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Fall 2017 Askwith Forums and Debates Announced

By Casey Bayer on September 12, 2017 4:29 PM

Harvard Graduate School of Education is pleased to announce the 2017 Fall Askwith Forums and Debates. HGSE’s series of public lectures dedicated to conversations on the challenges facing education was established in 1998.

Cornel West, professor of practice of public philosophy at the Harvard Divinity School, will kick-off this semester’s series with the talk, “Spiritual Blackout, Imperial Meltdown, Prophetic Fightback.” Other highlights include a special HUBweek forum marking the 50th Anniversary of Project Zero with Harvard President Drew Faust, HGSE Dean James E. Ryan, and HGSE Professors Howard Gardner and David Perkins; and a discussion of college athletics in America with NCAA President Mark Emmert and HGSE Professor Jim Antony.

The fall schedule of events follows:

October 4: Spiritual Blackout, Imperial Meltdown, Prophetic Fightback | 5:30–7 p.m.

Speaker: Cornel R. West, professor of the practice of public philosophy, Harvard Divinity School.

October 13: Changes in Mind: Five Decades of Insights into Intelligence, Thinking, and Learning | 5:30-7 p.m.

This special HUBweek Askwith Forum will offer insights gleaned from a half-century of iconoclastic investigations into changing conceptions of the mind and the implications of these changes for today’s teachers, schools, and society.

Registration is required for this HUBweek featured event.


  • Drew Gilpin Faust, president and Lincoln Professor of History, Harvard University
  • Howard Gardner, Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education, HGSE; adjunct professor of Psychology, Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences; co-founder and co-director, Project Zero (1972–2000)
  • David Perkins, Pforzheimer Jr. Research Professor of Teaching and Learning, HGSE; co-founder and co-director, Project Zero (1972–2000)
  • James E. Ryan, dean and Charles William Eliot Professor, HGSE
  • Steven Seidel, Ed.M.’89, Ed.D.’95, Bauman and Bryant Senior Lecturer on Arts in Education, HGSE; director, Project Zero (2000–2007)
  • Shari Tishman, Ed.D.’91, lecturer on education, HGSE; director, Project Zero (2007–2014)
  • Daniel Wilson, Ed.M.’94, Ed.D.’07, director, Project Zero (2014–present)

October 16: College + Athletics = A Complex American Relationship | 5:30–7 p.m.

In this forum, experts will join HGSE Professor Jim Antony in a conversation about the tangible and intangible benefits of college athletics, with the aim of broadening how we think about the role of sport and its impact on education and society.


  • Mark Emmert, president, National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)
  • Robin Harris, executive director, The Ivy League
  • Susan Herbst, president, University of Connecticut
  • Chris Howard, president, Robert Morris University

October 27: Learning to Change the World | noon–1:30 p.m.

As part of Worldwide Week at Harvard, which celebrates and showcases Harvard’s global presence and educational opportunities that extend beyond the Cambridge and Boston campuses, HGSE faculty will join Professor Fernando Reimers, Ed.M.’84, Ed.D.’88, for a showcase of their global research and how it advances the school’s mission.

Faculty presenters:

November 6: Stephen Wolfram in Conversation with Howard Gardner: What Is the Best Education in Mathematical Thinking for the 21st Century? | 5:30–7p.m.

Join Stephen Wolfram – founder & CEO of Wolfram Research, creator of Mathematica, Wolfram|Alpha, and the Wolfram Language, and author of A New Kind of Science – and Professor Howard Gardner as they discuss views on mathematical thinking in 21st-century education. Topics will include: relations among mathematical, logical, computational, programming, and coding skills; whether and, if so, in what ways, other disciplines (from science to the arts) should be included in mathematical education; and how we should be thinking about mathematical education, broadly construed, over the lifetime.


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Out of respect for the academic and classroom environment, we request that you do not arrive prior to 4 p.m. for the evening Askwith Forums. Doors will open at 4:30 p.m. Additional seating will be available in satellite spaces on campus once Askwith Hall fills to capacity.