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Westmont to Explore Liberal Arts, Social Change at Upcoming Series of Talks

Westmont’s Gaede Institute for the Liberal Arts will explore how higher education prepares students to make social change at its 15th annual conference Feb. 4-6, 2016.

The public is welcome to plenary sessions of the Conversation on the Liberal Arts, “From Inquiry to Impact: Social Transformation through Liberal Learning.”

Speakers include alumna Rachel Goble (Class of ’05), co-founder and president of The SOLD Project, a nonprofit agency that works to combat the sexual exploitation of women and children; Mary Godwyn, professor of sociology at Babson College and a specialist in the integration of liberal education and entrepreneurship; Jon Isham, director of the Center for Social Entrepreneurship (CSE) at Middlebury College; and Cheri Larsen Hoeckley, professor of English at Westmont, where she has taught since 1997.

A complete schedule is available at westmont.edu/institute. For more information, call 805.565­.6124.

A downtown panel discussion, “Listening to the Community,” features Ken Saxon, founder and president of Leading From Within; Brandon Cox, co-founder of CorePower Yoga; Ian Bentley, co-founder of Parker Clay; David Kerr, head of Sansum Diabetes Research Center and health innovator; and alumna Jenny Martinez (Class of ’14), program coordinator for education and outreach at the Sansum Diabetes Research Center, Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016, at 9 a.m. at the Westmont Downtown campus, 26 W. Anapamu, third floor.

“The purpose of this session is to move our conversation into the community — in terms of content and physical location —  to hear from local practitioners about their work, their interface with educational institutions and their hopes for young recruits,” said Christian Hoeckley, director of the Gaede Institute.

“These panelists will discuss what they and their organizations are doing to produce positive social change in Santa Barbara and elsewhere,” said Rachel Winslow, director of the Westmont Downtown Semester in Social Entrepreneurship.

 “They’ll also give us a sense of how educational preparation has been vital to their work. They’ll explore how the perspectives and tools of a liberal-arts education have served their own organizations and share their visions for how educational institutions could prepare even more effective change leaders,” she said.

Following the conference, Isham will lecture about a type of education that doesn’t succumb to the whipped-up frenzy of our time.

“‘Slow Learning’ and Social Transformation” is free and open to the public Monday, Feb. 8, 2016, at 3:30 p.m. in Hieronymus Lounge at Westmont’s Kerrwood Hall.

“Too often, we rush, we assign more, we expect more, we pursue more. And perhaps as a result, we learn less,” Isham says. “Slow learning is an approach that declares ‘less is more,’ that promotes the ‘read’ and then the ‘re-read,’ that brings mindfulness into the classroom, that honors students who unplug, reflect and actively raise questions about their own identity and agency in this complicated age.”

In 2012, Isham co-founded the CSE, a recognized leader in the integration of social entrepreneurship and the liberal arts. The CSE helps students use entrepreneurial tools and strategies to bring about positive social change.

The Gaede Institute, created in 2001, promotes the continued vitality of the liberal arts tradition in American higher education. In May 2006, Westmont renamed the institute after its founder, former president Stan Gaede.

Scott Craig is the manager of media relations at Westmont College.


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