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Published: Monday, 8/19/2013


UT to start new lecture series in fall

Khan Academy founder to be 1st speaker Sept. 17

Khan Khan

The University of Toledo will premier a new distinguished lecture series this fall.

The Jesup Scott Honors College Distinguished Lecture series will include four speakers this year, led off by Salman Khan, founder of the Khan Academy, a leader in massive online open courses. Scott Scarborough, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, said the lecture series is part of UT’s strategy to boost its honors college and attract more students who are well-prepared to the university.

The college was recently rebranded the Jesup W. Scott Honors College, after the editor of The Blade who founded the University of Toledo in 1872.

The university plans to increase enrollment in the college and push students toward experiential learning. It is renovating campus facilities to handle the expansion.

Lecture series help spark debates and ideas on college campuses, Mr. Scarborough said, and was one of his most memorable experiences as a student.

“If we were going to aspire to be a first-class university,” he said, “we needed to have something like this, because our competitors do.”

Two lectures will be held in the fall and two in the spring.

Mr. Khan will speak on Sept. 17. His free YouTube sessions on a variety of subjects started as tutorials for family members and spread across the Web; there are now thousands of courses done by Khan Academy, and millions have viewed the lessons.

Mr. Scarborough said the university is experimenting with classroom innovations that use Internet-based resources, making Mr. Khan’s appearance timely.

“He seemed to be the perfect person to lead off an lecture series,” he said.

The next speaker will be James Carville, a political analyst and Democratic strategist who worked for former President Bill Clinton. Mr. Scarborough said the series will present speakers with a variety of viewpoints and ideologies, and expects prominent Republicans will be featured.

Other speakers this school year are Richard Rumelt, the Harry and Elsa Kunin Chair in Business and Society in the UCLA Anderson School of Management, and Michael Crowe, president of Arizona State University.

Several UT colleges already hold lecture series.

The lectures will be held in the newly renovated Doermann Theatre in University Hall.

The theater has a capacity of about 600, but overflow space would be made available if the events sell out.

Tickets for students cost $10 and $25 for nonstudents. Overflow seats would be free. Mr. Scarborough said the university is paying the speakers a combined $100,000.

Contact Nolan Rosenkrans at: nrosenkrans@theblade.com, 419-724-6086, or on Twitter @NolanRosenkrans.

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