Speakers for the 2012 Symposium

Keynote – The End of Wonder in the Age of Whatever

Michael Wesch, Coffman Chair for University Distinguished Teaching Scholars Associate Professor of Cultural Anthropology


Michael Wesch Michael Wesch

New media and technology present us with an overwhelming bounty of tools for connection, creativity, collaboration, and knowledge creation - a true "Age of Whatever" where anything seems possible. But any enthusiasm about these remarkable possibilities is immediately tempered by that other "Age of Whatever" - an age in which people feel increasingly disconnected, disempowered, tuned out, and alienated. Such problems are especially prevalent in education, where the Internet (which must be the most remarkable creativity and collaboration machine in the history of the world) often enters our classrooms as a distraction device. It is not enough to merely deliver information in traditional fashion to make our students "knowledgeable." Nor is it enough to give them the skills to learn, making them "knowledge-able." Knowledge and skills are necessary, but not sufficient. What is needed more than ever is to inspire our students to wonder, to nurture their appetite for curiosity, exploration, and contemplation, to help them attain an insatiable appetite to ask and pursue big, authentic, and relevant questions, so that they can harness and leverage the bounty of possibility all around us and rediscover the "end" or purpose of wonder, and stave off the historical end of wonder.


Dubbed "the explainer" by Wired magazine, Michael Wesch is a cultural anthropologist exploring the effects of new media on society and culture. After two years studying the implications of writing on a remote indigenous culture in the rain forest of Papua New Guinea, he has turned his attention to the effects of social media and digital technology on global society. His videos on culture, technology, education, and information have been viewed by millions, translated in over 15 languages, and are frequently featured at international film festivals and major academic conferences worldwide. Wesch has won several major awards for his work, including a Wired Magazine Rave Award, the John Culkin Award for Outstanding Praxis in Media Ecology, and he was recently named an Emerging Explorer by National Geographic. He has also won several teaching awards, including the 2008 CASE/Carnegie U.S. Professor of the Year for Doctoral and Research Universities.

Plenary – Teaching: Quo Vadis?

Robert G. Bringle, Ph.D. Chancellor's Professor of Psychology, Philanthropic Studies and University College Executive Director, IUPUI Center for Service and Learning Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis


Robert G. Bringle, Ph.D. Robert G. Bringle, Ph.D.

We know what produces deep learning. But post-secondary teaching has not changed much based on the science of learning. Service learning is not only about enhancing courses with a community service component but also about a different paradigm for instruction that, along with other powerful pedagogies, can improve all instruction. In addition, service learning is a wolf in sheep's clothing that has far-reaching implications for higher education.


Dr. Bringle has been involved in the development, implementation, and evaluation of educational programs directed at talented undergraduate psychology majors, high school psychology teachers, first-year students, and the introductory psychology course. As a social psychologist, he is widely known for his research on jealousy in close relationships. His work as executive director of the IUPUI Center for Service and Learning since 1994 has resulted in an expansion of the number of service learning courses, a curriculum for faculty development, a Community Service Scholars program, an America Reads tutoring program, and a HUD Community Outreach Partnership Center. The IUPUI service learning program was ranked 8th best in the nation among all colleges and universities in 2002 and has been listed among the best programs each subsequent year. IUPUI received a Presidential Award in 2006 as part of the first President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. His scholarly interests for service learning, community service, and civic engagement include student and faculty attitudes and motives, educational outcomes, institutionalization, and assessment and measurement issues.

Bringle has published With Service in Mind: Concepts and Models for Service-Learning in Psychology (edited with D. Duffy), Colleges and Universities as Citizens (edited with R. Games & E. Malloy), The Measure of Service Learning: Research Scales to Assess Student Experiences (with M. Phillips and M. Hudson) and International Service Learning: Conceptual Frameworks and Research (with J. Hatcher & S. Jones). He was awarded the School of Science Teaching Award in 1994, the SOS Service Award in 1995, the Thomas Ehrlich Faculty Award for Service Learning in 1998, the Brian Hiltunen Faculty Award from Indiana Campus Compact in 2000, the W. George Pinnell Award for Service from Indiana University in 2003, and the IUPUI Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching. In 2004, he was recognized at the 4th Annual International Service-Learning Research Conference for his outstanding contributions to the service-learning research field. He consults with other campuses, on national initiatives, and internationally (South Africa, Macedonia, Mexico, Egypt, Ireland, Malaysia) on issues related to community service and civic engagement. He was Volunteer of the Year in 2001 for Boys and Girls Clubs of Indianapolis. The University of the Free State, South Africa, awarded him an honorary doctorate in 2004 for his scholarly work on civic engagement and service learning. In 2008, Dr. Bringle was recognized as one of the most prominent alumni scientists by his alma mater, Hanover College.

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