virtual event, entitled "The Future of Inclusion and Globalism in Higher Education," is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 13, at 9 a.m. and features James Anderson, author and former chancellor of Fayetteville State University, a historically Black public regional university. Following a virtual reception, attendees are invited to an educators' workshop discussing topics including strategies and techniques to facilitate inclusion and diversity and methods to consider in curriculum and program design.

Each semester, the President's Speaker Series will present two nationally prominent speakers to tackle the issues, along with two virtual panel discussions, to initiate dialogue between the university and the community concerning the future of higher education.

"The series will be focused upon the most critical, educational, social, environmental and technological challenges facing higher education and communities," said Wooten. "Panel discussions will present differing perspectives and world-class experts to address challenges and opportunities, to create awareness, foster informed dialogue and create communities of practice bearing upon our collective futures.

"Our overarching objective is to provide a forum to link experts with our community to discuss and discern the big issues that face us all, and to use that energy to address those concerns with the community," he said.

Learn more about and register for the President's Speaker series online.