Introducing A&H’s Visiting Scholars

The Arts and Humanities Department is thrilled to welcome Visiting Scholars Jen Glaser and Marybeth Gasman, both of whom have joined our department this semester!

Jen Glaser, Visiting Scholar in the Program for Philosophy and Education and Faculty at the Mandel Leadership Institute in Jerusalem, has made an impact on three continents by using philosophical inquiry to address education and social change. Jen’s career began in Australia, where she is originally from. Before pursuing a PhD at Melbourne University, Jen became involved two projects that helped to crystallize her interests: helping to build a Jewish Day School in Sydney and becoming active in a program called Philosophy for Children, through which children are introduced to thinking philosophically. “For me,” Jen says, “that really answered a need that I saw young people had. It was based on building communities of inquiry.”

To more deeply explore the question of cultural identity, Jen eventually moved to Jerusalem, where she was a visiting scholar at Hebrew University and, subsequently, a Jerusalem Fellow. Her interest in bringing philosophy to children came with her to Israel, and along with a colleague, she created the Israel Center for Philosophy and Education, which reaches out to both Arab and Jewish populations. Part of the center’s mission is to place students from Hebrew University into schools to teach philosophy, which is, Jen says, “a vehicle for building a deliberative democracy.”

Jen felt that TC was the perfect place to spend her sabbatical: “Reading the statement of the Philosophy and Education program resonated with me and what I stand for about how philosophy and education speak to each other and the world of connections between the two.” While at TC, Jen is teaching a course titled Schools and Society, which explores education and social change. “I think education,” Jen says, “really is the key to transformation.”

Marybeth Gasman, Visiting Scholar in History and Education and an Associate Professor of Higher Education at the Graduate School of Education at UPenn, is at once a renowned historian of higher education, a dedicated blogger, and a stand-up comic, and, amazingly, she manages to synthesize all of her roles into her practice.

Marybeth describes herself as “a hybrid”; primarily, her work is historical, focusing on African-Americans in higher education, historically black colleges, and African-American leadership. Most recently, her interests have also included Hispanic institutions and Tribal colleges and universities. Marybeth credits the book The Education of Blacks in the South by James Anderson as shaping her interest in education and race: “It just changed my whole perspective and made me want to explore ideas. I’m definitely a person who loves to do research, but I also love to make change.”

Marybeth is able to communicate with the public through her two blogs: Diverse Issues in Education and Chronicle of Higher Education. The blogs are research-based and largely focus on higher education. Blogging has been greatly rewarding for Marybeth, allowing her to reach a wide audience, respond immediate to developments in education, and improve her writing. However, she most enjoys the personal interaction that blogging allows her to have with her readers, “What I love about doing these blog posts is the people who write to you about their personal stories. I love listening to people.”

During her time at TC, Marybeth will be giving a TC Colloquium on November 2nd and teaching guest classes, but she also hopes to meet faculty, staff, and students. “If there are any students who would like to talk with me or have a coffee with me, please tell them that they are welcome to do that. I’d really like to meet people in the community.” If you’re lucky, you might even get to hear some stand-up comedy!