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Higher education is a driving force in Nashville

Updated: Sep 20, 2022

Nashville’s colleges and universities are responsible for equipping their students with the tools to change the world.

“We need to ensure that we are bringing our fantastic graduates to the table to develop solutions to Nashville and middle Tennessee problems,” said Dr Candice McQueen, president of Lipscomb University

McQueen was one of five leaders who gathered Thursday to discuss the importance of collaboration and community impact in the higher education.

Many of the panelists spoke on the importance of educating Nashville’s students about critical thinking and how to engage with those who have different perspectives.

“We should also strive to be a listening community, listening to each other well and interpreting each other charitably, rather than rushing to judgment that overstates and makes assumptions too quickly,” Belmont President Dr. Greg Jones said. 

Jones and McQueen were joined in discussion by Chancellor Dr. Daniel Diermeier of Vanderbilt University, President Dr. Vann Newkirk of Fisk University and President Dr. Shanna Jackson of Nashville State Community College.

Newkirk spoke about the importance of educating students about their role in the community and empowering them to make a difference.

Diermeier acknowledged how many Nashville residents are proud to call their city the home of the Commodores but only recognize Vanderbilt for its contributions to health care and sports. Diermeier expressed his goals of widening the reach of Vanderbilt and involving more rural communities with opportunities at the university.

For Belmont faculty in attendance, like Dr. AdriAnne Sternberg, associate dean and director of leadership development, the shared goals of Nashville’s education leaders paint a powerful picture for the future.

“I appreciated how much the university presidents were aligned,” said Sternberg, associate dean and director of leadership development at Belmont. 

“It makes me hopeful for all of the people who serve at those institutions, and makes me hopeful about all the things that we can accomplish together.”

PHOTO: The panelists onstage at the Fisher Center for the Performing Arts on Thursday. Belmont Office of Communications.

This article was written by Allynne Miller. Contributory reporting by Gus Sneh.

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