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Join us in Academic Innovation for the Public Good

Register now for our online, monthly book conversation series with authors. Next event: October 11.

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

A series of book conversations held on Zoom

This year's themes: belonging and knowledge sharing

Academic Innovation for the Public Good

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Join us for lively conversations in 2023

The ability to innovate for many colleges and universities is no longer just a differentiator — it's an imperative. Join Stanford Digital Education and Trinity College for 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 features an author (or authors) of a recently published book that explores the role of colleges and universities in addressing social, political, and economic disparities. Authors are 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 are organized into two parts. Register for the events by clicking "Save my seat" on the event pages.

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, build 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, examine 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 explore 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 ends 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

Register for October 11

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

Register for November 8

Empty benches on campus framed by autumn trees

Learn about our events, register, and participate in discussion boards

Join the Academic Innovation for the Public Good community space on Gather, where you can register for events and discuss book topics with other attendees. 

Join our community space

All are welcome

Anyone interested in the themes of equity, access, and innovation at colleges and universities will benefit from this free author discussion series. Learn about obstacles to enhancing equity and access in higher education, be inspired to experiment in your own classrooms or workplace, and discover how you can help promote innovation at your own institution as well as in society at large.

For sustained engagement, we recommend registering for all conversations in Part 1 and/or all of Part 2, though we welcome those choosing to attend individual events.

What we talked about in 2022

In 2022, the authors we invited probed the obligations of universities to democracy, to society, and to their immediate communities. Watch our ’22 compilation video for excerpts of 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.

See recordings of all our 2022 events

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
Penn Online Learning Initiative
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

If your institution is not represented on this list, and you would like to become a program partner or co-sponsor, please e-mail Program partners contribute financial support. There is no cost to co-sponsor; you simply post the events on your local events calendars and newsletters and we will include your institution on the list.

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