Drexel University sponsored the Global Interdependence Center’s conference on “The Roles of Higher Education in Competitiveness and Global Productivity” at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia on Oct. 9. Speakers addressed the relationship between U.S. higher education and how higher education can facilitate growth in U.S. competitiveness and global workforce preparation.
John Fry, president of Drexel University, spoke on a panel titled “What Higher Education Needs and Wants From Business and Government in the Next Five Years.” He was joined by Ann Kirschner, dean emerita and a professor at CUNY; and James O’Brien, senior vice president of university affairs and chief of staff, office of the president, at Arizona State University. The panel was moderated by Catherine L. Mann, chief economist at CitiGroup.
Fry suggested that the session title might be flipped. “The better question for us to ask today is what higher education can do for and with business and government. I say this from a particular frame: I just finished up my two-year term as chair of the Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce. After serving in that role, one of the conclusions I’ve had, with a few notable exceptions, is how absent higher education was from many of the deliberations of the larger business and civic community,” Fry said.
“In fact, I think we need to talk more about our civic responsibility as an institution of higher learning not only to students, who are our primary concern, but also to the various sectors of American society.”
Drexel LeBow’s Vibhas Madan, senior associate dean of academic programs, served as a co-organizer of the conference and also moderated the panel on “Economic Outlooks and Workforce Trends.”
The event also featured a keynote by Patrick Harker, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, along with presentations by Ali A. Houshmand, president of Rowan University, leaders from Arizona State University, the University of Nebraska, the Perry World House at the University of Pennsylvania, and others.
The Global Interdependence Center has posted video of the conference on its website.