AAN Spring Symposium: Imagining the Future of the University and Academic Work

Date: April 19, 2021
Time: 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Location: Zoom Webinar

The Academic Advancement Network (AAN) hosts a symposium each spring on a topic of importance for higher education in general and MSU in particular. Ideas raised during the event help to frame AAN programming for the following academic year.

The theme of the AAN Spring Symposium is Imagining the Future of Academic Work. The past year has been framed by twin challenges and opportunities: the impact of the worldwide Covid pandemic and the mounting clarion call for actions that advance diversity, equity and inclusion on our campuses. In the face of these issues, academics are striving to make adjustments in how they teach, research, support learning, and connect with each other, their students, and the broader community. As we move forward in 2021, conversations are moving to the question of what life and work will be like once it is safe to be back on campus. While everyone yearns for opportunities to interact in person, many recognize that post-pandemic life is not likely to mean a return to life and work just as we knew it. In fact, disruption offers a pathway toward new possibilities, new patterns, and change.

In the context of the immense challenges and changes that have characterized the past year, the Spring Symposium will offer avenues for conversation in which we can “imagine the future of academic work.” We invite all who are faculty members, academic staff, and administrative leaders to reflect on what we have learned in the pandemic about ourselves and our work, what we want to retain, and what we want to change regarding academic work and the life of our university community going forward.

Dr. Shirley Malcom, senior advisor and director of SEA Change at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), will keynote the Symposium, emphasizing that a time of disruption is an opportune time for change. In her more than 40-year tenure at AAAS, Dr. Malcom has worked to improve the quality and increase access to education and careers in STEM as well as to enhance public science literacy. As a highly respected higher education leader, Dr. Malcom’s is known for the breadth of her knowledge of higher education, her commitment to equity, her keen analytical skills, and her insights about the past and the possible futures for higher education in the United States.

All MSU academics are invited to the Spring Symposium on Monday, April 19, from 1:00-3:00 PM EST Dr. Malcom will speak, followed by responses from three members of the MSU community and conversation among all present. In subsequent months, members of the MSU community will have further opportunities to pursue issues raised on April 19. As a community, we have a unique opportunity to envision and shape the future of academic work in new ways.


Pero G. Dagbovie
University Distinguished Professor, Department of History
Associate Dean, The Graduate School

Stephen Esquith
Dean, Residential College of Arts and Humanities

Leslie Gonzales
Associate Professor, Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education
College of Education

Kelly F. Millenbah
Senior Associate Dean, Director of Academic and Student Affairs
College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

Click here to see the live recording of this session or to view the PowerPoint presentation.