CLARIFICATION: The spring symposium on higher education is being organized by Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Jim Dean, who solicited the input of the Faculty Executive Committee.
University leaders are discussing ways to spark conversation about reforms in higher education — and they hope to do so with the benefit of outside voices.
At Monday’s Faculty Executive Committee meeting, professors pointed out the ways in which public universities have changed and pondered what it means to be a public institution in the 21st century.
“We have a lot of questions to answer about what is the nature of a public university going forward,” said Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Jim Dean at the meeting.
Dean, who is organizing a symposium on public higher education next spring, solicited the input of the committee on what types of speakers should be invited. Members said they wanted to invite people from outside the University to hear a wide range of opinions.
UNC biology professor Gregory Copenhaver suggested inviting people who are willing to be critical of the University and will not just tell people what they want to hear.
Members suggested bringing in U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, CEOs from big companies such as Google and members of the political sphere.
Dean also emphasized the need for an involved, engaged discussion.
“What I really don’t want is just a bunch of talks,” Dean said. “We know. We’ve all been to business meetings. All the fun’s in the hallways.”