UM Plans Major Educational Conference Oct. 26-27

October 12, 2015

MISSOULA – The University of Montana will host a major educational conference on Monday and Tuesday, Oct. 26-27, highlighted by a keynote address from U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez.

The conference, “Defining a 21st Century Education for a Vibrant Democracy,” will be held both days on the third floor of the University Center. It will focus on important and timely topics in higher education, including liberal education, global education, workforce development, academic innovation and educational delivery.

“The goal of this conference is to identify initiatives that will help us provide a stellar 21st century education,” UM President Royce Engstrom said. “A national conference I attended concerned liberal education and workforce development and how those themes are so essential to the future of our republic. I was inspired to host a similar conference here in our corner of the Rocky Mountain West.”

Most events are free and open to the public. A full schedule and registration information are online at

The labor secretary will present a keynote at 9:15 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 27, in the UC Theater as part of a session titled “Preparing a Competitive Workforce.” The other keynote speakers are:

  • Debra Humphreys, vice president for policy and public engagement with the Association of American Colleges & Universities, 9:15 a.m. Monday, Oct. 26, UC Theater, part of a session titled “Fostering Engaged Citizens Through General Education.”
  • Patti McGill Peterson, presidential adviser for global initiatives with the American Council on Education, 1:45 p.m. Monday, Oct. 26, UC Theater, part of a session titled “Developing Tomorrow’s Global Leaders.”

Other conference sessions include “Academic Alignment and Innovation” and “How Do We Deliver a 21st Century Education?” Each session will include panel discussions and breakout groups to generate new ideas for UM.

Engstrom said the conference is meant to be inclusive, and he encourages all faculty and staff members, students and administrators to attend the conference as their schedules permit. Members of the Missoula community also are welcome.

“Those who attend will help define the future directions of our University,” he said. “We want insightful, constructive dialogue to help enhance this great place of learning.”


Contact: Nathan Lindsay, UM associate provost for dynamic learning, 406-243-4689,; Rebecca Power, UM assistant to the president, 406-243-2311,