The California Master Plan for Higher Education of 1960 was built on a foundation of state-supported higher education. That plan and its promise are now in jeopardy. This year, the IHC will explore the immediate UC budget crisis and its intersection with the long-standing “crisis” in the humanities in a series of events entitled The Future of the University. The series will include roundtable discussions on the future of graduate and undergraduate education, on publishing in the humanities, and on the role of the humanities in the corporatized university.

souncloudClick here to listen to podcasts from the 2010-11 IHC series: The Future of the University on SoundCloud.

Past Events

2010 - 2011

Forum: Trading Futures: Prospects for California’s University

Catherine Cole (Theater, Dance and Performance Studies, UC Berkeley)
Thursday, February 17, 2011 / 4:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

“If universities can’t find the will to innovate and adapt to changes in the world around them,” says educational innovator David Wiley in Anya Kamenetz’s recent book DIY U, “universities will be irrelevant by 2020.”  We might ask: relevant to whom and for what purpose? Yet there is no denying that universities are not prepared for the magnitude of the challenges ahead:  In order to achieve President Obama’s goal that by 2020 “America will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world,” California alone will have to produce one million more college degrees between 2010 and 2020. However our current planning, such as the UC’s Commission on the Future, falls far short of addressing such demands. And with a rapidly shrinking middle class and skyrocketing tuition, many college graduates will find that unlike in the 1960s when a college education was a passport to the middle class, today’s degree gains them admission to an endless cycle of debt and poverty.

We are witnessing a paradigm shift in the academy, a change of epochal proportions. If universities are to be relevant in the future, we need visionary long range planning, extraordinary innovation, and openness to radical change (which can be a challenge for those who’ve grown comfortable in the academic guild). The UC has some of the best, brightest, and most innovative faculty in the world. What would it mean for its faculty—rather than for-profit college owners, trade book authors, and UC administrators who have done little or no undergraduate teaching—to be at the center of devising a new future for higher education?  What might that future look like?

Sponsored by the IHC’s Faculty Forums on the Future of the University series and the UCSB Faculty Association.

Click here to view a transcript of Cole’s lecture.

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Arthur N. Rupe Great Debate: Academic Freedom in a Time of Crisis

Stanley Fish & Cary Nelson
Thursday, February 3, 2011 / 8:00 PM
Campbell Hall

Outspoken public intellectuals and academic leaders Stanley Fish and Cary Nelson will go head to head for a lively discussion on the role of academic freedom in higher learning. Fish, a Professor of Humanities and Law at Florida International University, is the author of the book Save the World on Your Own Time, which argues that academic freedom is the freedom to present material and the methods for analysis, never to proselytize or advance political agendas. Nelson, a professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois and current President of the American Association of University Professors, is the author of the book No University is an Island, a comprehensive account of the social, political and cultural forces that undermine academic freedom.

Click here to watch a video of the debate from the IHC’s Faculty Forums on the Future of the University series.

Presented by the College of Letters & Science at UC Santa Barbara and made possible by an endowment from the Arthur N. Rupe Foundation.

Co-presented by the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center’s Faculty Forums on the Future of the University series and UCSB Arts & Lectures.

On the subject of academic freedom, please see their recent books:

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Faculty Forum: Is Online Education the Answer?

Thursday, January 13, 2011 / 4:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

Is online instruction the future of undergraduate teaching?  Is online education truly cost-effective?  Can it improve undergraduate education? Is it the form that undergraduate instruction is destined to take? Is the University of California prepared to move to online instruction, and are its faculty prepared to embrace it?  Join us for a roundtable discussion of online instruction and UCOP’s Online Instruction Pilot Project.  Participants will include Alan Liu, Chair, Department of English; Karen Lunsford, Writing Program; George Michaels, Executive Director, Instructional Development.

Sponsored by the IHC’s Faculty Forums on the Future of the University series and the UCSB Faculty Association.

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Faculty Forum: What is the New Normal in Higher Education?

Stanley Katz (Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University) Monday, November 8, 2010 / 4:00 PM McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB The financial crisis of the past two years looks like its becoming structural, especially in the public universities.  Is privatization the answer, at least for the “elite” state sector in higher education?  If so, what are the implications both for the elites and “the rest”?  A related question is what can/will replace the traditional, if nervous, balance between research and instruction in universities?  How do we balance the growing pressures for greater inclusion of the college age cohort, and the growing  cost of increasingly specialized research?  The post-World War II history of higher education, with the emergence of the multiversity, has been one of more or less successful adaptation of traditional organizational structures.  But haven’t we reached the point at which we can no longer add epicycles without destroying the basic structure of higher education? Click here to listen to a recording of Stanley Katz’s talk for the IHC’s Faculty Forums series. Sponsored by the IHC’s Faculty Forums series and the UCSB Faculty Association.

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Faculty Forum: What Do All Students Need To Know?

Thursday, October 28, 2010 / 3:00 PM
McCune Conference Room

What does every graduate of UCSB need to know in order to be an educated and enlightened citizen of the 21st century?  Panelists include: Linda Adler-Kassner (Director, Writing Program, UCSB);  Thomas Carlson (Religious Studies, UCSB); Diane Fujino (Asian American Studies); Chris Hoeckley (Director, Gaede Institute for the Liberal Arts,  Westmont College); Kim McShane-DeBacco (Instructional Development, UCSB);  Bruce Tiffney (Dean, College of Creative Studies, UCSB).

Sponsored by the IHC’s Faculty Forums series and the UCSB Faculty Association.


Linda Adler-Kassner
Director, Writing Program, UCSB
It’s easy to say that every UCSB graduate should know how to be a good writer to be an educated and enlightened 21st century citizen. After all, writing is seen as an engine of the economy, a “skill” crucial to citizens’ participation in an increasingly globalized culture. But while this ability to be a “good writer” and produce “good writing” might seem straightforward, just underneath that surface writing is a highly political activity. What is understood as “good writing” in a chemistry lab paper is not the same as “good writing” in a blog entry, and that is different from “good writing” in a historical analysis. What is understood as good writing, therefore, reflects the values of the communities where the writing is situated. To be truly educated enlightened citizens, then, UCSB students must first know how to analyze the conventions (rules) associated with “good writing” in a variety of communities, the intersections among conventions and the values important to those communities; and how those intersections affect definitions of “good writing.” Then, enlightened and educated citizens must be aware of larger ideas about the purposes of “good writing” (and, in fact, education more broadly) that shape their work as writers. Three such ideas run through the 20th and into the 21st century: writing as a means of participating in democratic culture; writing as a means of fitting into and participating in a growing economy; and writing as a means of contributing to individual economic advancement. In addition to understanding relationships among conventions of “good writing” and the values of the communities where “good writing” is defined, good writers must understand these different purposes and their implications in order to make decisions about the kinds of writers that they are and may become.
Click here to download Linda Adler-Kassner’s Framing (And) American Education
Click here to download Harry C. Boyte’s Civic Driven Change and Developmental Democracy

Thomas Carlson
Religious Studies, UCSB
The student graduating from college should know that her education, like enlightenment, is not a state she ever reaches, or a possession she finally secures, but the ongoing work–and obligation–of cultivating critical self-awareness in relation to the worlds that she inherits, inhabits and creates. Her education demands the relentless effort, and courage, to think on her own rather than to accept the imposition of authority (Immanuel Kant), and it requires of her the intellectual integrity to seek clarity about, and to take responsibility for, distinctions between fact and value (Max Weber). Because such autonomy and integrity of mind are tied intimately to clarity and rigor of expression, both linguistic and mathematical, the student should have a working command of the grammar and usage of “standard written English” as well as an understanding of their differences from other English dialects (David Foster Wallace); she should have real competence in the grammar, usage, and literatures of at least one foreign language; and she should be able to understand and evaluate relations between mathematical reasoning and empirical research in those social and natural sciences most relevant to public life (political science, economics, medicine, environmental and agricultural sciences, etc.). The graduating student should also have an historically, theoretically, and practically informed appreciation for the decisive roles–epistemological, ethical, and aesthetic–that media play in human thought and agency. The student’s exercise of citizenship should be grounded in critical awareness of the historical and conceptual foundations of modern liberal democracy, capitalism, and techno-science, and it should be attuned likewise to those globalizing forces–techno-scientific, economic, political–that are today transforming the character and categories of thought and agency by shifting such boundaries as those between human and non-human, individual and collective, subject and object, ontology and epistemology, science and ethics (Michel Serres). The most important thing, however, for a college graduate to derive from her schooling is not finally any knowledge, or skill of the mind, but a disposition of the heart: she should love education.
Links to texts referenced:
Immanuel Kant, “An Answer to the Question: What is Enlightenment?”
Max Weber, “Science as a Vocation” (mainly from p. 6 through the end)
David Foster Wallace, “Tense Present”
Michel Serres, “Revisiting The Natural Contract”

Diane Fujino
Asian American Studies, UCSB
What do students need to know to become enlightened, informed, and engaged participants in a globalized and diverse society? We all need to recognize that education is not simply the accumulation of facts, but rather knowledge is produced, and produced in a highly political environment. As K-12 schooling increasingly is about teaching to standardized tests, it becomes harder for students to develop a sense of agency over their own education, to ask challenging questions about the context of education, and to imagine the unimaginable possibilities for their own lives. A UCSB education ought to include an important body of facts and knowledges, but also an understanding of how different disciplines produce knowledge, ways for students to learn about other cultures and other perspectives, and ways for students to engage in their local communities. The ability to think critically from multiple perspectives and to develop, as Robin Kelley puts it, poetic knowledge to transport us to another place will be necessary if we are to move beyond our current situation.

• “The Creativity Crisis,” Newsweek, July 19, 2010
Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, chapter 2
• Diane Ravitch, The Death and Life of the Great American School System, chapter 6.

Chris Hoeckley
Director, Gaede Institute for the Liberal Arts,  Westmont College
“What do All Students Need to Know?”
What should every graduate of UCSB know in order to be an educated and enlightened citizen in the 21st century? Speaking as an outsider, here’s one stab at an answer: Nothing–at least nothing that wasn’t already taught in high school. High school is the place to teach core knowledge. Obviously this doesn’t always happen, and colleges and universities probably have remedial work to do. But to accept the premise that it is part of the role of colleges and universities to offer students the core knowledge necessary to be educated and enlightened citizens is to accept that many citizens–those who only complete high school–are somehow insufficient as citizens. As tempting as that view can be, it does seem undemocratic. If there is a shared body of knowledge necessary to good citizenship, we have to insist that the high schools teach it.
Having said this, I should also say that I’m a great believer in a strong general education program. But its purpose is to raise foundational intellectual skills–communication, analysis, synthesis, problem solving, interpretation, research, etc.–to a high level, and to help future specialists see the interdependencies of different areas of learning–that literature and mathematics can speak to one another, for instance. Its purpose is not to teach a body of knowledge essential to citizenship.
Click here to view Chris Hoeckley suggested reading material

Kim McShane-DeBacco
Instructional Development, UCSB
“A Pedagogy for Uncertainty”
Today’s university students face a future characterized by ontological, ethical and epistemological uncertainties.  Barnett (2004) proposes a set of dispositions that in his view students need  in order to cope with an uncertain future.  Such dispositions include carefulness, thoughtfulness, humility, criticality, receptiveness,  resilience, courage, and stillness. (Barnett, 2004, pp 258-259).  In  my paper and IHC panel presentation, I would like to consider whether  and under what pedagogical conditions instructors might develop these dispositions and characteristics that could in fact promote the  “adaptability”, “flexibility” and “self-reliance” that the corporate sector so often declares it looks for in graduate employees.  I will  focus my comments specifically on the opportunities afforded by blended (hybrid) instruction.

Bruce H. Tiffney
Earth Science and Dean, College of Creative Studies, UCSB
UC Santa Barbara’s approach to general education mirrors the historically siloed nature of departments, and more significantly, is based on a funding structure that encourages general education courses within rather than between departments. The result is a requirement of up to18 courses in areas A-G, with nothing that guarantees that the student will see what features link cultures and the ideas that they spawned across disciplines and generations. What UCSB needs to create is a structure to simultaneously promote depth in the major while ensuring that students develop an intellectual habit of synthesis, an ability to recognize patterns across disciplines, placing their disciplinary knowledge in a historical and social context. By example, one of the classic tensions within a university lies between the humanities and the sciences. Each teaches its own core, yet I would argue that the humanities document the human context within which science takes place. Further, science itself has evolved over the 170 years the term has had its current meaning, and even more so if we trace its earlier roots. In many cases that evolution has both mirrored and influenced its surrounding society. I believe that the university will more effectively fulfill its responsibility when we bring science to the humanities, and create a truly interdisciplinary education in the humanities for scientists. This will result either from interdepartmental, team-taught courses, or from campus consensus that most general education courses will seek to integrate an interdisciplinary and historical approach to their syllabus. Then our much-vaunted reputation for interdisciplinary research and graduate education will truly be mirrored in the training we give our undergraduates.

As an example of the kind of “interconnectedness” that I would like students to become aware of, I refer you to Richard Holmes “The Age of Wonder” (Vintage Books, 2010, although this is but one example of a tradition of synthetic scholarship, e.g., Daniel J. Boorstin’s “Cleopatra’s Nose: Essays on the unexpected “ (Vintage Books, 1995).

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2009 - 2010

Talk: The End of the Public University and the Beginning of the Next

Christopher Newfield (English, UCSB)
Wednesday, May 12, 2010 / 4:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

History is replete with nations that declined because their leaders gradually undermined their own best institutions.  The U.S. now appears to be doing this to its exemplary higher education system, with the University of California serving as Exhibit A.  This lecture will look at the contradictions within the American funding model for higher education, and discuss three major symptoms: reduced affordability for students, the loss of US educational preeminence in 20 years, and underdeveloped social and cultural disciplines. It will also suggest two major steps through which the decline of public higher education could be reversed.  Professor Newfield has offered an authoritative view of UC Budget issues and the funding shortfall crisis on his blog: http://utotherescue.blogspot.com

Sponsored by the Harry Girvetz Memorial Endowment and the IHC’s Future of the University Series.

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Panel: The Future of Publishing in the Humanities

Wednesday, April 21, 2010 / 3:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

What does the future of publishing in the humanities look like? This panel will discuss the current challenges that academic publishing in the humanities face and new solutions in response to them. E- scholarship, open access journals and new models for publishing monographs will be the focus of the discussion.  Participants include Lynne Withey (Director, UC Press); Laura Cerruti (Director of Digital  Content Development, UC Press); and Brad Eden (Associate University  Librarian for Technical Services & Scholarly Communication, UCSB).

Sponsored by the IHC’s Future of the University Series.

Click here to listen to a recording of Brad Eden’s panel from IHC’s series The Future of the University.
Click here to download Brad Eden’s Power Point presentation

Click here to listen to a recording of Lynne Withey’s panel from the IHC’s series The Future of the University.

Click here to listen to a recording of Laura Cerruti’s panel from the IHC’s series The Future of the University.



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Panel: Current and Emerging Trends in Scholarly Publishing

Monday, March 8, 2010 / 1:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

** Please note time change : the event will begin at 1:00PM,  not 12:00PM **

UC Press editors Niels Hooper (history), Naomi Schneider (sociology, current events), Kim Robinson (California regional studies), Jenny Wapner (environmental studies, natural history), and Chuck Crumly (biological sciences), will discuss the publishing programs at UC Press and emerging trends in scholarly publishing. Most of the session will be devoted to answering questions.

Sponsored by the IHC’s Future of the University series.

Current and Emerging Trends in Scholarly Publishing Audio / 1 hour, 35 minutes


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Panel: Beyond Protest: Considering the UC Strike

Brian Holmes and Dmitri Vilenski
Tuesday, March 2, 2010 / 12:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

Brian Holmes is a theorist, writer and translator who has worked with the French Graphics collective Ne Pas Plier (Do Not Bend) and is currently working on geopolitics and geopoetics for a seminar called “Continental Drift.”  Holmes will be joined in conversation with Dmitri Vilensky, a member of the Russian collective Chto DelatChto Delat was founded in early 2003 by a workgroup of artists, critics, philosophers, and writers from St. Petersburg, with the goal of merging political theory, art, and activism. Their main area of focus is the upcoming March 4 UC strike and its repercussions for the state of California education.  Dimitri Vilenski will also join Alejandro Casazi (IHC, UCSB) and Harry Reese (Art, UCSB) on March 4 at the print studio for a ‘print-in’ in conjunction with the UC Strike.

Sponsored by the UC Institute for Research in the Arts, IHC’s Future of the University Series, and the Arts Research Initiative.

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Roundtable: The Place of Liberal Arts in a Public University

Thursday, February 11, 2010 / 3:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

The idea of a liberal education is threatened today by the assumption that learning is insignificant if it does not have immediate economic and commercial impact. This panel will examine the values underlying the idea of free and open-ended inquiry and the place of the liberal arts in a public university. Participants include: Professors Laurie Monahan, (History of Art and Architecture, UCSB and Director, Arts Research Initiative), David Gross (Physics, UCSB and Director, Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics), Wade Clark Roof (Religious Studies, UCSB and Director, Walter H. Capps Center for the Study of Ethics, Religion, and Public Life), and Charles Wolfe (Film and Media Studies, UCSB).

Sponsored by the IHC’s Future of the University Series.

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Roundtable: The Future of the University: Equity and Access

Thursday, January 21, 2010 / 4:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

A panel discussion treating the futures of racial, ethnic, and economic diversity in the UC system in an era of budget crisis and fee “deregulation.” Will the University of California still serve all the people of California, and which students or prospective students stand to be most affected as the UC system moves toward greater privatization? Panelists include Professors Julie Carlson (English, UCSB and Academic Director, Project Excel), Marisela Ramos (History, Latino/a Studies, University of the Pacific), Claudia Martinez (Director of Academic Preparation, UCSB), and Jeffrey Stewart (Chair, Black Studies, UCSB).  Student activists will be invited to attend and participate in post-panel discussion.

Sponsored by the IHC’s Future of the University series and the American Cultures and Global Contexts Center.


Equity & Access Audio / 1 hour, 20 minutes : This audio file features short talks by Jeffrey Stewart (Chair, Black Studies, UCSB), Julie Carlson (English, UCSB and Academic Director, Project Excel), Marisela Ramos (History, Latino/a Studies, University of the Pacific), and Claudia Martinez (Director of Academic Preparation, UCSB),  as well as a short introductions by Ann Birmingham (Acting Director, IHC, UCSB) and Stephanie Lemenager (Associate Professor, English, UCSB).  Unfortunately, the audio was unable to capture many of the questions asked by the audience so the IHC has deleted portions of the file that contained inaudible questions.

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Symposium: The Future of the University

Thursday, November 5, 2010 / 3:00-5:30 PM
3:00 PM Jennifer Washburn (author of University Inc.), “University Inc.: Why Public Knowledge and Public Education Are At Risk”
4:00 PM David Marshall (Executive Dean, College of Letters and Science, and Dean of Humanities and Fine Arts, UCSB), “The Plight of the Public Research University”
5:00 Roundtable discussion
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

At a time when the California budget crisis has thrown the future of the University of California into question, it is appropriate to ask fundamental questions. Jennifer Washburn’s book, University Inc., offered a prescient analysis of the project to turn the modern research university into a subsidiary of corporate America. UCSB Dean David Marshall is a national leader in making the case for value of the Arts and Humanities. The lectures and discussions of this IHC symposium sparked conversation on the increasing trend toward privatization, the imposition of business models on higher education, and the special challenges and responsibilities that public research universities face. Washburn and Marshall’s presentations are followed by a roundtable with William Warner (English), moderator; Jennifer Washburn; David Marshall; Mark Srednicki (Physics); Aranye Fradenburg (English); and Robert Williams (History of Art).

Sponsored by the IHC’s Future of the University series and the Department of English.


Part I / 59 minutes : Jennifer Washburn (author of University Inc.), “University Inc.: Why Public Knowledge and Public Education Are At Risk”
Introduction by William Warner (English)

Part II / 52 minutes : David Marshall (Executive Dean, College of Letters and Science, and Dean of Humanities and Fine Arts, UCSB), “The Plight of the Public Research University”
Introduction by IHC Director Ann Bermingham

Part III / 44 minutes : Roundtable: William Warner (English), moderator; Jennifer Washburn; David Marshall; Mark Srednicki (Physics); Aranye Fradenburg (English); and Robert Williams (History of Art)

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Roundtable: The Future of the University: The Future of Graduate Education in the Humanities

Thursday, October 29, 2010 / 4:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

Does graduate education in the humanities have a future at the University of California, and if so what might it look like? In this roundtable, the first event in the IHC’s Future of the University series, UCSB faculty will discuss innovative graduate programs and initiatives that transcend disciplinary boundaries and train students for the new intellectual, professional, and economic landscape of the twenty-first century. Participants will include Mary Bucholtz (Linguistics), Susan Derwin (German, Slavic & Semitic Studies), Carl Gutierrez-Jones (English), Alan Liu (English), Patrick McCray (History), and Janet Walker (Film & Media Studies).

Sponsored by the IHC’s Future of the University series.

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