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Artwork The American Library by Yinka Shonibare, books covered in bright batik cloth

Academic Innovation for the Public Good

This year's themes: belonging and knowledge sharing

The 2023 series of author interviews

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The ability to innovate for many colleges and universities is no longer just a differentiator — it's an imperative. Stanford Digital Education and Trinity College co-organize a virtual author conversation series on how higher education can affect the public good, including how institutions can lead and support efforts to make higher education more equitable and accessible. 

Each of the eight events in our 2023 series featured an author (or authors) of a recently published book exploring the role of colleges and universities in addressing social, political, and economic disparities. Authors were interviewed by expert moderators, with the conversations focused on the potential for academic innovations to expand access to — and strengthen the impact of — higher education. The talks are co-sponsored with more than 15 colleges and universities and were organized into two parts. 

Part 1: Who Belongs in College and University? 

Who belongs in college and university? How is academic belonging claimed, nurtured, and extended — institutionally, in the classroom, and beyond? The book selections for the first half of our series, February through May, built on this topic of belonging — from looking at affirmative action in college admissions, to the role of historically Black colleges and universities in American life, to the project of creating connections, to the ways that networks can increase our ability to navigate and transcend social divides.

Natasha Warikoo

Is Affirmative Action Fair? The Myth of Equity in College Admissions
A conversation with author Natasha Warikoo

Wednesday, February 8, 1-2 p.m. Pacific Time

View the February 8 recording

Omari Swinton

Vital and Valuable: The Relevance of HBCUs to American Life and Education
A conversation with authors ‌James V. Koch and Omari H. Swinton (photo)

Wednesday, March 8, 1-2 p.m. Pacific Time

View the March 8 recording

Geoffrey Cohen. Photo credit: Nancy Rothstein.

Belonging: The Science of Creating Connection and Bridging Divides
A conversation with author Geoffrey Cohen

Wednesday, April 12, 1-2 p.m. Pacific Time

View the April 12 recording and transcript

Julia Freeland Fisher

Two books: The Human Network and Who You Know
A conversation with authors Julia Freeland Fisher (photo) and Matthew O. Jackson

Wednesday, May 10, 1-2 p.m. Pacific Time 

View the May 10 recording and transcript


Part 2: How Higher Education Can Expand Knowledge Sharing

How can educators innovate to ensure greater equity and access to knowledge? The book selections for the second half of our calendar year, August through November, examined how knowledge is created and shared, starting with a book about innovations that can enhance teaching and learning in classrooms as well as workplaces. The next two books in the series explored how universities can rethink the established approaches to education so as to better distribute and circulate knowledge, with one examining a unique test case of experiential learning that challenged ideas about where a university derives its authority. The series ended with a work that questions sweeping claims about the power of technology to reinvent education and considers the institutional and social changes necessary for technological innovations to deliver on their promise.

Olatunde Sobomehin and Sam Seidel sitting on a couch

Creative Hustle: Blaze Your Own Path and Make Work That Matters
A conversation with authors ‌Olatunde Sobomehin and sam seidel

Wednesday, August 9, 1-2 p.m. Pacific Time

View the August 9 recording and transcript

Peter Kaufman

The New Enlightenment and the Fight to Free Knowledge
A conversation with author Peter B. Kaufman

Wednesday, September 6, 1-2 p.m. Pacific Time

View the September 6 recording and transcript

Tamson Pietsch

The Floating University: Experience, Empire, and the Politics of Knowledge
A conversation with author ‌Tamson Pietsch

Wednesday, October 11, 1-2 p.m. Pacific Time

View the October 11 recording and transcript

Justin Reich

Failure to Disrupt: Why Technology Alone Can’t Transform Education
A conversation with author ‌Justin Reich

Wednesday, November 8, 1-2 p.m. Pacific Time

View the November 8 recording and transcript


Academic Innovation for the Public Good, 2022

Watch our ’22 compilation video, or visit the 2022 series of author interviews to see the full recordings of our conversations with Davarian Baldwin, Ronald Daniels, Sekile Nzinga, Emily Levine, ‌‌Sarah Stein Greenberg, ‌‌William Kirby, Ethan Ris, Marybeth Gasman, Van Ton-Quinlivan, Tia Brown McNair, and Lindsey Malcom-Piqueux.

Empty benches on campus framed by autumn trees

Thank you to our program partners

Badavas Center for Innovation in Teaching & Learning (Bentley University)
Brown University School of Professional Studies  
Dartmouth College
Mount Holyoke College
Notre Dame Learning
University of Pennsylvania Center for Excellence in Teaching, Learning, and Innovation
University of Michigan Center for Academic Innovation

Thank you to our co-sponsors

Carnegie Mellon University
Center for Social Innovation at the Stanford Graduate School of Business
Cornell University
Duke Learning Innovation
Georgetown University Center for Design in Learning and Scholarship
Jay Hurt Hub for Innovation & Entrepreneurship at Davidson 
Johns Hopkins University
Minerva Project
McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning at Princeton University
North Dakota State University
Northwestern University Women's Center
Stanford Humanities Center’s Recovering the University as a Public Good initiative
Stanford Pathways Lab
University of Wyoming

Banner photo (top): The American Library by Yinka Shonibare, on display in the Cantor Center for Visual Arts, Stanford University. Photo credit: Andrew Brodhead.