017: The Transformative Power of Education with MSU Dean, Chris Long


Dean Christopher P. Long is a Professor of Philosophy and Dean of the College of Arts & Letters at Michigan State University who is committed to expanding the transformative power of liberal arts research and teaching and creating new opportunities for collaboration among community partners.

He began his tenure as Dean on July 1, 2015. Under his leadership, several advances have been made including the creation of the Center for Interdisciplinarity. He has successfully established the College of Arts & Letters as a catalyst of innovation and collaboration at MSU through signature partnerships, such as the partnership with the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the College of Communication Arts and Sciences to advance a holistic approach to food research (Food@MSU).

He is the co-founder of the Public Philosophy Journal, an open forum for the curation and creation of accessible scholarship that deepens our understanding of issues related to public relevance, and editor of The Journal for General Education. He is an expert on both ancient Greek and contemporary continental philosophy and received his MA and Ph.D. from the New School for Social Research in New York and BA from Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio. Dea

Top Takeaways:

  1. [21:27] The value of reverse engineering the metrics you measure by going back to your core values. “How are we living out the core values in a way that’s identifiable as showing that we’re actually making progress towards the vision that we share.”
  2. [36:30] Millennials do not want to learn passively and we need to be raising the bar of our educational programs and institutions to meet their expectation and thirst for knowledge and impact.
  3. [44:02] How using technology and a variety of mediums is the expectation of student learners today. 


Kindred— By: Octavia Butler


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Show Notes:

[6:30] The value in including the community at the beginning of the research stage, when the questions that are trying to be answered are formulated and what that means for the water industry at [8:06]

[11:04] Reasons why partnering with a higher education institution is valuable when conducting research on your community.

[13:15] The old model of community engagement vs the new model and how the public philosophy journal is creating an open source mindshare community.

[14:19] “Making ideas public is at the heart of publishing.” “Ideas have transformative power. They have the power to both shape and misshape our relationships with one another.”

[14:50] How MSU and the Public Philosophy Journal are making the journal a community feedback mechanism.

[15:45] The four different aspects they look for: relevance, accessibility, intellectual coherence, and scholarly engagement.

[16:50] Accessibility issues—when we’re speaking a “different language” than our customers.

[19:22] How do we do a better job at communicating the transformative power of education?

[19:53] “How are we being authentic with one another and attentive enough to each other in the moment so that we can find the words that need to be heard? What needs to be heard versus what I want to say?”

[21:27] Metrics—how can we be doing a better job at showing the impact of our efforts?

[23:15] “The question then becomes how are we living out the core values in a way that’s identifiable as showing we’re actually making progress towards the vision that we share.”

[23:40] Reverse engineering metrics by going back to your core values.

[24:58] Word of caution—how metrics can pervert the mission we’re trying to accomplish when not aligned with your core values.

[29:45] The importance of integrated education. “We need to provide our students and future citizens with a more holistic and textured understanding of the world we care about.”

[34:02] Two different approaches to education and outcomes.

[36:30] What makes millennials different and what can current generations expect when they hit the workforce?

[39:18] What are ways we can better engage with the millennial generation?

[41:08] Using the way millennials are raising the bar in education to justify raising the bar in our own informal education programs.

[43:28] Real world example of informal educators using different mediums to engage her students.

[44:02 ] Using technology in education.

  [46:46] Technology in education also means understanding that with great power (technology in your pocket) comes great responsibility.

[47:52] The Greek roots behind why combining the written and oral forms of knowledge transfer create the most impact.

[54:48] Collaboration and why it’s hard for some entities to get on board.

[57:34] The beauty in the complexity of discussion around issues versus keeping conversations on the surface level with the simple “yes and no” responses or only discussion of the pros and cons.

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