Leading Voices: Educational Innovator on the Fate of Colleges



Georgia Institute of Technology Professor Richard DeMillo, a former chief technology officer for Hewlett-Packard, is the next “Leading Voices in Higher Education” speaker.

“Higher education is under assault from inside and outside the academy,” DeMillo says. “There are institutions like Dartmouth that have the brand and resources to set their own course, but we are not islands. What happens in one part of the nation’s system of higher education affects all of us, and that system is not on a sustainable path.”

DeMillo’s talk, free and open to the public, is titled “Abelard to Apple: The Fate of American Colleges and Universities,” and begins at 4:30 p.m. May 7 in Room 003 of the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences.

DeMillo serves as director of Georgia Tech’s Center for 21st Century Universities. An innovator in computer science education, DeMillo has served as director of the National Science Foundation’s computer and computation research division and as dean of Georgia Tech’s College of Computing.

“Elite institutions are in the best position to re-imagine a future in which the assumptions don’t apply,” says DeMillo.

“That’s what I want to talk about at Dartmouth: What can an institution like Dartmouth—an island of excellence—do to help spread excellence in learning to the 70 percent of college students who only have access to failing institutions, methods, and outcomes?”

“Higher education is under assault from inside and outside the academy,” DeMillo says. (Courtesy of Richard DeMillo)

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.

Following DeMillo is Leading Voices speaker Brandon Butler, director of public policy initiatives at the Association of Research Libraries, who will speak May 15 on “MOOCs and the Copyright Challenge: Fair Use in the Balance” at 4 p.m. in Haldeman 41.

Keith Chapman