Programs and Events


The Future of the University

David Krakauer, Director, Wisconsin Institute for Discovery
8:00pm, Thursday, April 17 | The Commons

The modern model of the university has been largely unchanged for over a century: comprised of disciplines associated with departments and schools, teaching in lecture halls and accreditation by degree. Rapidly advancing computer technologies, informative large data sets, surprising insights from educational research, and new economic realities are forcing us to rethink the standard model. The practical call for true interdisciplinary work to meet pressing societal challenges, combined with deep structural impediments to building partnerships that span the public and private domains, are accelerating the call for change.

Krakauer will discuss a few earlier attempts to address these challenges, and then focus on the work of The Wisconsin Institute for Discovery, a laboratory for exploring the future of research and education within the ecosystem of a large research university.

Krakauer is the Co-Director of the Center for Complexity and Collective Computation and the Director of the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery. He is also Professor of Genetics at UW Madison and External Professor at the Santa Fe Institute. His research focuses on the evolutionary history of information processing mechanisms in biology and culture.


Dare to Design the University of the Future

10:00am Friday, April 18 | The Commons

David Krakauer, Director, Wisconsin Institute for Discovery
Richard De George, University Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, Russian & East European Studies, and Business Administration
Mabel Rice, Fred and Virginia Merrill Distinguished Professor of Advanced Studies, Speech-Language-Hearing
Lisa Wolf-Wendel, Professor of Higher Education and Coordinator of the Higher Education Master's Degree Program in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies
Moderated by Sara Thomas Rosen, Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, Professor of Linguistics

The Commons invites the university community to participate in this dialogue about the future of universities. KU Professors Richard De George, Mabel Rice, and Lisa Wolf-Wendel will share insights that compel us to think about what a university needs, and David Krakauer will respond and share his observations from the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery. The discussion will be moderated by Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, Sara Thomas Rosen.

Audience members are encouraged to bring ideas and consider: What does a 21st-century university need? What should it do? How should it do these things? And how might it adapt the current model?


with Photographer Mark Klett

1:00pm Friday, April 18 | The Commons

Sponsored by the Hallmark Corporate Foundation, the Department of Design, The Commons, the Kansas Geological Survey, the Franklin D. Murphy Lecture Fund, the History of Art Department, and the Spencer Museum of Art

Mark Klett photographs the intersection of cultures, landscapes, and time. His background includes working as a geologist before turning to photography. He established his artistic perspective on the American West landscape as the chief photographer for the Rephotographic Survey Project (1977-79), which re-photographed Western sites first captured by surveyors in late 1800s. Klett has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Buhl Foundation, and the Japan/U.S. Friendship Commission. His work has been exhibited and collected both nationally and internationally for over 30 years and is held in over 80 museum collections worldwide. He is the author of fifteen books, including the recently published Reconstructing the View (University of California Press, 2012, with Rebecca Senf and Byron Wolfe), Wendover: The Half-Life or History (Radius Press, 2011, with William Fox), Saguaros (Radius Press, 2007, with Gregory McNamee), and Yosemite in Time (Trinity University Press, 2005, with Rebecca Solnit and Byron Wolfe). Mark Klett is Regents’ Professor of Art at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona.

Klett will lead the event with a short introduction to his recent work, after which, the audience is invited to ask questions of the artist. Audience members are encouraged to attend Klett's Hallmark Lecture at 6:00pm on Thursday, April 17 at the Spencer Museum of Art. Audience members should familiarize themselves with Klett's work prior to Coffee @ The Commons, as the dialogue between artist and audience will comprise the majority of the event.

The event is presented in conjunction with Data & Democracy.


On Ethnology, Anthropology, and Supernatural Disease in Haiti

Jacques Jovin, PhD; Dean of the school of Ethnology at the State University of Haiti
5:00pm - 7:30pm, Monday, April 21 | The Commons

Sponsored by Department of Anthropology, Department of African & African-American Studies; Center for Latin American & Caribbean Studies; the KU Libraries, the Kansas Biological Survey, The Commons

To inaugurate a new stage of the KU - Haiti relationship, Dr. Jovin, will speak about his institution, the groups of this new institutional collaboration, and his research. The event will feature a performance by Cucharada.


The Arab Spring and Its Surprises

Asef Bayat, Catherine and Bruce Bastian Professor of Global and Transnational Studies and Professor of Sociology and Middle Eastern studies at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
7:30pm Thursday, April 24 | The Commons

Sponsored by the University Honors Program

Before joining the University of Illinois, Bayat taught at the American University in Cairo for many years and served as the director of the International Institute for the Study of Islam in the Modern World (ISIM) holding the Chair of Society and Culture of the Modern Middle East at Leiden University, The Netherlands. His research areas range from social movements and social change, to religion and society, Islam and the modern world, and urban space and politics. His recent books include Making Islam Democratic: Social Movements and the Post-Islamist Turn (Stanford University Press, 2007); Being Young and Muslim: Cultural Politics in the Global South and North (with Linda Herrera) (Oxford University Press, 2010); Life as Politics: How Ordinary People Change the Middle East (Stanford University Press, 2013. 2nd edition); and Post-Islamism: The Changing Faces of Political Islam (Oxford University Press, 2013).


David Rokeby
April 28-May 1 | The Commons

Sponsored by The Commons

David Rokeby is an installation artist based in Toronto, Canada. He has been creating and exhibiting since 1982. For the first part of his career he focused on interactive pieces that directly engage the human body, or that involve artificial perception systems. In the last decade, his practice has expanded to included video, kinetic and static sculpture. His work has been performed / exhibited in shows across Canada, the United States, Europe and Asia. For more information about David Rokeby, visit his website:

Installation Viewing

Very Nervous System (1986-1990)
4:00-5:30pm Tuesday, April 29 | The Commons

Artist Talk

5:30pm Tuesday, April 29 | The Commons

Coffee @ The Commons

10:00am Wednesday, April 30 | The Commons

Faculty Roundtable

How Do Research Questions Develop Across Disciplines? 3:00pm Wednesday, April 30 | The Commons


Pre-Hispanic Migrations in Central America: What we think we know and what we wish we knew

John Hoopes, Professor, Archaeology; Director, Global Indigenous Nations Studies Program
12:00 - 1:00pm Friday, May 2 | The Commons

Sponsored by the Department of Anthropology

This brown-bag series addresses the causes and consequences of Human Migration and will explore human migration from social, economic, demographic and biological perspectives.


You say border militarization like that's a bad thing: Tracing a concept's migration 1985-2012

Peter Haney, Assistant Director, Latin American & Caribbean Studies
12:00 - 1:00pm Friday, May 9 | The Commons

Sponsored by the Department of Anthropology

This brown-bag series addresses the causes and consequences of Human Migration and will explore human migration from social, economic, demographic and biological perspectives.