Students in their gowns, throwing up their mortarboards

Forward Fest public conversation series with faculty experts and alumni continues as part of A Year of Forward Thinking

Jan. 12, 2021 3:15 p.m.

Forward Fest is a virtual public conversation series that aims to spark dialogue across the global Princeton community — students, faculty, staff, alumni and other interested thinkers — to engage with and explore big ideas and their infinite possibilities for shaping the future. The next Forward Fest takes place Jan. 14 and will focus on equity in education.

Princeton’s Forward Fest — a virtual public conversation series and a monthly highlight of the University’s yearlong A Year of Forward Thinking community engagement campaign — continues at 5 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 14, with a deep exploration of equity in education.

From research to boots-on-the-ground practice and programs, faculty, students, staff and alumni are "thinking forward" about K-12 policy and deepening our understanding of what we need to do as a nation to move toward a more equitable future for this generation and those who will follow. The streaming Jan. 14 event highlights how the University’s “forward thinkers” are using interdisciplinary research, teaching and scholarship for real-world impact.

Faculty and alumni will delve into the many facets of the University’s commitment to equity, access and opportunity in education as a key focus of its “service to humanity” mission. That commitment is writ large, and the University is leading higher education in academic research as well as extensive programmatic resources that are creating equity and opportunity beyond — and at — Princeton.

Gathering a range of voices, Forward Fest aims to spark dialogue across the global Princeton community — students, faculty, staff, alumni and other interested thinkers — to engage with and explore big ideas and their infinite possibilities for shaping the future.

Forward Fest events are free and open to the public. All programming will be livestreamed on the Forward Fest website and on the University's YouTube channel. Registration is not required, but attendees can RSVP to receive a resource guide and event updates. Captioning will be available for all sessions. After the event, all programming will be viewable on the University’s YouTube channel.

Kevin Hudson

Kevin Hudson, a 1997 alumnus and the assistant director for college opportunity in the Office of the Provost at Princeton, will provide the welcome and introduction to Thinking Forward Equity in Education.

The first Forward Fest, Oct. 23-24, 2020, focused on public health, justice and the 2020 election. The Nov. 20 Forward Fest plumbed the promise and peril of data science and artificial intelligence. The Dec. 17 event illuminated the arts and humanities, including how humanistic inquiry provides a useful lens for thinking about our current times and the ways in which art and visual culture, music and literature help us uncover connections that help us think forward new ideas in a variety of domains. View all the sessions on Princeton’s YouTube channel.

Melissa Wu

Melissa Wu, a 1999 alumna, University trustee and CEO of Education Pioneers, will serve as moderator for the live discussion on Jan. 14. Forward Fest is free and open to the public. All programming will be livestreamed on the Forward Fest website and on the University’s YouTube channel.

Jan. 14 programming highlights: Thinking Forward Equity in Education

The live 75-minute program at 5 p.m. will feature one-on-one conversations with three faculty members and conclude with a lively Q&A period. Attendees can engage in Q&A by emailing questions in advance to forwardfest@princeton.edu or in real-time in the chat on YouTube.

Kevin Hudson, a 1997 alumnus and the assistant director for college opportunity in the Office of the Provost at Princeton, will provide the welcome and introduction. Melissa Wu, a 1999 alumna, University trustee and CEO of Education Pioneers — whose mission is to build a pipeline of leaders to drive systemic change in education — will serve as moderator for the live discussion. Featured faculty panelists are:

  • Jennifer L. Jennings, professor of sociology and public affairs; director of the Education Research Section, an interdisciplinary unit that promotes the use of research in education decision making; and a 2000 Princeton alumna. She will give an overview of the interdisciplinary work being done at Princeton and how University researchers work with on-the-ground practitioners and policymakers to evaluate and effect change.
  • Adam Kapor, assistant professor of economics and public affairs. He will speak about his work around school choice and the distributional effects of race-blind affirmative action.
  • Stacey A. Sinclair, professor of psychology and public affairs, and head of Mathey College. She will speak about her research on how institutional and individual behaviors stemming from culturally held prejudices can predict race-based achievement gaps.
Jennifer Jennings, Adam Kapor, Stacey Sinclair

Speakers for the virtual Jan. 14 event include: Jennifer L. Jennings (left), professor of sociology and public affairs; Adam Kapor, professor of economics and public affairs; and Stacey A. Sinclair, professor of psychology and public affairs and head of Mathey College.

Between the one-on-one interview segments, additional multimedia programming will highlight some of the University’s efforts in increasing equity in education. Segments will feature the Program in Teacher Preparation, which has nurtured educators for over 50 years; the Princeton University Preparatory Program, a rigorous academic and cultural enrichment program that supports high-achieving, low-income high school students from local districts; and the Freshman Scholars Institute and Scholars Institute Fellows Program, two programs supporting Princeton students from first-generation and low-income backgrounds during their academic career at the University.

Forward Fest continues monthly throughout A Year of Forward Thinking, Oct. 2020 to June 2021.

Learn more about A Year of Forward Thinking and Forward Fest on the website. Watch a video about A Year of Forward Thinking. Engage on social media with the hashtags #PrincetonForward, #ForwardThinkers and #ForwardFest, and follow Princeton University and Princeton Alumni on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.