Former US Under Secretary of Education Martha Kanter, a Distinguished Visiting professor of Higher Education at New York University, gave a lecture on “Deepening Geopolitical Partnerships through Higher Education,” as part of the Faculty Resource Network (FRN) Seminar hosted at The American College of Greece for the second consecutive winter.
Speaking to a packed room at DEREE’s John S. Bailey Library on January 14, Dr Kanter extolled the values of the FRN while making the case for further investments in higher education in order to empower people in the US and across the world to become better “global citizens.”
“NYU’s Faculty Resource Network has a well-established history of connecting faculty across disciplines, across cultures,” Dr Kanter told the audience, adding “We’re here in Athens, home to the greatest philosophers, to build trust and develop relationships and think about how we can extend this network…. Greece created the ‘polis,’ which gave rise to democracy and community…We have to close the achievement gap in education,” she said, underlining the dire statistics from around the world that point to the connection between income and educational attainment.
Dr Kanter, who is credited with overseeing a 50-percent increase in lower-income US college student enrollment (from six to more than nine million students) during her time in office with the first Obama Administration also praised President Obama’s recent higher education initiative to offer the first two years of community college free for qualified students.
Dr Kanter called for an increase in “opportunity and access to education across the world…If you graduate from college, you’ll get a better job, with more money, and live easier, while countries will benefit with more research and more innovation locally… We’ve got to do more to help students reach their potential.” She warned, however, about the “effects of the market forces,” which she said might signal that “efficiency could outweigh quality.”
ACG President David G. Horner thanked the FRN for organizing the seminar at The American College of Greece for the second consecutive winter, as well as Dr Kanter for her lecture and “provocative insights”.
Dr Horner stressed the importance of connecting “educational access with educational quality” and in the current era of technological innovation cautioned against a “high tech / low quality” offering for the masses and a “low tech / high quality” offering for the elite. He also made the case for a “diverse mix of educational institutions, especially public and non-profit, private institutions” along the lines of the US model.
ACG President Horner concluded with some suggestions as to how international US institutions, such as ACG, could create expansive learning opportunities both for lower-income US university students and Greek students, especially in the context of the Greek economic crisis, through study abroad programs.
Dr Horner also thanked Debra M. Szybinski, Executive Director of the Faculty Resource Network, for the successful work of the FRN, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary.
The Faculty Resource Network at New York University sponsors programs for faculty development through a consortium of over 50 colleges and universities.
For more on Dr Martha Kanter, click here