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Home | Tag Archives: UTEP Centennial Lecture

Tag Archives: UTEP Centennial Lecture

President and CEO of Texas 2036 to Speak at UTEP Centennial Lecture

Margaret Spellings, the president and CEO of Texas 2036, will be the guest speaker at The University of Texas at El Paso’s Centennial Lecture. 

“The Future of Higher Education” lecture is free, open to the public and scheduled for  4 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020, in the Undergraduate Learning Center, Room 106, on the UTEP campus

In her role as president and CEO of Texas 2036, Spellings utilizes the vast knowledge and experience she has developed over an exceptional career in public service at the state and national level. Texas 2036 is a nonprofit organization building long-term, data-drien strategies to secure Texas’ continued prosperity as it approaches its bicentennial in 2036.

Spellings was president of the University of North Carolina from 2016 to 2019, overseeing the 17-campus system and leading the state’s public university into a new period of performance, affordability and growth with a focus on improving economic mobility, ensuring accountability and advancing the public good.

Before that, Spellings served as president of the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas, where she oversaw programs on economic opportunity, education reform, global health, and special initiatives on women’s leadership and military service.

From 2005 to 2009, Spellings served as U.S. Secretary of Education, leading the implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act, a bipartisan initiative to provide greater accountability for the education of 50 million U.S. public school students.

As secretary, she also launched the Commission on the Future of Higher Education, a plan to address challenges of access, affordability, quality and accountability in our nation’s colleges and universities.

Before serving as secretary, Spellings was White House domestic policy advisor from 2001 to 2005, overseeing the administration’s agenda on education, transportation, health, justice, housing and labor.

Spellings’ experience also includes serving as senior advisor to then-Governor George W. Bush; president and CEO of Margaret Spellings and Company, a Washington, D.C., consulting firm that provided strategic guidance on a variety of domestic policy matters; and as president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, advocating for more effective education and workforce training.

Spellings was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, but spent much of her childhood in Houston. She is a graduate of the University of Houston, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in political science.

She also received an honorary doctorate and Distinguished Alumni Award from the university in 2006. Spellings has two adult daughters and resides in Dallas.

For more info on the lecture series, visit The University of Texas at El Paso’s Centennial Lecture website.

Director of Engineering Ethics Organization delivers UTEP Centennial Lecture

Rosalyn W. Berne, Ph.D., visited El Paso for the first time Friday, December 13, 2019. She spent her inaugural stop in the Sun City discussing the intricacy of ethics in contemporary society as part of her Centennial Lecture address at The University of Texas at El Paso’s Undergraduate Learning Center.

Berne is an associate professor in the Department of Engineering and Society at the University of Virginia’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, as well as the director for the Center for Engineering Ethics and Society at the National Academy of Engineering. Her lecture, titled “Finding a Personal Ethics Compass in an Increasingly Unethical World,” brought into question the concepts upon which society bases its moral principles and the impact of contemporary social awareness on the future.

“What philosophy or institution has the capacity to guide us in making decisions about what is right and what is wrong as individuals?” Berne asked.

She presented Gallup poll data dating back to 2002, which gauged U.S. residents’ sentiment on the moral values of the country. In 2018, the poll that indicates 77% of respondents believed moral values are worsening compared with 18% who believe they are improving.

“There are many competing values at work in our political, economic, education, criminal justice systems, and even religious institutions,” she said. “Furthermore, those values are dynamic and subject to changing.”

She illustrated the fluctuation of priorities using examples within the American education system. Both the No Child Left Behind Act (2002) and Every Child Succeeds Act (2015) were created with the intention of providing all students a fair opportunity to obtain a higher education. But, ultimately, she said, the measures served to enforce achievement championing and standardization while penalizing schools with unsatisfactory scores rather than promoting progressive and engaging programs.

Berne elaborated on the world’s continual development of a majority consensus that it has evolved ideologically into a better global society. While she said the world is currently pressed to celebrate inclusion and diversity, especially of individuals that experience some form of disability, it was less than a century ago that the Third Reich promoted the sterilization of individuals deemed “mental defectives” in order to “eliminate neurotic disease from the European gene pool.”

“An ethical compass responds to the attractive forces of our own core values,” Berne said. “But social norms and culture have influence over individual behavior and control one’s personal moral compass.

“One definition of an ethical compass is an internal compass that becomes a core of strength and assurance when your life’s journey takes you into uncharted territory,” Berne said, before imparting her personal difficulty in discovering what moral principles and values she upheld most when she discovered she was going to give birth to an anencephalic child. The story of her struggle and conflict capitulated upon the complexity of determining where one’s values truly lie.

In closing, Berne turned to the audience and asked, “Are we losing our moral values in this country?”

She conceded it is a question that may never truly receive an answer, as contemporary attitudes are ever-evolving. But, she said, “Perhaps the more important question for the posters next time is not about America’s state of morality, but rather how well our own moral compasses are functioning.”

Author:  Julian Herrera – UTEP Communications

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