About this event
Ron Gross strengthened the nascent Independent Scholarship movement in the early 1980s with his publications and activism. In two books – Independent Scholarship: Promise, Problems, and Prospects and The Independent Scholar’s Handbook – Gross celebrated, articulated, and passionately espoused the cause. He convened a national conference of its pioneering leaders, then traveled the country to help others set up their own groups for mutual support.
Ron will share what he learned through encounters with notable practitioners in fields ranging from history and science, to feminism and racism. Based on these dialogues, he will invite us to share some of our experiences and insights in response to the question: What is one of the most important advantages, benefits, or rewards which you gain from being an independent scholar?
Ron will also discuss the University Seminars at Columbia as a model for welcoming Independent Scholars to the academy, and his current work in nurturing grass-roots groups for meaningful conversation worldwide both in person and via the Internet.
Currently, Ron co-chairs the University Seminar on Innovation at Columbia University
and is the founder/director of Conversations New York (www.conversationsnewyork.com).
His other books, which have been published in 27 countries including the UK, France, Russia, and China, cover the life-span from childhood to old age, including The Children’s Rights Movement, Radical School Reform, High School, The Great School Debate, Peak Learning, The Lifelong Learner, The New Professionals, Individualism, and The New Old. His most recent book is Socrates’ Way.
He was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award of the International Society for Self-Directed Learning in 2013, was inducted into the Lifelong Learning Hall of Fame of the International Association for Adult and Continuing Education in 2014, and received Columbia University’s Tannenbaum/Warner Award for Distinguished Scholarship and Service in 2019.
Buckminster Fuller wrote about Ron’s work:
“If humanity is to pass safely through its present crisis on earth, it will be because a majority of individuals are now doing their own thinking. Ronald Gross has pioneered in improving the climate for such thinking.”