A Mission, Not a Market: One Laptop per Child

2010 April 15
by Nicole Vadnais

The closing event for the Spring 2010 Civic Discourse Series: Literacy and Democracy will feature Nicholas Negroponte, “A Mission Not a Market: One Laptop per Child.”  The event will take place on Tuesday, April 27 @ 6pm at the Boston Athenaeum (10 1/2 Beacon Street, Boston).  Reservations are being accepted now – at 617-720-7600.  Please mention that you are affiliated with Suffolk University. 

Nicholas Negroponte

Nicholas Negroponte

Nicholas Negroponte is founder and chairman of One Laptop per Child, a non-profit organization that is working to create educational opportunities for the world’s poorest children by providing each child with a rugged, low-cost, connected laptop with content and software  designed for collaborative, joyful, self-empowered learning.  He is currently on leave from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he was co-founder and director of the MIT Media Laboratory, and the Jerome B. Wiesner Professor of Media Technology.  A graduate of MIT, Negroponte was a pioneer in the field of computer-aided design, and has been a member of the MIT faculty since 1966.  He is also author of the 1995 best seller, Being Digital, which has been translated into more than 40 languages.  In the private sector, Negroponte serves on the board of directors for Motorola, Inc.  He is also a general partner in a venture capital firm specializing in digital technologies for information and entertainment.  Negroponte has provided start-up funds for more than 40 companies, including Wired magazine.

Literacy Behind Bars

2010 April 13
story by Andrew Clark

According to four local educators, there seems to be one sure-fire way to help lower the number of former inmates returning to prison. The solution? Promoting literacy behind bars.

On April 8, Suffolk University and the Boston Athenæum hosted a panel discussion,  “Prison Literacy,” at the Athenæum as the fourth installment of the 2010 Civic Discourse Series, Literacy and Democracy. The discussion featured presentations by poet Jill McDonough, professors Steven Spitzer (Suffolk University), and Robert Waxler (UMass Dartmouth) and was moderated by Jack Gantos, a Newbury Honor award-winning children’s book author, and author of Hole in My Life – a memoir on his time spent in prison.

Panel moderator Jack Gantos

Waxler, co-founder of the Changing Lives Through Literature program that provides literature seminars for inmates, discussed his efforts teaching literacy skills in prison settings. According to Waxler, those in his literacy program had a significantly higher chance of not returning to prison upon being released. read more…

Prison Literacy

2010 April 5
by Nicole Vadnais

Join us, Thursday, April 8 @ 6:00pm, at the Boston Athenaeum (10 1/2 Beacon Street)  for a panel discussion on the importance of ”Prison LIteracy.”

The panel will feature Jill McDonough, poet; Steven Spitzer, professor of Sociology, Suffolk University; Robert Waxler, professor of English, UMass Dartmouth; moderated by Jack Gantos, author.

JILL MCDONOUGH’s first book of poems, Habeas Corpus, was published by Salt Publishing in 2008.  She is the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Fine Arts Work Center, New Yori Public Library, and Stanford’s Stegner program.  McDonough has taught incarcerated college students through Boston University’s Prison Education program since 1999.  Her work appears in Slate and the Threepenny Review. read more…

Teaching Literacy in Senegal

2010 March 22
by Nicole Vadnais

Tonight (March 22)  at 6:00pm in the C. Walsh Theatre Distinguished Visiting Scholar Viola Vaughn discusses her work in Kaolack, Senegal with the Women’s Health Education and Prevention Strategies Alliance (WHEPSA). 

VIOLA VAUGHN is the founder and Executive Director of the Women’s Health Education and Prevention Strategies Alliance (WHEPSA) and 10,000 Girls in Kaolack, Senegal, West Africa. She founded WHEPSA in 2001, to develop new strategies for offering health and educational services to girls in rural Senegal.

Vaughn graduated with an Ed.D. from Columbia University’s renowned Teacher’s College in New York, she acquired considerable administrative and teaching experience in health care and education, in both the U.S. (mainly in her native Michigan) and 6 different African countries, including Senegal. In 2000 Viola and her husband, Jazz musician Sam Sanders, made the decision to emigrate to Senegal with their family, to provide their five grandchildren with an international, multilingual and multicultural education. read more…

Educators Discuss Adult Literacy

2010 March 16
story by Andrew Clark

Though many strides have been made in providing educational opportunities for adults, adult illiteracy still remains a major issue in this country, according to three prominent local educational figures.

The Boston Athenaeum

On March 11, the Boston Athenæum hosted a panel discussion featuring Wick Sloane,  Joanne Appleton Arnaud, and Linda Nathan, entitled, “Adult Literacy in the Digital Age,” the second program in the 2010 Civic Discourse series, Literacy and Democracy, presented by the College of Arts & Sciences at Suffolk University and the Boston Athenæum.

The discussion was moderated by James Tracy, headmaster of Cushing Academy and former visiting fellow in the Department of History at Yale University.

Each panelist offered a 10-minute presentation that discussed contemporary literacy issues and possible solutions, as well as personal experiences in aiding these problems. The presentations were followed by a question and answer session with the audience. read more…

Adult Literacy in the Digital Age

2010 March 9
by Nicole Vadnais

Thursday, March 11, 2010, the Boston Athenaeum together with the College of Arts and Sciences, Suffolk University present the second event in the 2010 Civic Discourse Series: Literacy and Democracy - Adult Literacy in the Digital Age.  The panel features Joanne Appleton Arnarud, Executive Director, First Literacy; Linda Nathan, founding Headmaster of the Boston Arts Academy; and Wick Sloane, Professor of Expository Writing, Bunker Hill Community College.  James Tracy, Headmaster of Cushing Academy serves as moderator.  To make reservations for this or any Civic Discourse event, please call 617-720-7600. read more…

Jonathan Kozol: Fix the Equity Crisis in Public Schools

2010 February 25

story by Andrew Clark and Sherri Miles

It may be over 50 years since the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision ended segregation within public schools, but according to renowned educator and writer Jonathan Kozol, this country still has miles to go to achieve equality within the education system.

Jonathan Kozol

Kozol, a former Rhodes Scholar and Harvard graduate, began his career as a teacher in 1964 teaching low-income students in Roxbury. Three years later, he published the National Book Award-winning Death at an Early Age: The Destruction of the Hearts and Minds of Negro Children in the Boston Public Schools. As a life-long teacher and advocate for educating all children, he was a natural choice to serve as the inaugural speaker for the 2010 Civic Discourse Series, Literacy and Democracy.

At the series kick-off event on Feb. 23, Joy and Justice: A Challenge to the Young to Serve the Children of the Poor, Kozol spoke to a sold-out crowd at the C. Walsh Theatre about the crisis of injustice currently facing school-aged children. read more…

Joy and Justice: A Challenge to the Young to Serve the Children of the Poor on Feb. 23

2010 February 22

Inaugural Lecture to 2010 Literacy & Democracy Series, Tuesday, February 23, 2010, 6:00 p.m., Suffolk University C. Walsh Theatre, 55 Temple Street

Jonathan Kozol’s first book, Death at an Early Age: The Destruction of the Hearts and Minds of Negro Children in the Boston Public Schools, won the National Book Award, and has sold over two million copies. His other books have given a voice to some of America’s most pressing issues: Illiterate America, Rachel and Her Children, Amazing Grace: The Lives of Children and the Conscience of a Nation, Savage Inequalities: Children in America’s Schools, and Ordinary Resurrections: Children in the Years of Hope. Kozol’s most recent book The Shame of the Nation, was his strongest work to date – a powerful piece exposing dramatic racial isolation in over 60 inner-city schools. Kozol is the founder of Education Action, a non-profit dedicated to grassroots organizing of teachers across the country who wish to help create a unified system of American public schools.

Note: Event is sold out.

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Mixed Media: A Lecture with Lewis Lapham on April 29th

2009 April 6
by smiles

Wednesday, April 29, 6:00 p.m. Boston Athenæum, 10½ Beacon Street

The media these days speak in so many forked and foreign tongues — film, book, video game, broadcast, blog — that without a dictionary or a concordance it’s hard to know who is saying what to whom. Over the last fifty years it has come to pass that on an examination paper at the end of a year’s course in the history of western civilization a sophomore at a high-end New England university can give as his answer: “The Greeks invented three kinds of columns — Corinthian, Doric, and Ironic. They also had myths. A myth is a female moth.”

How does a writer tell a straight story to readers who think in circles? Maybe by sending smoke signals.

LEWIS LAPHAM is the editor of Lapham’s Quarterly, the national correspondent for Harper’s Magazine, and the author of thirteen books, among them Money and Class in America, The Wish for Kings, Theater of War and, most recently, Pretensions to Empire. For Bloomberg Radio he hosts a weekly program, “The World in Time.”

A reception will follow this lecture. Reservations will be accepted starting April 16 at 617-720-7600.

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The Role of Television Journalism in a Democratic Society, Panel on April 6th

2009 March 25
by smiles

A panel discussion 6:00pm Monday, April 6th, 2009 at C. Walsh Theatre

Broadcast Journalists have been praised for breaking important news stories and criticized for breaking political candidates. Is the role of television news in our democracy to present politically neutral information or to provide informed opinion? 

Charles Kravitz, President of NECN, has had a distinguished career as a television news director at several stations in Boston. 

Dana Rosengard is assistant professor of Broadcast Journalism in the department of Communication and Journalism at Suffolk University.  Prior to his academic career, Dana was a producer for WCVB news. 

Robert Rosenthal is chair of the Department of Communication and Journalism at Suffolk University. He is an international consultant specializing in strategic communication, with a core emphasis on institutions subject to government regulation. A specialist in the field of political communication, Rosenthal is a frequent guest on radio talk shows and television newscasts. 

Reservations will be accepted starting March 20 at 617-720-7600.

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