Lily Eskelsen García is president of the National Education Association, the nation’s largest labor union. Lily began her career in education as a school lunch lady and now leads a professional association of three million educators — she is the first Latina to lead the NEA and one of the country’s most influential Hispanic educators. She is a vocal critic of the standardized testing movement and has raised alarms on the outsized role that testing is playing in public education: taking over the time students spend in the classroom, being used as a weapon against their teachers, and distracting from the real problem of inequality.
In honor of Black History Month, Legacies and Lunch will feature community leader Freeman McKindra Sr., Butler Center staff member Rhonda Stewart, and Henderson State University history professor John Graves on the benefits and detriments of denoting a specific month for African American history. The panel will explore ideas of the promotion of Black History Month, building commitment to the history of African Americans, and even the idea of leading to decreased attention to this topic in other months.
A former speechwriter for President Bill Clinton, John Pollack has spent more than a decade as a consultant for Fortune 500 companies, nonprofits, and public sector leaders. Throughout his career, he has pursued insight and understanding by venturing off the beaten path, intellectually and otherwise. In this spirit, his worldview has been informed by living and working in Africa and Europe, installing seismometers in Antarctica, hitchhiking across Australia, exploring the Caucasus and skippering a boat he built of 165,321 corks down Portugal's Douro River. In "Shortcut," Pollack reveals just how pervasive analogies really are — and how powerful. He also explains how to evaluate the “truth” of any analogy, and how people can hone their ability with analogy to become more creative, perceptive and persuasive.
Harry Lewis, the Gordon McKay Professor of Computer Science in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University, is the author of numerous books and articles, including his celebrated book on higher education, "Excellence Without a Soul: Does Liberal Education Have a Future?" A member of the Harvard faculty since 1974 and as the former Dean of Harvard College, he has helped launch thousands of Harvard undergraduates, including both Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, into careers in computer science. With “Reinventing the Classroom, Rethinking Education,” Lewis will explore the movement of information online and how it challenges the old rule of the lecture hall as the place where information from the professor is passed on to the students, while also exploring the emergence of mass online education and rethinking how faculty use classroom time. He argues that the real purpose of undergraduate education was never about the mere information transfer in the first place.
Jonathan Crossley, who teaches at Palestine Wheatley High School in Palestine, Arkansas, was selected as the 2014 Arkansas Teacher of the Year in November 2013. In addition to teaching 11th and 12th-grade English and oral communication and serving as the drama director, Crossley is the literacy coach for grades six through 12. His students were recognized for the most improved literacy scores in the state of Arkansas, improving from 36% to 92% proficient or advanced. Furthermore, Crossley tracks ACT score growth where his students improved an average of 5.6 points (17.6-23.2). He was recently selected as a national honor roll teacher for the Fishman Prize for Superlative Classroom Practice and the Lowell Milken Fellowship for Unsung Heroes.
Dan Schnur is the executive director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at the University of Southern California, where he works to motivate students to become involved in politics, government, and public service and teaches popular classes in politics, communications and leadership. In 2010, Schnur was appointed Chairman of the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC). During his tenure, he implemented groundbreaking campaign finance disclosure requirements for independent committees, appointed a bipartisan task force to update California’s 1978 Political Reform Act, and worked to assure the disclosure of campaign finance and spending practices, fair elections, and government transparency. For years, Schnur was one of California’s leading political and media strategists, whose record includes work on four presidential and three gubernatorial campaigns.
The B.A. Rudolph Foundation is a charitable nonprofit started by women, for women, to honor the founders' godmother, B.A. Rudolph. Rudolph, a native Arkansan and University of Arkansas alumna, was a lifelong public servant who supported young women who wanted to make a difference in the world. The B.A. Rudolph Foundation’s mission is to advance and benefit young women through educational and general support for whom a small amount of support could make a significant difference by providing financial and professional support to young women with internships in public service and the sciences. During this program, the co-founders of the B.A. Rudolph Foundation will discuss why they created the organization and the lessons they've learned in running a small foundation created to "pay it forward."
As president and CEO of the National Women’s History Museum, Joan Wages leads the nonprofit organization dedicated to educating the general public about the diverse historic contributions of women and raising awareness about the critical need for a national women’s history museum in our nation’s capital. In addition to overseeing the museum’s development, she has been lobbying Congress to pass legislation, which would establish a bipartisan Congressional Commission to produce a feasible plan for the Museum. Prior to joining the National Women’s History Museum, Wages served as president of Cash, Smith & Wages, a government affairs consulting firm. With proven expertise in state and federal legislation, Wages’ legislative accomplishments include passage of the Family and Medical Leave Act, as well as the smoking ban on aircraft, numerous aviation security measures, and Delaware legislation to prevent the takeover of corporations by corporate raiders.