This fall semester was the inaugural run of Auburn University’s Critical Conversations Speaker Series.
The University has just announced the distinguished scholars and thought leaders who will continue the series into spring of 2018.
Robert Shibley, executive director of Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, or FIRE, will kick off the series on Feb. 13.
Additional speakers include Reshma Saujani, author and founder and CEO of Girls Who Code; Peter Wood, president of the National Association of Scholars; and New York Times columnist and best-selling author Frank Bruni.
The speakers represent diverse perspectives on topics including free speech, women, diversity in STEM and intellectual diversity.
“Given the success of the fall series, we are excited to add these important voices to the conversation,” said Taffye Benson Clayton, Auburn University vice president and associate provost for inclusion and diversity. “While the primary goal of the series is to highlight the value of diverse discourse, the spring slate offers differing perspectives that provide an important balance to our fall speakers.”
Designed to foster a campus dialogue surrounding issues of free speech and intellectual and civil discourse, the series has engaged more than 2,000 members of the campus community since its kick off in early fall.
In its first semester, the series welcomed prominent scholars Cornel West and Robert George, and thought leaders Howard Ross, Barbara Pierce Bush and Jenna Bush Hager and Derald Wing Sue.
“From the beginning, our goal has been to create a signature speaker series that advances campus education and increases engagement around topics of diversity and inclusion science,” said Benson Clayton. “To see so many members of our campus embrace these opportunities for dialogue demonstrates the true impact of the series.”
The fall series will conclude Nov. 28 with political strategist Donna Brazile and veteran journalist Ann Compton. Scheduled for 5 p.m. in the Student Center ballroom, Brazile and Compton will participate in a moderated discussion on the topic of “Diverse Perspectives, Civil Discourse, and a Healthy Democracy.”