2013 | 2012 | 2010 | 2009



"Open Learning and the Future of Higher Education"

Is a game-changing revolution afoot in higher education? The global demand for a highly educated work force continues to grow, yet many students are finding it increasingly difficult to afford the cost of obtaining a college degree. Total student loan debt in the United States now surpasses credit card debt nationwide. Questions of access and equity in higher education appear daily in news coverage, political discussion, and public debate.

With the ubiquity of high-speed Internet and wireless mobile technology, colleges and universities are beginning to explore the potential of massive open online courses—better known as MOOCs—to address these issues. Our nation's colleges and universities play a vital role in discovery and creating new knowledge, developing biomedical and technological innovations, fostering new lines of inquiry in the sciences, arts and humanities, while passing on our social and scientific heritage through direct instruction of students in the classroom. The evolution of high-quality massive online learning that can be delivered at a low cost per student presents both exciting opportunities and challenging questions for higher education.

Can colleges and universities effectively pursue massive online learning while maintaining their core academic missions? Issues surrounding the quality of courses, their cost effectiveness, student learning outcomes, credentialing, and equal access to education have provoked a spirited and evolving international debate. Who will be the winners and losers in the world of massive online learning—or might this be a win-win situation for everyone?

2013 Webcast

Amy Gutmann

President and Christopher H. Browne Professor of Political Science in the School of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Communication in the Annenberg School for Communication

Amy Gutmann

As the 8th President of the University of Pennsylvania (2004- ), Dr. Amy Gutmann is a national leader in increasing access to higher education and integrating knowledge to maximize creativity and innovation. Dr. Gutmann developed Penn's no-loan guarantee for undergraduates, which has become a national model. She has dramatically expanded Penn's contribution to employment, innovation, and economic development in the city and state and pushed Penn to the forefront in civic engagement, exemplified by the creation of Penn Park, a 24-acre urban oasis connecting the campus to the city which opened in 2011.

Under Dr. Gutmann's leadership, the University completed its largest, most successful campaign ever, Making History, and has dramatically broken down barriers across academic disciplines, invigorating the intellectual climate for both faculty and students.

She has published widely on the value of education and deliberation in democracy, on the importance of access to higher education and health care, and on the essential role of ethics—especially professional and political ethics—in public affairs. She continues to be an active scholar as Penn's President, publishing her sixteenth book, The Spirit of Compromise: Why Governing Demands It and Campaigning Undermines It (with Dennis Thompson) in May 2012.

Dr. Gutmann is a founding member of the Global Colloquium of University Presidents, which advises the Secretary General of the U.N. on a range of issues, including the social responsibility of universities. Gutmann has won the Harvard University Centennial Medal (2003), Carnegie Corporation Academic Leadership Award (2009), and was named by Newsweek one of "150 Women Who Shake the World" (2011). She is an elected member of the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Education, and is a W.E.B. DuBois Fellow of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. In May 2012, she received an honorary Doctor of Laws from Columbia University.

Appointed in 2009 by President Barack Obama, Dr. Gutmann chairs the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues. She also serves on the National Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences and the Boards of the National Constitution Center, the Carnegie Corporation and the Vanguard Group.

Dr. Gutmann graduated magna cum laude from Harvard-Radcliffe College, earned her master's degree in Political Science from the London School of Economics, and her doctorate in Political Science from Harvard.

Thomas L. Friedman

Foreign Affairs Columnist, New York Times

Tom Friedman

Thomas Friedman was born in Minneapolis on July 20, 1953. After finishing high school in Minneapolis, he attended Brandeis University, where he graduated Summa Cum Laude in 1975 with a degree in Mediterranean Studies. During his undergraduate years, he spent semesters abroad at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the American University in Cairo. After completing his B.A., Mr. Friedman attended St. Antony's College, Oxford University, on a Marshall Scholarship. In 1978, he received a Masters degree in Modern Middle East Studies from Oxford and immediately thereafter joined the London Bureau of United Press International (UPI). Mr. Friedman spent a year in London doing general assignment reporting before being dispatched to Beruit as a UPI correspondent.

He lived in Beirut from June 1979 to May 1981, when he was hired by The New York Times and brought back to New York. From May 1981 to April 1982, Mr. Friedman worked as a general assignment financial reporter for The New York Times, based in New York. He specialized in OPEC and oil-related news. In April 1982, he was assigned by The New York Times to be its Beirut Bureau Chief, a post he took up six weeks before the Israeli invasion.

In June 1984, Mr. Friedman was transferred to Jerusalem, where he served as The Times' Israel bureau chief until 1988. After being awarded a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship to write a book about his reflections on the Middle East. In June 1989, he published From Beirut to Jerusalem, which was on The New York Times Best Sellers list for nearly 12 months and won the 1989 National Book Award for non-fiction and the 1989 Overseas Press Club Award for the Best Book on Foreign Policy. From Beirut to Jerusalem has been published in more than 20 languages, including Japanese and Chinese, and is now used as a basic textbook on the Middle East in many high schools and universities. For his coverage of the Middle East, Mr. Friedman was awarded the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting (from Lebanon) and the 1988 Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting (from Israel). In 2012, Friedman updated From Beirut to Jerusalem with a new preface and afterward.

In January 1989, Mr. Friedman accepted a new assignment in Washington as The Times' Chief Diplomatic Correspondent. For the next four years he traveled some 500,000 miles covering Secretary of State James A. Baker III and the end of the cold war. In November 1992, Mr. Friedman shifted to domestic politics and was appointed Chief White House correspondent. He covered the transition and first year of the Clinton Administration. In January 1994, Friedman shifted again, this time to economics, and became The Times' International Economic Correspondent, covering the nexus between foreign policy and trade policy. In January 1995, Mr. Friedman became The New York Times Foreign Affairs Columnist. In 1998, Mr. Friedman wrote text to accompany Micha Bar-Am's photographs for the book, Israel: A Photobiography, published by Simon & Schuster.

His book, The Lexus and The Olive Tree: Understanding Globalization, issued by Farrar Straus and Giroux in 1999, won the Overseas Press Club Award for best nonfiction book on foreign policy in 2000. It has been published in 27 foreign languages. FSG published his bestseller, Longitudes and Attitudes: Exploring the World After September 11, in 2002 and his international bestseller, The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the 21st Century, in 2005.

His latest bestseller, Hot, Flat and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution — and How It Can Renew America, was published in September 2008. He currently is writing a book with Michael Mandelbaum, to be published in September of 2011, about the major challenges facing the United States, the reason the country is not addressing those challenges effectively, and the policies America needs to adopt to ensure prosperity at home and strength abroad in the 21st century. The title will be That Used to Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back.

In the months following 9/11, his Op-Ed page coumn for The New York Times provided the clarifying, evenhanded assessments that were so urgently sought. In awarding him his third Pulitzer Prize (the 2002 award for Distinguished Commentary), the Pulitzer Board cited "his clarity of vision, based on extensive reporting, in commenting on the worldwide impact of the terrorist threat."

In 2004 Friedman was also awarded the Overseas Press Club Award for lifetime achievement as well as the honorary title, Order of the British Empire (OBE), by Queen Elizabeth II. The Wall Street Journal ranked Friedman the second most influential business thinker in 2008 and U.S News and World Report named him one of "America's Best Leaders."

Mr. Friedman is a frequent guest on programs such as Meet The Press, Morning Joe and Charlie Rose. His TV documentaries, Searching for the Roots of 9/11, The Other Side of Outsourcing, Straddling the Fence and Addicted to Oil, have aired on the Discovery Channel.

Mr. Friedman lives in Bethesda, Md., with his wife, Ann, and their two daughters. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of Brandeis University and, since 2005, the Board of the Pulitzer Prizes. He served as a Visiting Lecturer at Harvard University in 2000 and 2005 and has been awarded honorary degrees from Brandeis University, Macalester College, Haverford University, the University of Minnesota, Williams College, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Washington University in St. Louis and Hebrew Union College.

Martha J. Kanter

Under Secretary, U.S. Department of Education

Martha J. Kanter

The Honorable Martha J. Kanter was nominated by President Barack Obama on April 29, 2009 to be the under secretary of education and was confirmed by the Senate on June 19, 2009. Kanter reports to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and oversees policies, programs, and activities related to postsecondary education, adult and career-technical education, federal student aid, and five White House Initiatives on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, Educational Excellence for Hispanics, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges and Universities, and Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. To spur education, economic growth and social prosperity, Kanter is charged with planning and policy responsibilities to implement President Obama's goal for the U.S. to have "the best educated, most competitive workforce in the world by 2020" as measured by the proportion of college graduates over the next decade. Under Secretary Kanter and her team are keenly focused on improving college access, affordability, quality, and completion to implement President Obama's American Graduation Initiative.

In her first two years as under secretary, the successful implementation of the Direct Student Loan program resulted in a 50-percent increase in college enrollment, growing from 6 to 9 million students today who are Pell Grant recipients. Kanter and her team are working closely with postsecondary partners from across the nation to boost American innovation and competitiveness with an ambitious college completion agenda, teacher quality reforms, adult education program improvements, modernization of career-technical education, and a new partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor that has announced the first $500 million of a $2 billion federal investment to increase quality, graduation, and employment opportunities for community college students.

From 2003 to 2009, Kanter served as chancellor of the Foothill-De Anza Community College District, one of the largest community college districts in the nation, serving more than 45,000 students with a total budget of approximately $400 million. She is the first community college leader to serve in the under secretary position. In 1977, after serving as an alternative high school teacher in Massachusetts and New York, she established the first program for students with learning disabilities at San Jose City College (Calif.). She then served as a director, dean and subsequently vice chancellor for policy and research for the California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office in Sacramento. In 1990, she returned to San Jose City College as vice president of instruction and student services until she was named president of De Anza College in 1993, serving in this position for a decade until her appointment as chancellor.

Kanter has been recognized for her work numerous times, including being named Woman of the Year by the 24th Assembly District, Woman of Achievement by San Jose Mercury News and the Women's Fund, and Woman of the Year for Santa Clara County by the American Association of University Women. In 2003, she received the Excellence in Education award from the National Organization for Women's California Chapter. In 2006, she was honored for diversity and community leadership by the Santa Clara County Commission on the Status of Women, and in 2007, the American Leadership Forum-Silicon Valley honored her with the John W. Gardner Leadership Award. In 2008, Kanter received the Citizen of the Year award from the Cupertino Chamber of Commerce. In 2009, Notre Dame High School in Silicon Valley honored her with the "Woman of Impact" award and, in 2010, Junior Achievement of Silicon Valley and Monterey Bay nominated her for the Business Hall of Fame. In 2011, Kanter was appointed to the U.S. National Commission for the United Nations Educational, Scientific, Cultural Organization (UNESCO), a federal advisory committee to the Department of State that supports worldwide humanitarian development and values by coordinating efforts and delivering expert advice on issues of education, science, communications and culture.

Under Secretary Kanter holds a doctorate in organization and leadership from the University of San Francisco. Her dissertation addressed demographic, institutional, and assessment factors affecting access to higher education for underrepresented students in California's community colleges. In 1994, she opened the first Advanced Technology Center in California's community college system and promoted local and state policies to advance Foothill-De Anza's legacy of excellence and opportunity for California's expanding and increasingly diverse student population. She received her master's degree in education with a concentration in clinical psychology and public practice from Harvard University, and a bachelor's degree in sociology from Brandeis University. Kanter holds honorary degrees from Palo Alto University, Chatham University, Lakes Region Community College, Moraine Valley Community College and the Alamo Colleges.

William E. Kirwan

Chancellor, University System of Maryland

William E. Kirwan

William E. Kirwan, Chancellor of the University System of Maryland since August 1, 2002, is a nationally recognized authority on critical issues shaping the higher education landscape. He served as President of Ohio State University for four years (1998-2002) and President of the University of Maryland, College Park for 10 years (1988-1998). Prior to his presidency, he was a member of the University of Maryland faculty for 24 years.

A respected academic leader, Dr. Kirwan is a sought-after speaker on a wide range of topics, including diversity, access and affordability, cost containment, innovation, higher education's economic impact, gender equity, and financial aid. Along with his national and international presentations on key issues, Dr. Kirwan has authored many articles on issues in higher education and has been profiled and cited in academic and mainstream publications.

Currently, Dr. Kirwan chairs the National Research Council Board of Higher Education and Workforce, chairs the College Board Advocacy & Policy Center Advisory Committee, and co-chairs the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics. He also serves on the Business-Higher Education Forum.

In Maryland, Dr. Kirwan co-chairs the Governor's P-20 STEM Task Force and is a member of the Governor's International Advisory Board and the Maryland Economic Development Commission. He also is a member of the boards of the Maryland Chamber of Commerce, Greater Baltimore Committee, Economic Alliance of Greater Baltimore, and the Maryland Business Roundtable for Education. In 2007, Dr. Kirwan became the 16th recipient of the Maryland House of Delegates Speakers' Medallion in recognition of his service to the House and to the State of Maryland. He also received the Maryland Senate's First Citizen Award in 1998, in recognition of his commitment and service to the state.

In 2012, the Maryland Chamber of Commerce presented Dr. Kirwan with its second annual Maryland Public Service Award. In 2010, Dr. Kirwan was appointed to the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity, or NACIQI. The group serves in an advisory capacity to the U.S. Secretary of Education on accreditation issues and certification processes for colleges and universities. He was also in 2010 named chair of the College Board Advocacy and Policy Center Advisory Committee. Dr. Kirwan is a past board chair of the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges and of the American Council on Education. He was appointed by President Clinton to serve as a member of the National Commission on Mathematics and Science Teaching for the 21st Century and chaired the National Research Council's Commission on the Mathematical Sciences in the Year 2000, which produced the report titled Moving Beyond Myths: Revitalizing Undergraduate Mathematics, National Academy Press (1991). President Bush appointed Dr. Kirwan to the Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities in 2000.

Dr. Kirwan is the winner of the 2010 TIAA-CREF Theodore M. Hesburgh Award for Leadership Excellence. Considered one of the nation's top higher education honors, this award recognizes leadership and commitment to higher education and contributions to the greater good.

In 2009, he received the Carnegie Corporation Leadership Award, which included a $500,000 grant to fund USM academic priorities. The prestigious award recognizes higher education leaders who have demonstrated a commitment to excellence in several areas, including undergraduate education (teaching and research) and outreach to communities. In 2002, Dr. Kirwan was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Other recent awards include the 2008 Reginald H. Jones Distinguished Service Award from the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME). The award honors individuals who have made significant contributions to increasing the representation of minorities in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) careers.

Dr. Kirwan is a member of several honorary and professional societies, including Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, the American Mathematical Society, and the Mathematical Association of America. A prolific scholar, he is co-editor of the book Advances in Complex Analysis and has published many articles on mathematical research.

Dr. Kirwan received his bachelor's degree in mathematics from the University of Kentucky and his master's and doctoral degrees in mathematics from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, in 1962 and 1964 respectively.

Daphne Koller

Co-Founder, Coursera
Rajeev Motwani Professor in the Computer Science Department at Stanford University

Daphne Koller

Co-Founder and co-CEO, Coursera; Professor of Computer Science, Stanford University

Daphne Koller is the co-founder of Coursera, a social entrepreneurship company that works with top universities to make the best education accessible to everyone around the world, for free. Coursera was started in January 2012, and a year later, has 62 top university partners from around the world who offer over 300 courses that span a range of topics including computer science, business, medicine, science, humanities, social sciences, and more. Over 2.8 million students from 196 countries have enrolled for Coursera classes.

Daphne is also the Rajeev Motwani Professor in the Computer Science Department at Stanford University where she works in the area of machine learning and probabilistic modeling, with applications to systems biology and personalized medicine. She is the author of over 200 refereed publications in venues that span a range of disciplines, and has given over a dozen keynote talks at major conferences. She is the recipient of numerous awards, which include the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, the ACM/Infosys award, and membership in the National Academy of Engineering. She is also an award winning teacher, who pioneered in her Stanford class many of the ideas that underlie the Coursera user experience.

She received her BSc and MSc from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and her PhD from Stanford in 1994.


"Is America Broken? A Conversation on the 2012 Elections and Beyond"

Is America broken? With unemployment at persistently high levels, instability in the financial markets, a polarized politics where campaigning dominates governing—the failure of the Congressional supercommittee to forge a bipartisan agreement being only one recent example—these are tough times for our nation and the American people.

America has certainly weathered its share of major crises: a fight for independence, civil war, two world wars, the Great Depression, and numerous other boom-and-bust economic cycles. But recognizing that things have been—and could be—worse is hardly cause for comfort. The American people certainly do not feel comforted or comfortable with how their political representatives are handling the current situation. The President and the Congress are receiving record low approval ratings; three-quarters of people believe the nation is on the wrong track; and the Tea Party and "Occupy" movements have garnered strong support across the country. For the first time on record, a majority of U.S. citizens do not believe in "American exceptionalism."

Will the United States emerge stronger from these political and economic hardships? Or is the majority correct in thinking that conditions in the United States, and its relation to the world, have changed in ways that are likely to lead to the nation's decline? Do America's politicians and its political system have the ability to make the difficult decisions necessary to respond to the most consequential contemporary challenges? Are U.S. corporations and businesses, schools and universities capable of providing all Americans with the opportunities they want and need to live productive and fruitful lives, including the life of a well-informed and engaged democratic citizen?

In short: Is America a nation in decline – or are its brightest days still ahead? Nothing less than the answer to this question is at stake in the 2012 election and beyond, for the future of the United States, its citizens and the world.

Join Penn President Amy Gutmann and a distinguished group of political experts who will confront this question—along with the greatest political and economic challenges facing the United States—as it heads toward the 2012 election and as they ask: Is America Broken?

2012 Webcast

Amy Gutmann

President, University of Pennsylvania

Amy Gutmann

As President of the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Amy Gutmann has significantly expanded the number of low-income students attending the University, making Penn the largest university to establish a no-loan guarantee that has become a national model. She pushed Penn to the forefront in civic engagement, exemplified by the creation of Penn Park, a 24-acre urban oasis that now connects the campus to Center City Philadelphia.

Gutmann has published widely on the value of education and deliberation in democracy, on the importance of access to higher education and health care, on "the good, the bad and the ugly" of identity politics, and on the essential role of ethics—especially professional and political ethics—in public affairs. She will publish her sixteenth book, The Spirit of Compromise: Why Governing Demands It and Campaigning Undermines It (with Dennis Thompson), in May 2012.

Appointed in 2009 by President Barack Obama, Gutmann chairs the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues. Gutmann graduated magna cum laude from Harvard-Radcliffe College, earned her master's degree in Political Science from the London School of Economics and her doctorate in Political Science from Harvard University.

Charles Blow

The New York Times Columnist

Charles Blow

Charles M. Blow is The New York Times' visual Op-Ed columnist. Mr. Blow joined The New York Times in 1994 as a graphics editor and quickly became the paper's graphics director, a position he held for nine years. In that role, he led The Times to a best of show award from the Society of News Design for the Times' information graphics coverage of 9/11, the first time the award had been given for graphics coverage. He also led the paper to its first two best in show awards from the Malofiej International Infographics Summit for work that included coverage of the Iraq war. Mr. Blow went on to become the paper's Design Director for News before leaving in 2006 to become the Art Director of National Geographic Magazine. Before coming to The Times, Mr. Blow had been a graphic artist at The Detroit News.

Mr. Blow graduated magna cum laude from Grambling State University in Louisiana, where he received a B.A. in mass communications. He lives in Brooklyn with his three children.

John Lapinski

Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Pennsylvania and NBC News Analyst

John Lapinski

John Lapinski is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania. He also works in the Elections Unit at NBC News. He has taught and written about Congressional lawmaking, American national institutions, American political development, presidential and congressional elections, and quantitative methods.

Professor Lapinski's research has appeared in the American Journal of Political Science, Perspectives on Politics, the Journal of Politics, and the British Journal of Politics. He has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Russell Sage Foundation, where he was a Resident Fellow for the 2004-05 academic year, the Dirksen Congressional Center, and the Institution for Social and Policy Studies at Yale University.

In his project, The Substance of Representation: Congress, American Political Development and Lawmaking, Lapinski aims to better understanding how lawmaking works in the United States. He argues that the turn away from policy substance in Congressional studies over the past two decades has seriously impeded our understanding of the lawmaking process in the United States.

Peggy Noonan

The Wall Street Journal columnist

Peggy Noonan

Peggy Noonan is a widely admired columnist for The Wall Street Journal and the best selling author of eight books on American politics, history and culture.

In 2008 The National Journal dubbed Noonan's political column indispensable to an understanding of the presidential year, and Forbes Magazine called her column "principled, perceptive, persuasive, and patriotic." Noonan's essays have appeared in TIME, Newsweek, The Washington Post and other publications, and she provides frequent political commentary on television.

Peggy Noonan's most recent book, Patriotic Grace, published by Collins in 2008, is written in the pamphleteering tradition of Tom Paine's Common Sense, and is a call for a more elevated national politics. Her collection of post-9/11 Wall Street Journal columns, A Heart, a Cross and a Flag, was published by Free Press in 2003.

Noonan was a special assistant to President Ronald Reagan from 1984 to 1986. In 1988 she was chief speechwriter for Vice President George H. W. Bush when he ran for the presidency. She holds honorary doctorates from Miami University, St. John Fisher College, University of Portland, Adelphi University, St. Francis College, Ave Maria University, and her Alma Mater, Fairleigh Dickinson University.

Ed Rendell C’65, HON’00

Former Philadelphia Mayor and Pennsylvania Governor

Ed Rendell

After 34 years of public service, including 24 years as an elected official, Governor Ed Rendell continues to pursue the same issues he was passionate about while serving. His commitment to making America a cleaner, more efficient place and to fostering investment in our nation's crumbling infrastructure is as strong as it ever was.

Rendell served two terms as Governor of Pennsylvania (2003-2011) and oversaw a budget of $28.3 billion as the chief executive of the nation's 6th-most-populous state. His legislative agenda focused on commonsense political reform and putting progress ahead of partisanship.

During his two terms as Mayor of Philadelphia (1992-2000), Rendell eliminated a crippling deficit, balanced the City's budget, and generated five consecutive budget surpluses. Philadelphia's renaissance, which The New York Times called "the most stunning turnaround in recent urban history," is largely attributed to his determination, inspiration, and energy.

Before serving as Mayor, Rendell was elected District Attorney of Philadelphia for two terms from 1978 through 1985. Rendell also served as Chairman of the Democratic National Committee during the 2000 Presidential election.

An Army veteran, he holds a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and a J.D. from Villanova Law School.

Alan Simpson

Former U.S. Senator

Alan Simpson

A Wyoming native, Sen. Alan K. Simpson graduated from the University of Wyoming in 1954 and was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Army. Following his honorable discharge, Simpson returned to his alma mater and earned his Juris Doctorate degree in 1958.

After a short time as Wyoming Assistant Attorney General, Simpson practiced law in his hometown of Cody, Wyoming for 18 years. A member of a political family—his father served both as Governor of Wyoming and as United States Senator from Wyoming—Simpson began his own political career in 1964 when he was elected to the Wyoming State Legislature.

He was elected to the United States Senate in 1978 and was twice re-elected. He completed his final term on January 3, 1997.

From January of 1997 until June of 2000, he was a visiting lecturer and, for 2 years, the Director of the Institute of Politics at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. He served as one of the ten bipartisan members on the respected Iraq Study Group chaired by Lee Hamilton (Dem.) and Jim Baker (Rep.), and he recently co-chaired the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform with Erskine Bowles.


"The Polarized Polis: Public Debate in the United States"

Is there something seriously wrong with public debate in America? And, if so, can the problem be remedied? Hyperbolic vitriol seems to fill the media and the Internet, boorish hecklers interrupt public speeches, and strident partisans hurl ad hominem accusations at one another. Documented facts often fail to sway large segments of public opinion; and an imperative to "feed the base" seems to block almost all Congressional actions needed to address this country's most salient and complex problems.

Has debate in America really taken a turn for the worse or has it merely returned to its historical norm, after a period of unusual consensus during World War II and the Cold War? Are most Americans becoming more extreme in their views or are politicians and pundits becoming more polarized—and more polarizing? If public debate is indeed in trouble, from a democratic perspective, who or what is to blame? Whatever the causes, what remedies are available given America's historic commitments to broad civic participation and free expression?

The David and Lyn Silfen University Forum – hosted by Penn President Amy Gutmann – will ask whether political and public discourse in America is truly in trouble and, if so, what the causes, consequences, and antidotes might be. Eminent Penn faculty members – Kathleen Hall Jamieson, John DiIulio, and John Jackson, Jr. – will join the distinguished chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities and former Congressman Jim Leach, and NBC News Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent Andrea Mitchell in a robust exchange about the apparent deficit in mutual respect and surplus in political polarization of American public debate and political culture in our times.

Press release: Penn President Amy Gutmann Convenes Panel Examining the State of Public Discourse in America

2010 Webcast


Moderator: Amy Gutmann

Amy Gutmann

Amy Gutmann became the eighth president of the University of Pennsylvania on July 1, 2004. She has become a prominent national advocate for equity in higher education, and advises the U.N. Secretary General on a range of global issues, including academic freedom, mass migration, international development, and the social responsibilities of universities. An eminent political scientist and philosopher on ethics, justice theory, deliberative democracy, and democratic education, Gutmann currently is the Christopher H. Browne Professor of Political Science at Penn, with secondary faculty appointments in Philosophy, Communication, and Education. Her books include Why Deliberative Democracy? (2004 with Dennis Thompson), Identity in Democracy (2003), Democratic Education (revised edition, 1999), and Democracy and Disagreement (1996, with Dennis Thompson). She is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Education, and a W.E.B. DuBois Fellow of the American Academy of Political and Social Science.

John J. DiIulio, Jr.

John J. DiIulio, Jr.

John J. DiIulio, Jr. is the Frederic Fox Leadership Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, and the Faculty Director of the Robert A. Fox Leadership Program. After graduating from Penn in 1980, he received his Ph.D. in Political Science from Harvard University. For thirteen years, he was a professor and research center director at Princeton University, but came home to Penn in 1999.

DiIulio recently won Penn's Lindback Award for distinguished teaching. He is the author of a dozen books and co-author of American Government: Institutions and Policies, now in its 12th edition. He has led Penn undergraduates in over 1,000 weeks of service in post-Katrina New Orleans.

He has directed research centers at the Brookings Institution and other think tanks. He served as the first director of the White House Office of faith-based initiatives. He recently won the Spirit Award for lifetime service to an inner-city school. He serves on the boards of numerous community-serving nonprofit organizations.

Kathleen Hall Jamieson

Kathleen Hall Jamieson

Kathleen Hall Jamieson is the Elizabeth Ware Packard Professor of Communication at the Annenberg School for Communication and Walter and Leonore Annenberg Director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Jamieson is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Political and Social Science and the International Communication Association. She is the author or co-author of 15 books including: Presidents Creating the Presidency (University of Chicago Press, 2008), Echo Chamber: Rush Limbaugh and the Conservative Media Establishment (Oxford, 2008) and unSpun: Finding Facts in a World of Disinformation (Random House, 2007). Dr. Jamieson has won university-wide teaching awards at each of the three universities at which she has taught and political science or communication awards for four of her books. Her forthcoming book, co-authored with Kate Kenski and Bruce Hardy, is The Obama Victory: How Media, Money, and Messages Shaped the 2008 Election.

John L. Jackson

John L. Jackson, Jr.

John L. Jackson, Jr., is the Richard Perry University Professor of Communication and Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania. Before coming to Penn, Jackson taught in the Department of Cultural Anthropology at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, and spent three years as a Junior Fellow at the Harvard University Society of Fellows in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Jackson received his BA in Communications (Radio, TV, Film) from Howard University in Washington DC and his PhD in Anthropology from Columbia University in New York City. As a filmmaker, Jackson has produced a feature-length fiction film, documentaries and film-shorts that have screened at film festivals internationally. His research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Ford Foundation, Harvard University's Milton Fund, and the Lilly Endowment (during a year at the National Humanities Center in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina). He has published three books, Harlemworld: Doing Race and Class in Contemporary Black America (University of Chicago Press, 2001), Real Black: Adventures in Racial Sincerity (University of Chicago Press, 2005), and Racial Paranoia: The Unintended Consequences of Political Correctness (Basic, 2008), which just cam out in paperback February 2010. Jackson is currently writing a book on global Black Hebrewism (under contract with Harvard University Press). He is also working on two ethnographic films, one about contemporary conspiracy theories in urban America, another examining the history of state violence against Rastafari in Jamaica.

Jim Leach

Jim Leach

Jim Leach is the ninth Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Nominated by President Barack Obama on July 9, 2009, and confirmed by the Senate in early August, Leach began his four-year term as NEH Chairman on August 12, 2009.

Leach previously served 30 years representing southeastern Iowa in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he chaired the Banking and Financial Services Committee, the Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Affairs, the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, and founded and co-chaired the Congressional Humanities Caucus.

After leaving Congress in 2007, Leach joined the faculty at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School, where he was the John L. Weinberg Visiting Professor of Public and International Affairs until his confirmation as NEH chairman. In September 2007, Leach took a year's leave of absence from Princeton to serve as interim director of the Institute of Politics and lecturer at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Leach graduated from Princeton University, received a Master of Arts degree in Soviet politics from the School of Advanced International Studies at The John Hopkins University, and did additional graduate studies at the London School of Economics.

Leach holds eight honorary degrees and has received numerous awards, including the Sidney R. Yates Award for Distinguished Public Service to the Humanities from the National Humanities Alliance; the Woodrow Wilson Award from The Johns Hopkins University; the Adlai Stevenson Award from the United Nations Association; the Edgar Wayburn Award from the Sierra Club; the Wayne Morse Integrity in Politics Award; the Norman Borlaug Award for Public Service; and the Wesley Award for Service to Humanity.

A three-sport athlete in college, Leach was elected to the Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater, Oklahoma, and the International Wrestling Hall of Fame in Waterloo, Iowa. Leach resides in Iowa City and the Washington, D.C., area with his wife Elisabeth (Deba), son Gallagher, and daughter Jenny.

Andrea Mitchell

Andrea Mitchell

Andrea Mitchell, the veteran NBC Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent, currently covers foreign policy, intelligence and national security issues, including the diplomacy of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, for all NBC News properties. She is also the host of MSNBC'S Andrea Mitchell Reports.

Mitchell covered the entire 2008 presidential campaign, broadcasting live from every major primary and caucus state and all the candidate debates for NBC News and MSNBC programs, including Today, Hardball, and Meet the Press. She also covered Barack Obama's trip to Iraq, the Middle East, and Europe during the presidential campaign.

In 2005, Mitchell authored Talking Back, a memoir about her experiences as one of the first women to cover five presidents, congress, and foreign policy. She has received the prestigious Goldsmith Career Award for Excellence in Journalism from the John F. Kennedy School of Government and the Radio-Television News Directors Association's Leonard Zeidenberg Award for her contribution to the protection of First Amendment Freedoms.

Mitchell received her bachelor of arts in English literature from the University of Pennsylvania. She currently serves as a Penn Trustee, a member of the Executive Committee, and Chairman of the Annenberg School Advisory Board.


After the Fall: A World Transformed?

Does the current financial crisis, as George Soros recently argued, require a "new way of thinking about how markets work"? Or is the recent economic downturn an extraordinarily painful recession, but at its core nothing fundamentally more than a normal stage of an economic boom-to-bust cycle?

In the wake of investment firm and bank failures, stock market declines, and staggering job losses, governments around the globe have taken actions with major ramifications for the markets. The United States government has approved nearly $1 trillion in relief programs and bailouts to shore up the economy. In the United Kingdom, Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced that his government will unveil a second bank bailout which builds on a previous £37 billion relief program.

Does the scale of the current economic contraction, along with the unprecedented decisions of governments to nationalize industries and make other direct investments in the private sector, herald a "new era" defined by fundamental, lasting, and as yet not fully understood changes in the world economy?

The Inaugural David and Lyn Silfen University Forum, hosted by Penn President Amy Gutmann, will bring together distinguished Penn faculty with expertise in business, economics, politics, law, and history to answer the question: Has our economic world fundamentally and permanently changed? And if so, what will the new world economic order look like? The panel members will also explore the causes of the economic downturn and its short- and long- term impacts on the world in which we live.

Press release: Penn President Amy Gutmann and Penn Experts to Discuss the Economic Crisis and Its Aftermath at University-Wide Forum

2009 Webcast


Moderator: Amy Gutmann

Moderated by Amy Gutmann

Amy Gutmann became the eighth president of the University of Pennsylvania on July 1, 2004. She has become a prominent national advocate for equity in higher education, and advises the U.N. Secretary General on a range of global issues, including academic freedom, mass migration, international development, and the social responsibilities of universities. An eminent political scientist and philosopher on ethics, justice theory, deliberative democracy, and democratic education, Gutmann currently is the Christopher H. Browne Professor of Political Science at Penn, with secondary faculty appointments in Philosophy, Communication, and Education. Her books include Why Deliberative Democracy? (2004 with Dennis Thompson), Identity in Democracy (2003), Democratic Education (revised edition, 1999), and Democracy and Disagreement (1996, with Dennis Thompson). She is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Education, and a W.E.B. DuBois Fellow of the American Academy of Political and Social Science.

Jennifer Amyx

Jennifer Amyx

Jennifer Amyx is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania. Her work focuses on the political economy of East Asia, with a particular emphasis on the politics of financial regulation and reform in Japan and on regional financial cooperation initiatives in East Asia since the 1997-98 Asian Financial Crisis. Her book, Japan's Financial Crisis: Institutional Rigidity and Reluctant Change was awarded the 2005 Masayoshi Ohita Memorial Prize.

As an International Affairs Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in 2005-06, Amyx worked in Tokyo on projects commissioned by Japan's Ministry of Finance (MOF) and by the ASEAN+3 Finance Ministers and also worked in Washington, DC in the East Asia Division at the US Department of the Treasury. Amyx has also held a number of visiting scholar positions at institutions in Japan, Australia and the US.

Harold Cole

Harold Cole

Harold Cole is Professor of Economics at the University of Pennsylvania. He has also served as Professor of Economics at the University of California, Los Angeles, senior economist and director of the Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, consultant to the World Bank and the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, and visiting scholar at the International Monetary Fund. A scholar of macroeconomics and international finance, he has researched the Great Depression, incomplete markets and risk sharing, sovereign default, and the interaction of social institutions and economic decisions.

Don Kettl

Don Kettl

Donald F. Kettl is Robert A. Fox Leadership Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, where he is on the faculty of the Department of Political Science. He is also a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. Among his books are The Next Government of the United States: Why Our Institutions Fail Us and How to Fix Them (2008), System under Stress: Homeland Security and American Politics (2007), and The Global Public Management Revolution (2005). He has twice won the Louis Brownlow Book Award of the National Academy of Public Administration for the best book published in public administration. In 2008, Kettl won the American Political Science's John Gaus Award for a lifetime of exemplary scholarship in political science and public administration. Kettl has consulted broadly for government organizations at all levels, in the United States and abroad, and he is a regular columnist for Governing magazine, which is read by state and local government officials around the country.

Richard Marston

Richard Marston

Richard Marston is James R.F. Guy Professor of Finance and Economics at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He is also Director of the George Weiss Center for International Financial Research at Wharton. He holds an AB from Yale University, a B Phil from Oxford University, and a PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is also a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, a member of several journal editorial boards, and has been visiting professor or scholar at over a dozen foreign schools including Essec in France, LBS in London, and Sasin Institute in Thailand. His research interests have recently centered on exchange rate pass-through and exposure, foreign exchange risk management, and international asset pricing.

David Skeel

Don Kettl

David Skeel is the S. Samuel Arsht Professor of Corporate Law at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of Icarus in the Boardroom and Debt's Dominion: A History of Bankruptcy Law in America, as well as numerous articles and other publications. He has been interviewed on Nightline, Chris Matthews' Hardball (MS-NBC), National Public Radio, and Marketplace, among others, and has been quoted in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and many other publications. Skeel has twice received the Harvey Levin award for outstanding teaching, as selected by a vote of the graduating class as well as the University's Lindback Award for distinguished teaching. In addition to corporate law and bankruptcy, Skeel also writes on sovereign debt, law and religion, and poetry and the law.