This week, Hobart and William Smith President Mark D. Gearan and fellow members of the Talloires Network Steering Committee are discussing the network’s ongoing efforts to strengthen the civic roles and responsibilities of higher education across the globe. Gearan, a founding member of the international association of 300 institutions on six continents, has served as chair of the steering committee since 2011.
Discussions kicked off with a talk “Global Movement of Universities Dismantling the Ivory Tower,” followed by steering committee meetings on Wednesday morning in New York City. Members are also reflecting on initiatives of the past year, and discussing the proposed workplan and budget for 2013-2014.
In 2012-2013, the organization added 51 new members in 24 different countries: Botswana, Burkina Faso, Canada, Colombia, Ethiopia, Ghana, Greece, Haiti, Ireland, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Laos, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Rwanda, South Africa, Spain, Tajikistan, Uganda, Ukraine and the United States. The Network now has members in 71 countries. Among the goals for 2013-2014 are to expand this network by an additional 100 new members.
The Talloires Network intends to host a Global Conference at the end of 2014. Last summer, in partnership with the Kettering Foundation, Talloires co-hosted a three-day workshop on “Innovations in Democratic Engagement: Universities and Their Civic Mission around the World.” Sixteen participants from 12 countries participated in this critical exchange about institutional mission, community partnerships, civic education, service-learning, public scholarship and faculty incentives.
One of our nation’s leading experts on the intersection of higher education and civic engagement, Gearan has held numerous leadership roles in public service. As the past chair of the Board of Directors of both National Campus Compact and the Corporation for National and Community Service, he has supported civic engagement activities in the United States.
Gearan is the co-chair of the National Advisory Board on Public Service at Harvard College and serves on the Presidential Advisory Group for the NCAA. He is the past chair of the Board of Directors of the Annapolis Group, a nationwide consortium of liberal arts colleges. He is a Board member of the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities and a former Board member of The Partnership for Public Service. With extensive credentials in public policy and service, he served as Director of the Peace Corps and was Assistant to the President, Director of Communications and Deputy Chief of Staff in the White House.
Gearan is a former member of the White House Council for Community Solutions, a group of cross-sector leaders appointed by President Barack Obama to recommend collaborative solutions to increase civic engagement. Locally, he serves on the advisory councils of the Happiness House Foundation, Ontario ARC and the Geneva Community Center.