The Student: History of an Idea

Michael S Roth’s narrative on the diverse history of students, from ancient philosophers to modern-day universities

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Michael S Roth offers a sweeping narrative on the diverse history of students, tracing from ancient philosophers to modern-day universities. Exploring various learning models, he emphasises the essence of independent thinking cultivated through interaction with others. In an era of automation, Roth celebrates students who foster curiosity, creativity, and perpetual learning, engaging dynamically with the world.

About the Speaker

Michael S Roth, an American academic, is Wesleyan University’s 16th President since 2007. He earned his PhD in history from Princeton University in 1984 and has held notable positions including Professor of Humanities at Scripps College and President of the California College of the Arts.

At Wesleyan, he established academic programmes like the Allbritton Centre for the Study of Public Life and introduced five interdisciplinary colleges. Under his leadership, Wesleyan raised over USD 482 million for financial aid, implemented initiatives to enhance affordability and diversity, and ended admissions preference for legacies.

Roth is an acclaimed author and curator, known for works such as Beyond the University: Why Liberal Education Matters (2014), which won the Association of American Colleges & Universities’ Frederic W. Ness award. His recent book, Safe Enough Spaces: A Pragmatist’s Approach to Inclusion, Free Speech, and Political Correctness (2019), addresses contentious issues in higher education. Roth continues to teach at Wesleyan and offers online courses through platforms like Coursera.