Former Chancellor David K. Scott to Lecture on Learning at UMass Amherst

AMHERST, Mass. - Former University of Massachusetts Amherst Chancellor David K. Scott will speak on "Multiple Modes of Inquiry and the Nature of Reality" on Wednesday, Feb. 14 at 6:30 p.m. in the Campus Center Auditorium at UMass Amherst.

During his tenure, Scott led many advances in infrastructure, development and communications strategy at UMass Amherst. Now he is positing the theory of holistic and integrative learning in his talk, which is the first in the spring semester’s Faculty Lecture Series hosted by Commonwealth Honors College.

Throughout history in all societies and cultures, three modes of inquiry have been present, says Scott. The aesthetic, the rational and the spiritual modes reflect the knowledge spheres of art, science and religion, respectively. The ultimate aim of these modes, he says, "is to understand the nature of reality as well as our place in and our relationship to the universe."

Currently education models rely on science-based inquiry, yet, he contends, "We need a wider spectrum of human intelligences to make sense of our world." Approaches to knowledge often reflect transformations in human history, such as the agricultural, scientific, industrial, and information revolutions. In his lecture, Scott will explore the notion that "we may be entering an integral age that builds on the different revolutions of the past."

Scott served as chancellor of UMass Amherst from 1993 to 2001. During his tenure, he led the campus through many important advances, including the successful completion of the first comprehensive capital campaign, attention to neglected infrastructure and new construction, the installation of network wiring across the campus, the development of a new communications and marketing strategy, and the formation of Commonwealth Honors College as well as a campus-wide initiative on community, diversity and social justice.

Scott championed the vision of an "integrative university" in which transdisciplinary knowledge and holistic learning communities would overcome the fragmentation of knowledge and support the development of wiser human beings to create a better world. Spirituality and contemplative practice in higher education were also explored.

Before coming to Amherst, Scott generated distinguished research in nuclear science at the University of Oxford and the University of California, Berkeley before holding professorship and provost titles at Michigan State University. He is now building on his academic administration and research career to explore integrative leadership and action in higher education. Most recently, Scott co-edited the book of essays Integrative Learning and Action: A Call to Wholeness.

Commonwealth Honors College introduced its Faculty Lecture Series during the spring 2011 semester in recognition of university faculty who have made significant contributions to research or creative activity. Through lectures that highlight academic excellence and scholarship, these faculty share their ideas and insight with honors students in sessions open to the campus community.

Many of the talks in the faculty lecture series relate to themes in "Ideas that Changed the World," the honors seminar in which honors students examine books and other works that have profoundly shaped the world we live in. The texts in this class and the related faculty lectures are meant to be exemplary for students who have the potential themselves to achieve outstanding things.

This semester’s series continues with three additional lectures:

• M.V. Lee Badgett, professor of economics and director of the Center for Public Policy and Administration, "Coming Out for Change," March 15, 6:30 p.m.

• Raymond Bradley, Distinguished University Professor, geosciences, April 4, 6:30 p.m., Student Union Ballroom

• Susan Jahoda, professor, art, architecture and art history, April 17, 6:30 p.m., Campus Center Auditorium