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"What is Good Work and How Can I Achieve It?" with Howard Gardner


10 September 2008

For well over a decade, psychologist Howard Gardner and his colleagues have been studying the nature of good work and how to achieve it. At a time when everything is in flux, our sense of time and space is being radically altered by technology, markets are tremendously powerful and there are few if any factors that can mitigate market forces. Dr. Gardner will describe the results of his study and lead a conversation where students can discuss their own views (and doubts) about good work, and how it aligns with their short- and long-term goals.

Howard Gardner is the John H. and Elisabeth A. Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He also holds positions as Adjunct Professor of Psychology at Harvard University and Senior Director of Harvard Project Zero. Among numerous honors, Dr. Gardner received a MacArthur Prize Fellowship in 1981. He has received honorary degrees from twenty-two colleges and universities, including institutions in Ireland, Italy, Israel, Chile, and South Korea. In 2005 and again in 2008, he was selected by Foreign Policy and Prospect magazines as one of the 100 most influential public intellectuals in the world. The author of over twenty books translated into twenty-seven languages, and several hundred articles, Dr. Gardner is best known in educational circles for his theory of multiple intelligences, a critique of the notion that there exists but a single human intelligence that can be assessed by standard psychometric instruments.

During the past two decades, Dr. Gardner and colleagues at Project Zero have been involved in the design of performance-based assessments; education for understanding; the use of multiple intelligences to achieve more personalized curriculum, instruction, and pedagogy; and the quality of interdisciplinary efforts in education. Since the middle 1990s, in collaboration with psychologists Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and William Damon, Dr. Gardner has directed the GoodWork Project-a study of work that is excellent, engaging, and ethical. More recently, members of the GoodWork Project have led reflection sessions in an effort to enhance the incidence of good work among young people. With colleagues at Project Zero, he is also investigating the nature of trust in contemporary society and ethical dimensions of the new digital media.

"From Theory to Practice: What Existentialism and the Enlightenment have to do with Running a World-Class Library " with Paul LeClerc

27 October 2008

Paul LeClerc is the President and Chief Executive Officer of The New York Public Library. He graduated from the College of the Holy Cross in 1963 and studied at the Sorbonne. He completed his Ph.D. in French literature with distinction at Columbia University, writing his dissertation on Voltaire, an author he was introduced to by a Jesuit at Holy Cross during his freshman year. Dr. LeClerc was a member of the faculty of Union College in Schenectady, New York, from 1966-79, where he chaired the Department of Modern Languages and the Division of Humanities and received many grants to support his work on the French Enlightenment. Dr. LeClerc returned to New York City in 1979 to join the central administration of The City University of New York. In 1988, Dr. LeClerc was named President of Hunter College, where he also served as Professor of French with tenure, teaching during nearly every semester of his presidency.

Dr. LeClerc has served as President and Chief Executive Officer of The New York Public Library since 1993. David Remnick described Dr. LeClerc in The New Yorker as "an unassumingly brilliant administrator and Voltaire scholar." He is the author or co-editor of five scholarly volumes on writers of the French Enlightenment and his contributions to French culture earned him the Order of the Academic Palms (Officier) in 1989 and the French Legion of Honor (Chevalier) in 1996. Dr. LeClerc has received honorary doctorates from eleven universities. Dr. LeClerc is presently a trustee of The New York Public Library, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the J. Paul Getty Trust, the Carroll and Milton Petrie Foundation, Union College, the American Academy in Rome, and the National Book Foundation. He serves on the Editorial Board of The Complete Works of Voltaire (Oxford University), on the Advisory Committee of The Papers of Benjamin Franklin (Yale University), and is a member of the Visiting Committee to the Harvard University Libraries. President Clinton appointed him to the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities and he is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has served as a consultant to Les Musées Nationaux de France, the Rockefeller Archive Center, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity. Past directorships include El Museo del Barrio, the Feminist Press, the National Center for Learning Disabilities, The New York Alliance for the Public Schools, and The Teacher Education Conference Board of NY State.

"The Origin and Resolution of Conflicts" with Eric Tuchmann

18 November 2008

Individuals, organizations, corporations and governments spend considerable resources engaging others on matters in which they do not agree. The costs of resolving disputes and the resources involved may be limited to the time and energy required to communicate with an adversary on a particular issue, or they may be substantial monetary commitments to fund a lawsuit. In the extreme, in times of war, the resources expended to resolve a conflict can be measured in terms of substantial monetary amounts spent, but more significantly, those resources can also be measured in terms of human lives lost. While conflicts are an inevitable part of life, continuing attention must be given to minimizing the impact conflicts have on all of us individually and collectively.

Eric P. Tuchmann is General Counsel and Corporate Secretary for the American Arbitration Association, an organization dedicated to the widespread use of prompt, effective and economical methods of dispute resolution. In 2007, the Association administered almost 130,000 arbitrations and mediations. Mr. Tuchmann is the Association's chief legal officer and is responsible for managing legal and governance affairs of the organization. His specific responsibilities include defending the Association in litigation-related matters involving the Association or its arbitrators, directing outside counsel, and drafting the Association's amicus curiae briefs. Mr. Tuchmann analyzes state and federal legislation impacting alternative dispute resolution, the unauthorized practice of law, and attorneys' professional rules of responsibility. Mr. Tuchmann also regularly interacts with the Association's Board of Directors which is comprised of legal, business and governmental leaders and executives.

Mr. Tuchmann was the Association's Associate General Counsel before being named as General Counsel. Prior to joining the Association's legal department, Mr. Tuchmann was Director of the International Centre for Dispute Resolution (ICDR) where he managed the Association's division responsible for providing international arbitration and mediation services. There, he managed a staff of bi-lingual attorney case managers handling hundreds of international arbitrations and mediations, and coordinated the Association's internal International Strategy Committee. Mr. Tuchmann also served as the Director of the Commercial Department for the Association's New York regional office, where he was responsible for the management of all commercial dispute resolution services. Mr. Tuchmann makes frequent presentations and has authored numerous articles on issues related to alternative dispute resolution. Mr. Tuchmann is a member of the state bars of New York and New Jersey, the Supreme Court of the United States, the New York City Bar, the American Bar Association, and the International Bar Association.

"Frontrunners: Who Wants To Be President?" with Caroline Suh

3 February 2008

Have you ever looked at people from your own generation and wondered, which one of these people will one day become President of the United States? In an age of cynicism about our elected leaders and with the great sacrifice required by public life, is politics still a desirable career choice for the best and brightest? This talk will take a look at some of these questions through the documentary film "Frontrunners," a feature that follows the race for student body president at Stuyvesant High School, one of the most competitive and elite public high schools in the country. These teenagers face the same issues as candidates of any age, such as picking the "right" running mate, shaking as many hands as possible, preparing for televised debates, impressing the pundits and journalistic community, addressing sensitive race-related issues, and mobilizing an apathetic voter base. The talk will also explore the issues of how and why people put themselves in the public view to be scrutinized and judged, the price and the benefits of doing so, and the level of public engagement each of us opts for as individual members of a democracy.

Caroline Suh (CC '93) with a Masters of Science from GSAPP, is a documentary filmmaker. FrontRunners, which will have its national theatrical release in October 2008 (, and will also screen as part of the New Yorker festival (distributed by Oscilloscope Pictures, a film distribution company started by Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys), is the first feature-length documentary she has directed. She has also produced numerous projects in film and television, for PBS, A&E and the History Channel, among others, including "Final Cut: The Making of Heaven's Gate and the Unmaking of a Studio," about Michael Cimino's infamous debacle that ruined United Artists, "Antietam" for the Emmy Award-winning History Channel series "10 Days," as well as several episodes of the Sundance Channel series "Iconoclasts."

"Everything You Wanted to Know About City Subways & Buses, But Were Afraid To Ask" with Gene Russianoff

5 March 2008

Since 1978, Gene Russianoff has been mass transit and government reform advocate for the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG), a student-directed social change organization. Serving as staff attorney for NYPIRG's Straphangers Campaign, his work has helped revive transit a key engine for the city's vitality and economy, with subway ridership at its highest level in more than 50 years. This achievement was greatly advanced by his efforts to win: unlimited-ride transit passes and free subway-to-bus transfers; $75 billion in funds to rebuild the subway and bus system since 1982, including the "trade-in" of Westway highway funds for transit; increased transit service; creation of independent transit safety and management watchdog agencies; and rider and labor representatives on the MTA Board of Directors.

Mr. Russianoff has also played a major role in reforming the city's political system. In 1988, he lobbied successfully for New York City's landmark campaign finance reform law, now a national model. Over two decades, he helped win major improvements in the law, such as providing greater incentives for city candidates to seek small contributions from city residents; and limiting contributions from individuals doing business with city government. His work also resulted in the creation of the New York City's Independent Budget Office and the annual mailing of several million multi-lingual Voter Guides at city election time. Mr. Russianoff was awarded the 1994 Public Service Achievement Award by the National Board of Common Cause. New York 1 News named him "New Yorker of the Year" in 1997 for his coalition work to win unlimited-ride MetroCards. Mr. Russianoff is the author of more than 100 reports on transit service. He was a Charles H. Revson Fellow at Columbia University in 1983.

A native of Brooklyn, Mr. Russianoff lives in Park Slope with his wife Pauline Ann Toole and daughters Jennie and Natalie. He is a graduate of Brooklyn College (1974) and Harvard Law School (1978).

"Local Conflicts as a Global Challenge" with George Rupp

20 April 2008

While the overall theme for this year's Columbia Undergraduate Scholar's Program - transformative dialogue - may seem abstract, in conflict settings all over the world it becomes urgently concrete. A new face to war is targeting innocent victims rather than the combatants themselves. Dr. Rupp will examine the challenge that these conflicts pose from the perspective of the International Rescue Committee, which works in such settings to bring uprooted people from harm to home.

George Rupp has been president and CEO of the International Rescue Committee since July 2002. Dr. Rupp oversees the agency's relief and development operations in 42 countries, its refugee resettlement programs throughout the United States, and its advocacy efforts in Washington, Geneva, Brussels, and other capitals. Before joining the IRC, Dr. Rupp served as President of Columbia University. During his nine-year tenure, he focused on enhancing undergraduate education, on strengthening campus ties to surrounding communities and New York City as a whole, and on increasing the University's international orientation. Earlier, Dr. Rupp served as President of Rice University and before that was the John Lord O'Brian Professor of Divinity and Dean of the Harvard Divinity School. Educated in Europe, Asia, and the United States, he is the author of numerous articles and five books, including Globalization Challenged: Commitment, Conflict, and Community (2006).


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