AAHE Conference on Democratic Transformations, Diversity Redefined and Digital Environments

On April 1-4, the American Association of Higher Education (AAHE) will hold its 2004 National Learning to Change Conference in San Diego, California. ?“Learning 3D: Democratic Transformations, Diversity Redefined, Digital Environments.?” The conference program focuses on the interplay of three major forces that are revolutionizing our global society and our institutions of higher education: the democratization of knowledge, diversity of populations, cultures and perspectives, and information and communication technologies.

A letter from Clara M. Lovett, President of AAHE (found at www.aahe.org/learningtochange/2004/index.htm), included the following additional text:

Together, we will explore exciting questions:

Democratic Transformations
What happens to traditional educational environments when students gain access to multiple sources of information and knowledge and organize their own learning? What happens to traditional academic hierarchies when faculty become primarily facilitators of student learning and when they collaborate with peers from other professional backgrounds?

Diversity Redefined
On the 50th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, and with the Michigan decision and California?’s Prop. 209 and Prop. 54 as background, how do we prepare ourselves and our institutions to address emerging issues and challenges in an increasingly diverse society?

Digital Environments
How can we use information and communication technologies to enable our institutions to respond effectively to society?’s needs? Why has the impact of these technologies on our work been relatively modest thus far, except in some fields of research? Could it be that, as with diversity, we still think of the digital environment as a ?“thing?” to enhance the way we have always taught students, rather than a ?“condition?” of our students?’ lives and expectations?

I encourage you to reflect on these themes and questions and be prepared to engage your colleagues in serious exploration and lively debate. Together, the 3Ds are reshaping the institutional compacts and the academic pecking order that took shape in the 1960s. As higher education leaders we must begin to envision what will take their place and how we can act on our vision.

Added February 26, 2004