Education conference honors former dean
by Sarah R. Buchholz, Chronicle staff
he School of Education is celebrating its alumni and former dean Dwight W. Allen at a conference this weekend in the Lincoln Campus Center.
The event, entitled "A Marathon Conference: Today's Leaders Shaping Tomorrow's Future," is both a tribute to Allen and a venue to discuss critical issues facing educators. It is running from Oct. 18 to 20.
The term "marathon" refers to gatherings Allen organized during his tenure as dean of the School of Education (1968-1975), in which students, faculty, alumni, and guest speakers could engage jointly in an open-ended discussion, according to Michael Seppala, director of Development in the School of Education. The first marathon, in 1969, drew about 1,000 participants, he said.
"We resurrected the 'marathon' because it has a very strong familiarity with people who were here during the Dwight Allen era," he said. "This is an opportunity for us to recognize and engage some of our prominent alumni and to honor Dwight. To have these people associated with the School of Education is very important. These people are the new Dwights."
Cynthia Shepard Perry, '72, was scheduled to kick off the conference as the Eleanor Bateman Alumni Scholar in Residence with a 5 p.m. public reception and book signing on the 11th floor of the Campus Center. Perry is the author of "All Things Being Equal: One Woman's Journey," which chronicles her path to the U.S. ambassadorship to Sierre Leone. She also has served as ambassador to Burundi and as the chief of education and human resources in the African Bureau of the U.S. Agency for International Development. She was appointed as the U.S. director of the African Development Bank in July and serves as honorary consul general of Senegal.
Scheduled Oct. 19 and 20 events include poster sessions by current faculty and students, marathon sessions led by prominent alumni and faculty, an address by Allen and a reception and dinner to honor him.
Allen is professor of urban development at Old Dominion University (ODU) and is principle investigator of a $1.3 million federal project that links teacher training at ODU with schools in Bruns-wick County, Va. He co-authored "American Schools: The $100 Billion Challenge," with William H. Cosby, '72, '76, and he received this year's Outstanding Faculty Award from the State Council of Higher Education in Virginia.
Among the topics being explored are the history of instructional technology; the state of public education; teacher-led school renewal; educational efforts in Africa; shared virtual environments for learning; school violence; health-care for children; and classroom gender bias.
In addition to Perry and Allen, prominent participants in the conference include David C. Berliner, dean of the College of Education at Arizona State University; Kenneth H. Blanchard, who taught at the School of Education 1970-74, author of the best-seller, "The One-Minute Manager"; Anne L. Bryant, '78, executive director of the National School Boards Association; Rudolph F. Crew, '73, '78, director of district reform initiatives at the Stupski Family Foundation; Christopher J. Dede, '72, Timothy E. Wirth Professor of Learning Technologies at Harvard's Graduate School of Education; Steven M. Gluckstern, '74, chairman of the board of and a director at Zurich Scudder Investments, Inc.; Lynne C. Miller, '75, executive director of the Southern Maine Partnership, which includes 33 school districts and three higher education institutions; and Robert L. Woodbury, interim dean at the Edmund S. Muskie School of Public Service at the University of Southern Maine.