Obama Speaker Series: U.S. Education System & the Impact of the Pandemic

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The Obama Speaker Series: The U.S. Education System and the Impact of the Pandemic

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We are honored to be joined by this distinguished panel of education experts as they discuss the challenges facing our education system, the impact of the pandemic and how we move forward.

Dr. Lande Ajose, Senior Policy Advisor for Higher Education for Governor Gavin Newsom

Lande is responsible for developing and shaping the Governor’s higher education policy agenda, which is focused on protecting college affordability, preserving college access, and increasing system efficiency in order to meet the state’s need for a skilled and educated workforce. Prior to this appointment, she served as executive director of California Competes, a nonpartisan, nonprofit project that develops and advocates on behalf of policies to equitably boost California’s postsecondary degree attainment. Her experience in higher education spans college admissions at Vassar College, education and workforce development funding at the James Irvine Foundation, and research and evaluation at MDRC, where she managed a comprehensive evaluation of the Achieving the Dream Initiative. An ardent advocate for college affordability, in 2014 she was appointed to the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) by Governor Jerry Brown and served as chair for two years until her resignation in May 2019. She has served on boards of the Institute of College Access and Success (TICAS), the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) and, until her appointment to the Governor’s office, she was a WASC Senior College and University Commissioner. She currently serves on the advisory committee for the Higher Education Policy Center at the Public Policy Institute of California and on the Board of Trustees at Occidental College. A graduate of Occidental, she earned her master’s degree from the School of Public Affairs at UCLA and holds a PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She was recently awarded an honorary doctorate from her alma mater.

Arne Duncan, Managing Partner, Chicago CRED

Secretary Duncan was U.S. Secretary of Education from January 2009 through December 2015 as part of the Obama Administration. Prior to joining the Obama Administration, Duncan served as chief executive officer of Chicago Public Schools. From 2001 to 2008, Duncan won praise for uniting the city’s stakeholders behind an education agenda that included opening 100 new schools; expanding after-school, summer learning, early childhood, and college access programs; dramatically boosting the caliber of teachers; and building public-private partnerships around a variety of education initiatives.He currently leads Chicago CRED, a nonprofit trying to achieve a transformative reduction in gun violence in Chicago. He is also the managing partner at Emerson Collective, an organization dedicated to removing barriers so people can live to their full potential. Secretary Duncan graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University in 1987, majoring in sociology. Duncan serves on the boards of: Ariel Capital Management, Aspen Institute, Communities in Schools, Lucas Museum, My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, National Association of Basketball Coaches, Pluralsight, Revolution Foods, Thrive-Chicago and Catapult Learning, LLC. He also serves as Co-chair of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics.

Ted Mitchell, President of the American Council on Education and President Emeritus, Occidental College (1999-2005)

The American Council on Education (ACE) is the coordinating body for higher education institutions in the US. ACE’s work encompasses policy advocacy, program development, and research focusing on equity, access, and student achievement. Mitchell’s leadership of ACE and of the nation’s higher education sector is informed by a lifetime of work in higher education as a professor, dean, college president, trustee, and most recently, as US Under Secretary of Education in the Obama Administration. Mitchell also has deep experience in K-12 education, having served as CEO of the NewSchools Venture fund, a venture philanthropy investing in K-12 innovation to support low income students, schools, and communities and as the President of the California State Board of Education. ________________________________________________________________________

The Barack Obama Scholars Program at Occidental College empowers the next generation of leaders in active pursuit of the public good. Honoring the legacy of Occidental’s most famous student, this scholarship program provides a comprehensive experience for exceptional students of all backgrounds who seek the opportunity to create meaningful and lasting change.

The Barack Obama Scholars Program Speaker Series is an opportunity to bring leaders and change agents to the Oxy community to discuss current social and political issues, and to reflect on the values of the Obama administration. At the most recent 2021 event, Oxy welcomed Valerie Jarrett, President of the Obama Foundation and Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama from 2009-2017. Previous events included the discussion “How Art Inspires Social Change” with LA-based producers and artists Bob Johnson ’77 and Roger Guenveur Smith ’77, a panel event featuring Joe Solmonese, CEO of the 2020 Democratic National Convention Committee and former president of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), and guest speakers Ben Rhodes, former deputy national security advisor to President Barack Obama ’83, and David Plouffe, the former Obama campaign manager and White House senior advisor.

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Organizer Occidental College

Organizer of Obama Speaker Series: U.S. Education System & the Impact of the Pandemic

Occidental College is a top liberal arts college, located in Los Angeles, CA.

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