‘Issues & Insights’ Panel — ‘Higher Ed: From Past Lessons to Future Hopes’

by Diane VanDyke

As part of Montgomery County Community College’s yearlong 50th anniversary celebration, the College will be hosting a special Issues & Insights panel discussion on the topic “Higher Education: From Past Lessons to Future Hopes” on Wednesday, April 9, starting at 12:30 p.m. in the Science Center Theater, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell. The community is invited to attend this free event.

The multifaceted discussion will feature several panelists from the College spanning the disciplines of History, Economics, Psychology, Computer Science and Political Science. Sociology Assistant Professor Garvey Lundy will serve as the moderator.

“Issues & Insights—the oldest and premier interdisciplinary arena for debate at the College will present this panel discussion assessing the state of higher education,” says Lundy. “This forum will bring together some of the best minds at the College for what is expected to be a vivacious dialogue between forum speakers and audience members. Among the issues discussed are the role of technology in education, the financial cost of an education and the ability of American education to meet the needs of a changing society.”

The panelists and their topics include:

History Professor Lawrence Backlund will discuss “Statist on the Technology State—Long-Term Observations.” His topic covers the impact of educational technology from the point of view of a user who is also a teaching historian.

Economics Professor Lee Bender will address “The Confusing Economics of Higher Education.” He will delve into the areas of how colleges and universities are differently funded, the rapidly rising costs and dwindling public support, price discrimination based on income and talent, and how prices in higher education rarely reflect the actual cost.

History Professor Stephen Blumm will discuss “The Confusing Future of Higher Education” and what education may look like in the next several decades.

Psychology Associate Professor Ann Marie Donohue’s topic, “Will Education Help Technology Save the World,” explores the changing nature of higher education, how technology will be used as a tool and how educational pathways are changing.

Computer Science Associate Professor Kendall Martin will discuss “Will Technology Help Education Save the World?” She will address the global issue of exploding population growth and resulting challenges including resource depletion, medical pandemics and wealth disparity. She will explore how education will make a difference, as well as how technology will support education in making that difference.

History Professor Elsa Rapp’s topic, “Women in Education: Then and Now,” will look at the position of women in the 1970s both at Montgomery County Community College and in higher education and examine how the situation for women has changed since then.

Professor of History and Political Science Dr. Thomas Kolsky, who has taught at Montgomery County Community College since 1971, started hosting Issues & Insight programs in 1986, although the series did not officially take that name until 1999. The program’s purpose is to stimulate discussions about diverse topics, to invite the larger community to participate in an exchange of ideas, to share the academic talent of the College’s faculty and to invite outside guest scholars to share their insights.

Throughout the years, the programs covered a vast range of topics with more than 100 individual events. Some of the topics have included “The Modern Jewish Experience,” “Focus on the Middle East,” “The Reign of Error: The Marriage of Humor and Politics,” “Vietnam and Iraq Wars Compared,” “The Immigration Question, and many more. Additionally, the program has covered every election since 1996.

For more information, contact Dr. Thomas Kolsky at 215-641-6380 or tkolsky@mc3.edu.

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