Johns Hopkins President Ronald Daniels to speak at ASU event

Daniels will present the keynote lecture at the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership’s annual spring conference

Ronald J. Daniels, president of Johns Hopkins University, is pictured in an outdoor corridor, smiling at the camera with his hands together.

Johns Hopkins University President Ronald J. Daniels


Ronald J. Daniels, president of Johns Hopkins University, will visit Arizona State University to lecture at the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership’s annual spring conference, this year titled "Ideological Conformity on Campus and in American Society," to be held on the Tempe campus this Friday and Saturday. Daniels will present the keynote address “Purposeful Pluralism: The Future of the University in American Democracy” from 5 to 6:15 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 24.

“President Daniels is the most prominent higher education leader to raise the alarm about the lack of serious civic education in most American colleges and universities. We’re delighted he agreed to join our conference discussion about civil disagreement and pluralism on campus,” said Paul Carrese, founding director and professor at the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership.

Daniels has focused on strengthening the relationship between education and research and broadened student support and access to higher education. In his 2021 book "What Universities Owe Democracy," Daniels discusses the vital but often overlooked role that institutions of higher education play in modern-day democracy.

“'What Universities Owe Democracy' argues that all university and college graduates must take at least one rigorous course in American civics and the principles of liberal democracy, but also that our campuses must offer students robust experiences of public discourse and civil disagreement about important issues,” said Carrese. “The keynote address by President Daniels will address what he calls 'purposeful pluralism' as a higher education mission — providing experiences for students to observe, and participate in, reasonable debate and disagreement across the divergent views Americans hold about many political and social topics.”

Each year, the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership hosts an annual conference to invite scholars, prominent writers and speakers to come together each spring to discuss the school’s annual speaker series topic.

“The School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership always features a range of views in the Civic Discourse Project, and our annual conferences are a concentrated showcase of intellectual diversity and civil disagreement. This year’s conference discussing whether there is a culture of censorship and conformity in higher education, and more broadly in American discourse, features prominent and thoughtful speakers who will shed more light than heat even as they disagree about the diagnosis, and possible remedies, for concerns about whether colleges and universities are failing to promote robust inquiry and debate,” said Carrese.

Daniels will be one of several prominent speakers participating in the conference. Christine Emba of the Washington Post will serve as a panelist on the "Feminism and Gender Orthodoxy" panel with Boston College Professor Shep Melnick and Wall Street Journal columnist Abigail Shrier. The panel will debate feminism, sexuality and sexual identity in America’s elite institutions.

Heather Mac Donald from the Manhattan Institute will speak alongside Claremont McKenna Professor Jon Shields and University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Professor Joshua Dunn on the "Righting the Left-Leaning American Professoriate" panel, which will discuss the evidence (or lack thereof) of discrimination against conservatives in hiring, tenure and promotion in academia.

The conference runs the morning of Friday, Feb. 24, through the afternoon of Saturday, Feb. 25, in the Ventana Ballroom, Memorial Union 241, and is free and open to the public. The complete agenda and RSVP details can be found here.

The Civic Discourse Project is co-sponsored by the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law at ASU.

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