The Inauguration of Dr. Merodie A. Hancock

Three Voices That Shape Our Vision: An Inauguration Celebration Webinar Series

About the Series

A special webinar series will be held throughout the month of March, leading up to the inauguration of President Merodie Hancock at the 2014 Empire State College All College Conference. Members of the college community and colleagues outside of the college are welcome to participate in this conversation.

The free and public webinars are offered in Blackboard Collaborate. Registration is not required.

Additional information, including instructions for accessing the webinars, will be available in the coming weeks. Questions may be directed to

The planning for the webinar series is by the Revisioning Adult Higher Education webinar series planning group: Katherine Jelly, Karen LaBarge, Tom Mackey, Alan Mandell, Gina Torino and Tina Wagle.

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About the Speakers

photo of Saleem Badat Saleem Badat, vice chancellor, Rhodes University, South Africa (presentation available)

Saleem Badat holds bachelor’s and honors degrees in the social sciences from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, a certificate in higher education and science policy from Boston University and a Doctor of Philosophy in Sociology from the University of York, U.K., as well as honorary doctorates from the University of the Free State and the University of York. He also has been a recipient of the Inyathelo Exceptional Philanthropy Award.

After a decade at the University of Western Cape, as director of the education policy unit, in 1999 he became the first CEO of the Council on Higher Education, which advises the minister of higher education and training on higher-education policy issues. In June 2006, he became vice chancellor of Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa.

Badat is the author of “Black Man, You Are on Your Own” (2010) and “Black Student Politics, Higher Education & Apartheid” (2002), co-author of “National Policy: a Regional Response in South African Higher Education” (2004) and co-editor of “Apartheid Education and Popular Struggles in South Africa” (1990). Jacana Press (2012) and Brill (2013) recently published his new book, “The Forgotten People: Political Banishment under Apartheid.” He has contributed to books, scholarly journals and magazines, directed and authored various policy reports on South African higher education and speaks at conferences around the world.

Badat has served on the executive committee of Higher Education South Africa and as chair of the Association of African Universities Scientific Committee on Higher Education.

He is currently chairperson of Higher Education South Africa (2014-2015), a member of the Board of the Centre for Higher Education Transformation; a member of the Carnegie 3 Study on Poverty and Inequality in South Africa Strategy Group and Think Tank, a trustee of the Harold Wolpe Memorial Trust and Josie Woods Trust and a member of the Advisory Board of Nemato Change a Life (Port Alfred).

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photo of Jim Hall James W. Hall, founding president, SUNY Empire State College (presentation available)

James W. Hall, founding president emeritus and university professor of social sciences emeritus at Empire State College, led the college from 1971-1997, and is also chancellor emeritus of Antioch University (1998-2002). Hall pioneered educational innovations that promoted access to learning for adults, such as assessing prior college-level learning gained through experience and work, contract learning and narrative evaluation, professors as mentors, flexible calendars, individual degree program planning, technology in distance education and interdisciplinary curricular innovation. He served concurrently as SUNY vice chancellor for educational technology (2003-2006) and, for one year, as visiting president of SUNY College at Old Westbury. He also held posts as SUNY’s associate university dean for arts and cultural affairs and assistant vice chancellor for policy and planning.

Hall holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in American civilization from the University of Pennsylvania, earned as a Danforth Foundation graduate fellow. His BMus was awarded by Bucknell University and MSacMus from Union Theological Seminary. He taught history at the University at Albany and music at Cedar Crest College. He has served on boards at the American Council on Education, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, the Association of American Colleges and Universities, the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning and the International Council for Open and Distance Education; and as a trustee at the Ernest L. Boyer Center at Messiah College, Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government, Monmouth University, Fielding Institute University and the United States Open University (British Open University).

Hall’s extensive writings include, “New Colleges for New Students” (1981), “In Opposition to Core Curriculum: Alternative Models for Undergraduate Education” (1991) and “Forging the American Character” (1971). He holds honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degrees from Granite State College: University System of New Hampshire, DePaul University, Thomas Edison State College and SUNY Empire State College.

Additionally, he has served as a consultant in accreditation, educational reform and university administration, chairing 14 regional accreditation commission teams in the United States, Hong Kong and Great Britain; and led a United States Agency for International Development team in West Africa.

Currently, Hall serves as principal consultant for the Presidents’ Forum at Excelsior College.

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photo of Elizabeth Minnich Elizabeth Minnich, senior scholar, Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) [presentation available]

Elizabeth Minnich is currently senior scholar at the Association of American Colleges and Universities in Washington, D.C. and a professor at Queens University of Charlotte, N.C.

She earned her Ph.D. in philosophy from The New School, where she was teaching assistant for Hannah Arendt. She wrote her dissertation on John Dewey and has continued to work on issues of justice, equality, democracy and education, with particular focus on inclusive and engaged scholarship, curricula, teaching and institutional practices.

Minnich has served as chair of the North Carolina Humanities Council and on the boards for the Center for Medical and Professional Ethics at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, UNC Charlotte’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the Center for Humans & Nature. Additionally, she has chaired the committee on public philosophy for the American Philosophical Association, is a member of the committee on the status of black philosophers and was senior scholar for Elon University’s Institute on Teaching Thinking.

Minnich has been a dean and/or director and taught at The New School, Sarah Lawrence, Hollins and Barnard colleges; a dean at the Union Institute & University’s graduate college for interdisciplinary arts and sciences; on faculty at Queens University; and on a Fulbright Fellowship at Maharajah Sayajirao University in India. Special appointments have included professor of philosophy and the humanities, the Hartley Burr Alexander Chair, Scripps College; visiting scholar, Scholars & Seminars Program, the Getty Institute for The History of Art and The Humanities; Thomas P. Johnson Distinguished visiting professor, Rollins College; and Whichard visiting distinguished professor of humanities and women’s studies, East Carolina University.

Minnich’s published works include “Transforming Knowledge” (2004), which received the Ness Award, and “The Fox in The Henhouse: How Privatization Threatens Democracy” (2005), with Si Kahn.  Her papers and essays appear in anthologies, textbooks, journals and magazines, and she serves on five academic journals’ editorial boards. Speaking and consulting have taken her to hundreds of colleges, universities, independent schools and professional academic associations around the world and she has worked with the Ford Foundation, Kettering Foundation, National Endowment for the Humanities, Spencer Foundation and Carnegie Corporation, among others.

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