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Campus-Community Discussion to Focus on the Role of Colleges and Universities in Preparing Students for the 21st Century

RELEASED: Feb. 13, 2006

Lt. Gov. Barbara Lawton
Judge Lisa Stark

EAU CLAIRE — The role that colleges and universities should play in preparing students for the future will be a topic of discussion during the first campus and community "town hall" meeting Feb. 27. The event is free and open to the public.

"Developing Minds for 21st Century Challenges: A Campus and Community Discussion about University Education" is slated for 6:30-8:30 p.m. Feb. 27 in the Two Rivers Ballroom at the Plaza Hotel in Eau Claire.

Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Barbara Lawton and Eau Claire County Circuit Judge Lisa K. Stark will be among the participants in the program.

"As the world changes rapidly and expectations rise in nearly all fields of life — work, citizenship, family — we must determine the role of colleges and universities in preparing students for the future," said Donald Christian, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at UW-Eau Claire and the co-organizer of the forum discussion. "We need to talk about what employers, civic leaders and citizens expect universities to provide, how well those expectations match national needs, and how universities should address those needs and expectations. I hope that the community will join in this discussion."

The discussion will provide opportunities for campus and community members to discuss the educational outcomes that universities should achieve to meet individual and societal needs in the 21st century, Christian said.

Leading the discussion will be:

  • Lawton, who will talk about the educational outcomes needed for effective participation in economic, civic and democratic life in the 21st century.
  • Debra Humphreys, vice president for communications and public affairs for the Association of American Colleges and Universities, who will describe a new vision for learning in the 21st century based on an influential report by the AAC&U. This vision draws on an emerging consensus among business, policy and education leaders about the most important outcomes of college in today’s world.
  • Marty Wood, a professor and chair of the English department at UW-Eau Claire, will talk about the development of literacy and critical thinking through studies in the humanities.
  • Stark, who will talk about her educational background and how it has contributed to her success in the legal profession.
  • Christian, who will introduce speakers and moderate the discussion.

A summary of the discussion will be available to participants, and the outcomes will help guide campus, statewide and national efforts to improve undergraduate education, Christian said.

The event is sponsored by the UW System, the College of Arts and Sciences at UW-Eau Claire, the Wisconsin Humanities Council and the AAC&U.



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