Cathy N. Davidson Delivers Winter 2013 Katz Lecture on Future of Higher Education, Digital Learning

In one generation, we have undergone tremendous changes in how we communicate, socialize, learn, do business, and engage in civic life. We rely on non-experts for information on sites such as Wikipedia and take the advice of strangers on everything from restaurant recommendations to health care. Interactive digital technologies have changed how we learn in everyday life far faster than they’ve changed the structures, motives, and metrics of our educational systems. Until now.


According to Winter 2013 Katz Lecturer Cathy N. Davidson, we are on the threshold of a monumental transformation in higher education, one aimed at the needs and expectations of the next generation of resilient, connected, self-paced, peer-inspired, creative, multidisciplinary, and multicultural global learners.


Davidson explores this subject in her lecture, titled “Now You See It: Why the Future of Higher Education Demands a Paradigm Shift.” It takes place in Kane 210 on Thursday, Feb. 21, at 7:00 p.m.


Recently appointed by President Obama to the National Council on the Humanities, Davidson teaches at Duke University, where she co-directs the PhD Lab in Digital Knowledge and is the Ruth F. DeVarney Professor of English and the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies. She has served as Duke University’s first Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies and helped to create the Program in Information Science + Information Studies and the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience. In 2002, Davidson co-founded, with David Theo Goldberg, HASTAC (Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Advanced Collaboratory), and in July 2012, she was named the first educator on the six-person Board of Directors of the Mozilla Foundation.


A past president of the American Studies Association and former editor of American Literature, Davidson is the author of more than twenty books, most recently Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn (2011). Other works include Revolution and the Word: The Rise of the Novel in America (1986) and, with Linda Wagner-Martin, The Oxford Book of Women’s Writing in the United States (1995).


She is also the first person invited to be a Katz Lecturer at the UW for a second time.


While at the UW, Davidson will also participate in a colloquium at the Simpson Center focused on learning, teaching, and digital knowledge. It takes place Friday, Feb. 22, from 9:30-11:00 a.m. in Communications 202. She will spend the remainder of the day at UW Bothell where she will meet with faculty, staff, and community partners working on digital forms of research, teaching, and engagement.


A microseminar for graduate students, “Learning and Teaching in the Digital Age,” is being held Winter Quarter in conjunction with Davidson’s visit. Facilitated by Simpson Center Director Kathleen Woodward, the course frames Davidson’s lecture and related work. Read more about the microseminar.


The Katz Distinguished Lectures in the Humanities Series recognizes scholars in the humanities and emphasizes the role of the humanities in liberal education. The series is named after Solomon Katz, who served in many capacities for 53 years at the UW—as professor and chair of History, dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, and provost & vice president for Academic Affairs.


Josiah Ober (Political Science and Classics, Stanford University) will deliver the final Katz Lecture of the year on April 16, 2013. Victoria Lawson (Geography, University of Washington) and Shu-mei Shih (Asian Languages & Cultures, Comparative Literature, and Asian American Studies, University of California, Los Angeles) delivered Katz Lectures this fall.


All Katz Lectures are free and open to the public. Learn more about the Katz series.




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