Columbia Professor on the State of Higher Ed


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The man TIME magazine called “America’s Best Social Critic,” Andrew Delbanco, will speak at 4:30 p.m. on April 25 in Moore Hall’s Filene Auditorium.

The lecture is titled “College: What it Was, Is, and Should Be,” which is also the title of Delbanco’s most recent book, published in 2012. Delbanco is director of the Center for American Studies at Columbia University. Delbanco has written numerous books and regularly contributes to The New York Review of Books and The New Republic.

Andrew Delbanco will talk about “the radical challenges facing America’s colleges, and implications for the future of our democracy.“ (Photo by Andy Foust ’11)

“Andrew Delbanco is one of the most thoughtful and prominent public intellectuals in America,” says Richard Crocker, dean of the William Jewett Tucker Foundation and chaplain of the College.

Delbanco says he will “talk about the radical challenges facing America’s colleges, and implications for the future of our democracy.”

The talk is this year’s William Jewett Tucker Lecture, and is also a part of the “Leading Voices in Higher Education” series.

“Professor Delbanco is not only an important contributor to the College’s series of Leading Voices in Higher Education, but he is also an ideal choice to commemorate and continue the important legacy of William Jewett Tucker, whose transformative presidency was singularly important for Dartmouth College’s ascendancy in the ranks of American higher education,” says Crocker.

“Delbanco advocates for the essential importance of a moral dimension of education that few other prominent voices recognize, but that was at the heart of President Tucker’s vision,” Crocker says.

The William Jewett Tucker Lecture and the Tucker Foundation are both named for the ninth president of Dartmouth, who served from 1893 to 1909. Tucker, a member of the Class of 1861, helped usher Dartmouth into the modern era. He worked to increase the size and scope of Dartmouth—tripling the size of its student body and faculty members over his tenure. In addition, he helped build 20 new buildings and broaden the curriculum.

The “Leading Voices” series started in 2011. The first season, “Leading Voices in Politics and Policy,” brought national political figures, presidential candidates, and policymakers to campus. Last summer’s “Leading Voices in U.S. Foreign Policy” included a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, a former Defense Department official, and a retired Navy admiral. The ongoing “Leading Voices in Higher Education” series, part of the strategic planning process, has featured visits from prominent writers, university presidents, and other figures in higher education.

  • May 7: Richard DeMillo, distinguished professor of computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology and the director of the Center for 21st Century Universities, speaking on “Abelard to Apple: The Fate of American Colleges and Universities” at 4:30 p.m. in Rockefeller Center Room 003.
  • May 15: Brandon Butler, director of public policy initiatives at the Association of Research Libraries, speaking on “MOOCs and the Copyright Challenge: Fair Use in the Balance” at 4 p.m. in Haldeman 41.
Keith Chapman