Academia's Emerging Crisis of Relevance and the Consequent Role of the Engaged Scholar

Thursday, December 7, 2017 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
ISSR LAB: E20 Machmer Hall
American universities are facing a crisis of relevance. While there are multiple reasons for this, one that deserves attention is the extent to which academic scholars do not see it as their role to engage in public and political discourse. Increased engagement is necessary in an emerging educational context where the caliber of public discourse has become degraded and social media is changing the nature of science and scientific discourse within society. Dr. Andrew Hoffman, Holcim (US) Professor of Sustainable Enterprise, University of Michigan, will discuss what we know and what we don't know about the evolving role of the engaged scholar. Why should academic scholars engage in public and political discourse? How can we structure a set of ground rules that could form what might be considered a handbook for public engagement? This talk will examine how we practice our craft, to what purpose, and to which audiences.


About Andrew Hoffman

Andrew Hoffman is the Holcim (US) Professor of Sustainable Enterprise at the University of Michigan; a position that holds joint appointments in the Management & Organizations department at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business and the Sustainable Systems group at the School of Environment and Sustainability.  Professor Hoffman's research uses organizational behavior models and theories to understand the cultural and institutional aspects of environmental issues for organizations.  He has published over 100 articles/book chapters, as well as 14 books, which have been translated into five languages. In this work, he focuses on the processes by which environmental issues both emerge and evolve as social, political and managerial issues, including: the evolving nature of field level pressures related to environmental issues; the corporate responses that have emerged as a result of those pressures, particularly around the issue of climate change; the interconnected networks among non-governmental organizations and corporations and how those networks influence change processes within cultural and institutional systems; the social and psychological barriers to these change processes; and the underlying cultural values that are engaged when these barriers are overcome. He also writes about the role of academic scholars in public and political discourse. 
This talk is co-sponsored by ISSR, the Public Engagement Project, the Social Science and Environment Network, and the Isenberg School of Management