Hobart and William Smith Colleges President Mark D. Gearan has been named chair of the Talloires Network Steering Committee. He assumed office on June 16 at the conclusion of the 2011 Talloires Network Global Leaders Conference in Madrid, Spain. The Talloires Network is an international association of institutions committed to strengthening the civil roles and social responsibilities of higher education. Gearan succeeds President of Tufts University Larry Bacow, who served as the chair of the Talloires Network Steering Committee since the Network was established in 2005.
“Mark was a founding member of the Network and brings a wealth of experience in the field of civic engagement. I am confident that the Network will experience tremendous growth and success under Mark’s leadership,” Bacow said when announcing his successor.
Gearan, who headed the Peace Corps before accepting the HWS presidency in 1999, is also chair of the Board of Directors of the Corporation for National and Community Service, and serves on the boards of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities and The Partnership of Public Service. He is also a member of the Leadership Council of ServiceNation. He is the past chair of both the Annapolis Group and Campus Compact, a Talloires Network partner organization that is the leading advocate for civic engagement in U.S. higher education.
The 2011 conference celebrated the fifth anniversary of the founding of the Network in Talloires, France in 2005. Hobart and William Smith were among the original 29 signatories to the Talloires Declaration on the Civil Roles and Social Responsibilities of Higher Education, the result of the first conference convened by Tufts University. All signatories of the Declaration have committed their institutions to creating a framework for enlarging, supporting and rewarding good practice in civic engagement and social responsibility. They have agreed to apply academic standards of excellence to community engagement and encourage education for active citizenship at all levels.
The Network is currently comprised of 215 university presidents, rectors and vice-chancellors from 60 countries. The international conference, titled “Building the engaged university, moving beyond the ivory tower,” explored how to deepen the impact of community engagement in the higher education sector. Participants debated developments and issues around university engagement and shared best practices.