One Day University in New York City
Where: Symphony Space
212-864-1414 Price: $159
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What’s Wrong (and What’s Right) with American Education?
Leon Botstein / President of Bard College and Music Director of the American Symphony Orchestra
As parents send their sons and daughters off to college, commentators are eager to tell them that tuition in public higher education is skyrocketing because profligate college administrators are adding recklessly to their bloated staffs, or that the economy is awash in unemployed college graduates to a point where degrees no longer pay. And even if a lucky graduate nails down a job, all of his/her earnings will go to pay off their mountain of debt.
The fact is, none of these hyperbolic statements is true, but the atmosphere of crisis distracts us from the serious problems actually besetting American higher education. The shortfalls in Federal and State funding that are the real source of rising tuition are very likely to persist, and educational institutions will need to focus on delivering excellent education more effectively and cheaply. In many cases, this will include using digital technologies—not for the wholesale replacement of human instructors, but to extend and support professors’ work through “hybrid” courses that blend human and computer-based teaching.
Most Americans possess only a hazy understanding of World War I or its significance for the United States. So why not leave it there? Why bother with this history lesson? How the nation responded to the challenge of fighting its first modern war re-made America, leading to female suffrage, the modern civil rights movement, the drive to protect civil liberties, new conceptions of military service, and an expanded role for the United States in the world.
There are striking parallels between the problems Americans faced a hundred years ago in 1917-18 and the challenges we face now. How do we balance protecting national security with civil liberties? Is it appropriate for Americans to continue to debate a war once the fighting has begun? Are immigrants importing terrorism? Do Americans have a responsibility to participate in global humanitarianism? Can soldiers ever convey to those at home the reality of what they’ve encountered on the battlefield? Can they ever leave the war behind? Americans grappled with these issues in World War I, and these are once again relevant questions for a society at war.
Jennifer Keene / Chapman University
Jennifer Keene is a professor of history and Chair of the History Department at Chapman University. She is also the current President of the Society of Military History. She has published three books and numerous articles on the American involvement in the First World War including “Doughboys, the Great War and the Remaking of America,” “World War I: The American Soldier Experience,” and “The United States and the First World War.” She has received numerous awards for her scholarship, including Fulbright Senior Scholar Awards to France and Australia and Mellon Library of Congress Fellowship in International Studies. She has served as an historical consultant for exhibits and films, and was recently featured in the PBS documentary mini-series, “The Great War.”
What do the finale of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and the Beatles song “Hey Jude” have in common? For one thing, the scope of each work is unprecedented: a vast choral movement and a seven-minute song marked radical breakthroughs for both symphonic music and popular music. Even more outsized is the spiritual message shared by these pieces: it it the grand vision of shared humanity, of boundless compassion and communal wonder, which binds the two works together across time and stylistic difference.
For thirteen years Professor Rose has taught a Vanderbilt course called “Beethoven and the Beatle,” motivated by the simple idea that great art knows no historical boundaries. Ludwig and the Fab Four make their music in beautifully analogous ways, designing their song structures through similar principles of economy, logic, and irrational instinct. Another thrilling correspondence between these Classic and Rock ‘N’ Roll masters is their shared devotion to the musical traditions that inspired them in the first place. Rose will expand these various connections between the Ninth’s finale and “Hey Jude” into a resonant triad, by drawing comparisons with one of William Shakespeare’s sonnets.
Michael Alec Rose / Vanderbilt University
Michael Alec Rose is Associate Professor of Composition at Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music. His many awards and commissions include the Walter W. Naumburg Foundation’s chamber music commission, 27 consecutive annual awards in composition from ASCAP, and three works for the Nashville Symphony. He co-directs an ongoing International Exchange Program between the Royal Academy of Music, London (RAM) and the Blair School. Professor Rose has won several major teaching awards at Vanderbilt, including the prestigious Chair of Teaching Excellence.