“Most of the lectures on campus are terrible.”
That’s what José Antonio Bowen told the Chronicle of Higher Education in an interview a few years ago. Bowen will present the 2013 Dr. Paul G. Bulger Lecture at Buffalo State on Wednesday, October 30 at 4:00 p.m. at the Performing Arts Center at Rockwell Hall.
The lecture is free and open to the public.
Bowen elaborated on his ideas about most college lectures in his well-received book, Teaching Naked: How Moving Technology Out of Your College Classroom Will Improve Student Learning. In his presentation, "Teaching and the Future of Education," Bowen will argue that technology best serves higher education when students use it outside of the classroom—allowing professors to create classrooms where professors and students interact. Only in this way can higher education move toward classrooms in which students “are discussing, doing, and cooperating.”
“Higher education should not be about the transmission of knowledge,” said Kevin Railey, associate provost and dean of the Graduate School. “What higher education can and should do is explain, show, and model how to think through complex problems, identify fallacies in arguments, listen carefully and respectfully, and, finally, increase students’ engagement with complex ways of thinking.”
Railey, who nominated Bowen as the speaker for the prestigious Bulger lecture, heard him at a conference. “Bowen is a very engaging speaker,” said Railey. “And I thought he was perfect for the Year of the Teacher because he celebrates teaching—the best kind of teaching.”
Bowen argues that colleges and universities are no longer needed for transmitting knowledge. “The new classroom is a flat screen,” he wrote in Teaching Naked. “…Outside of traditional higher education, online resources have been transformative…online learning challenges higher education’s traditional course delivery model and its ability to increase tuition.”
“In other words, if higher education doesn’t change, it will go the way of the dinosaurs,” said Railey. “Even secondary education must respond to the opportunities that technology offers.”
The Dr. Paul G. Bulger Lecture was established to be “a public lecture by renowned scholars or experts in fields of knowledge that are germane to the goals of the college.” The lecture, established by the Buffalo State Foundation, honors Bulger, Buffalo State’s third president. He served from 1959 to 1967, a time of explosive growth in the number of students, programs, and even buildings on campus. Bulger lecturers have included Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Halberstam and activist Coretta Scott King.
Bowen, currently dean of the Meadows School of the Arts and music professor at Southern Methodist University in Texas, began his academic career as the director of jazz ensembles at Stanford University in 1982. In addition to his scholarly interests in higher education, technology, and pedagogy, he has an impressive record of achievement in musicology, including nomination for the Pulitzer Prize in musical composition. He is an editor for a six-CD set, The Smithsonian Anthology of Jazz.
“Bowen shows how to use technology in a way that allows educators to engage students and create thinkers,” said Railey.