Think Tanks Transition to Brandeis University
With the goal of revitalizing, enhancing, and expanding the Think Tank model, Brandeis University's Center for Youth and Communities (CYC) at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management will lead the next generation of Think Tanks, taking on the management and facilitation of the program. Click here to be taken to the Brandeis Think Tanks home page.
The Think Tank model was most profoundly influenced by NERCHE's co-founder, Zee Gamson, and her knowledge of and experience with learning communities from her earlier work at the University of Michigan. She writes, “When I moved to the region, I was struck by the lack of interaction among colleges and universities. Our first job at NERCHE was to build a culture for people to do this, across the diverse set of colleges and universities in the region, and help them talk to one another.” In 1988, NERCHE began offering a unique professional development opportunity to academic professionals across New England through its Think Tanks. Since that time, the Think Tanks have convened more than a thousand administrators and faculty from over a hundred colleges and universities in ongoing substantive discussions about the things that matter to them on campus and in the larger society.
For more than 30 years, CYC staff have worked with practitioners to understand the changing nature of their professions and organizations and to develop the skills to address these changes. In the words of longtime CYC Director and Professor of Social Policy and Management at the Heller School, Susan P. Curnan, “We welcome the opportunity to build on the rich and meaningful work of the Think Tanks. The ‘mission fit’ is just right, and the timing is perfect to craft an action-learning agenda for the coming years as higher education faces growing challenges.” The Center’s commitment to community building, collaborative knowledge creation for action, and public engagement, coupled with the Heller School's strong mission of "Knowledge Advancing Social Justice," align closely with the purposes of the Think Tanks and the interests of members in sharing knowledge and building capacity for navigating and leading change in higher education.