Back row (left to right): Nastasia Lawton-Sticklor, Rosalind Williams, Andrea Panaritis, Walter Wright, Megan Holmes, Pat Benjamin, Sarah Buie, Michael Ramberg, Chris Rabe, Kevin Gallagher, Diana Chapman Walsh; Front row: Curt Newton, Rebecca Henderson, Stephen Levin, Leigh Anne Statuto, Siri Colom.

What Matters Now in Higher Ed   |  In-Person

In February 2024, members of the CUHF higher ed community came together for two days at MASS MoCA in North Adams, MA to consider what matters now for higher education. 

In higher ed, many of us feel the dissonance and shortfall between our current institutions / practices, and the enormous, interdependent dislocations and dissolutions underway throughout the planet. At this gathering, we asked what is truly needed—for ourselves, our students and the world. Can we as educators expand our awareness, revise our practices, meet and live (with our students) into the upheavals underway? Can institutions of higher ed re-imagine our role, responsibilities and possibilities in these unprecedented times? And how do we do this together, in community?

What Matters Now in Higher Ed, is the inaugural Council in the CUHF Threshold Council series—encouraging new venturing, even leaning into the cracks, for and through our work.

Pat Benjamin

Pat Benjamin is Associate Professor Emerita of Geography in the Department of Earth, Environment and Physics at Worcester State University, which she chaired for nine years, and where she taught human geography and environmental studies. She is active in environmental work in the wider community, including 350.org Central MA. Pat is a CUHF National Convener.

Sarah Buie, convener

Sarah is a designer / educator who, through council practice, encourages presence, listening, collaboration and compassion in this time of polycrisis. She is Professor Emerita and Research Scholar at Clark University, and served for nine years as Director of the Higgins School of Humanities and its Difficult Dialogues initiative. She is Founding Convener of the Council on the Uncertain Human Future, and co-founded the campus-wide curriculum initiative A new Earth conversation at Clark. Sarah was an award-winning museum exhibition designer for 25 years.

Siri Colom

Siri Colom is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Worcester State University and received a PhD in Sociology in 2014 from the University of California Berkeley. Siri’s research focuses broadly on understanding the operation and social organization of power, delving into questions about urban space, environmental change, politics, and the role of institutions of racial domination.

Kevin Gallagher

Kevin Gallagher is the Director of Emergent Resilience, a non-profit organization that offers capacity building programs for climate change and environmental advocates, activists, and professionals. He is the co-creator of the Climate Wisdom Lab, a professional development workshop that helps colleges and universities address the psychosocial impacts of climate change and other structural stressors. Kevin previously worked as a climate change attorney in Washington, D.C. Kevin is a member of the CUHF Core Team and a National Convener.

Megan Holmes

Megan Holmes is Professor Emerita of Italian Renaissance Art History at the University of Michigan. Her scholarly interests include the social history of art, popular religion, visual and material culture, monasticism and the arts, and print culture.

Curt Newton

Curt Newton was an electrical engineer before pivoting to education; he now serves as the Director of MIT OpenCourseWare, which freely shares materials from thousands of MIT courses used by millions of learners and educators around the world. In MIT’s climate community, Curt has produced / hosted the Climate Conversations podcast; helped build and create MIT’s climate portal; was staff representative to the MIT Climate Action Advisory Committee; and is the MIT CUHF Steady Council Convener, as well as a National Convener. Curt is also active in civic climate work, volunteering with 350 Mass and helping launch and lead the Boston Green New Deal Coalition, and infusing climate witness into musical performances as an improvising drummer.

Chris Rabe

Chris Rabe is a Postdoctoral Associate in Environmental and Sustainability Education at the MIT Environmental Solutions Initiative (ESI), where his main area of research focuses on better understanding and expanding climate justice and sustainability education at MIT and beyond. At ESI, Chris helps supports faculty, advises students in the Environmental and Sustainability Minor, builds curriculum, co-teaches courses, and leads the Climate Environment and Sustainability Infusion Fellowship (CESIF).

Rebecca Henderson

Rebecca Henderson is the John and Natty McArthur University Professor at Harvard University, where she has a joint appointment at the Harvard Business School in the General Management and Strategy units and is the Co-Director of the Business and Environment Initiative. Her research explores the degree to which the private sector can play a major role in building a more sustainable economy. She has written several books: her most recent book is Re-imagining Capitalism in a World on Fire (2020)

Stephen Levin

Stephen Levin is an Associate Professor of English at Clark University where he specializes in contemporary British and postcolonial literature, transnational cultural studies, and critical and literary theory. His research focuses on the ways in which twentieth-century global conditions have shaped contemporary culture and produced new discourses of self and identity.

Andrea Panaritis

Andrea Panaritis is Executive Director of the Christopher Reynolds Foundation. The Foundation is currently exploring work relating to climate justice; climate resilience and adaptation; and ecosystem health and integrity in the face of unraveling global systems–and the societal structures and narratives that bind us to them. This includes local and bioregional climate justice and ecosystem resilience efforts as well as relevant linkages, collaborations and networks at the regional and global levels–especially as they look to systems change in fellowship with the natural world.

Michael Ramberg

Michael Ramberg is Jewish Student Advisor at Swarthmore. Michael was ordained by the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 2012 and before coming to Swarthmore, worked as College Rabbi and Hillel Director at Ursinus College. Michael serves as co-chair of the board of the New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia, an interfaith, immigrant-led movement for justice and dignity for immigrants.

Leigh Anne Statuto

Leigh Anne Statuto is the Director of the Responsible Business Coalition at Fordham University’s Gabelli School of Business, which seeks to bridge the gap between industry and academia. Recognizing the severe urgency of the climate crisis and seeking to dedicate her career toward accelerating solutions, Leigh Anne earned an MBA in Sustainability from Bard College, where she focused on impact investing and regenerative food systems.

Nastasia Lawton-Sticklor

Nastasia Lawton-Sticklor is a fellow at the Climate Disobedience Center with a research interest in an abolitionist approach to jury nullification and models of relational community support and engagement during court-involvement for activists. She served as Research Scientist and faculty at the Hiatt Center for Urban Education at Clark University from 2013-23; her work involved cultivating spaces that uplift youth voices through qualitative research using storytelling, multimedia arts, and photography to explore social injustices and create pathways for change.
Natty is a CUHF National Convener.

Diana Chapman Walsh

Diana Chapman Walsh served as the President of Wellesley College for fourteen years; her presidency was characterized by her collaborative leadership style, innovations in curriculum, campus expansion and successful fund-raising. She was the Norman Professor at the Harvard School of Public Health and chair of the Department of Health and Social Behavior prior to her presidency. She has written, edited and co-edited twelve books on both healthcare and education topics, and a seminal essay on Trustworthy Leadership published by the Fetzer Institute. She recently published The Claims of a Life: A Memoir (2023). Until recently, she served on the governing boards of the Mind and Life Institute, the MIT Corporation (and its executive committee), and the Kaiser Family Foundation. She is a co-founder of the CUHF (in 2014), and a member of the Core Team.

Rosalind Williams

Rosalind Williams is an American historian of technology whose works examine the societal implications of modern technology. She taught at MIT starting in 1982, and became Bern Dibner Professor of the History of Science and Technology (recently emerita). She has also served as head of the STS Program and Dean for Undergraduate Education and Student Affairs at the Institute, as well as president of the Society for the History of Technology. She wrote three books, and essays and articles about the emergence of a predominantly human-built world and its implications for human life.

Walter Wright

Walter Wright is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Clark University; he served three terms as Dean of the College there. Wright has worked extensively on nineteenth century German philosophy and is recently engaged with the theory and practice of dialogue. He serves as a CUHF National Convener, having convened numerous NEC councils at Clark, and off campus, including Swarthmore College and the Berkshire Waldorf High School, Stockbridge.

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