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Week of May 20, 2013

Conference focuses on value of liberal arts, sciences at research universities

Can leaders and faculty in the liberal arts and sciences define a new, more inclusive role for those fields in today’s research university?

More than 50 deans at the nation’s large research universities will meet at U-M May 22-24 for a national conversation about the value and contributions of the liberal arts and sciences.

The conference, titled “The Liberal Arts and Sciences in the Research University Today: Histories, Challenges, Futures,” is taking place at a time when the value of the liberal arts is being debated.

The public is invited to join the discussion at two evening panels at Rackham Auditorium featuring national educational leaders.

At 7 p.m. May 22, Earl Lewis, president of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and former vice provost and dean of the Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies, will join Carol Geary Schneider, president of the Association of American Colleges and Universities, and Pauline Yu, president of the American Council of Learned Societies, to discuss the current status of liberal arts and sciences at research universities from their perspectives as leaders of major national foundations and professional organizations.

At 7 p.m. May 23 President Mary Sue Coleman will join James J. Duderstadt, U-M president emeritus and University Professor of Science and Engineering, and Teresa A. Sullivan, president of the University of Virginia and former U-M provost, to discuss the topic: “Are the Liberal Arts and Basic Sciences Still the Heart of the Research University?”

“Today the national conversation about higher education centers around crisis, failure, fraud and pressure for research universities to expand training in entrepreneurship and applied learning,” says Terrence J. McDonald, dean of LSA, who is hosting the conference. “This conference will provide a forum for educational leaders to discuss the value, contributions and future of the liberal arts. They are the foundation of intellectual creativity and civil society in America and a model of college education for the world.”

The conference is sponsored by LSA, Rackham Graduate School, the Michigan Meetings program, and the Liberal Arts and Sciences Deans of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation.

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