Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Wheaton College

News & Events

Thought leaders

An ongoing conversation on the future of the liberal arts

Some of the nation’s leading voices in higher education will visit the Wheaton campus this spring to participate in a new series of workshops and public lectures designed to explore the continuing relevance of the liberal arts and the challenges faced by liberal arts colleges today.

The series—Thought Leaders: An Ongoing Conversation on the Future of the Liberal Arts—begins on Friday, March 22, with a workshop for a group of Wheaton faculty conducted by Jose Bowen, dean of Meadows College at Southern Methodist University.

The events planned for this spring explore national issues with particular relevance for the college. Additional lectures and discussions will be planned for the 2013-2014 school year.

“My goal for the Thought Leaders series is to begin a discussion about Wheaton’s future, preserving what we value about our institution and positioning us for long-term success,” said Wheaton College President Ronald A. Crutcher.

“Wheaton’s culture and curriculum is distinctive, but we share a great deal in common with other liberal arts colleges,” said Crutcher. “At a time when the public is questioning the value of higher education, the institutions committed to the liberal arts must become better at demonstrating the personal, practical and long-term benefits of the rigorous and flexible education we offer students.”

To start, during a two-hour workshop with a faculty working group, Jose Bowen will share his thoughts on how to engage students with mobile and web technology in a way that creates active learning environments. He is the author of the book Teaching Naked: How Moving Technology Out of Your College Classroom Will Improve Student Learning.

He has been dean of the Meadows School of the Arts, Algur H. Meadows Chair and Professor of Music at Southern Methodist University since 2006. His teaching career began at Stanford University in 1982, as the Director of Jazz Ensembles. In 1994, he became the Founding Director of the Centre for the History and Analysis of Recorded Music at the University of Southampton, England. He returned to the U.S. in 1999 as the first holder of the endowed Caestecker Chair of Music in the new Program in the Performing Arts at Georgetown University. He was then Dean of Fine Arts and Professor of Music at Miami University before moving to SMU in Dallas.

Bowen has written more than 100 scholarly articles in many journals, including the Journal of Musicology, and in books from Oxford and Princeton university presses. He is also the editor of the Cambridge Companion to Conducting (Cambridge University Press, 2003), and he received a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship.

Lecturers scheduled to visit campus this semester include:

  • Skidmore President Phil Glotzbach, who will participate in a panel discussion with President Crutcher and others on the future of the liberal arts. The event will take place on Monday, April 8.
  • Carol Geary Schneider, president of the Association of American Colleges and Universities, who will discuss faculty leadership in achieving an integrative learning environment for students. The lecture will take place on Thursday, April 18.
  • Rebecca Chopp, president of Swarthmore College. Her lecture will be scheduled for the fall semester.