2011 Feaver-MacMinn Seminar: Dumbing Down? The Effect of Technology on American Youth

2011 Feaver-MacMinn Seminar: Dumbing Down? The Effect of Technology on American Youth


2011 Feaver MacMinn Host Professor JM DavisModern technology was created to simplify our lives, but when can there be too much of a good thing?

This year’s Feaver-MacMinn Seminar, hosted by the University of Oklahoma College of Liberal Studies, will focus on the effects of the digital age on the young American mind and what can be done to address the potential downside of those effects.

“The Digital Generation: The Effects of Social Networking and Too Much Information on the Young American Mind” will be held April 7 in the Thurman J. White Forum Auditorium on the OU campus. A book signing will be held at 6:30 p.m., and the lecture starts at 7 p.m.

The lecture, which is free and open to the public, will be led by Emory University professor Mark Bauerlein, author of the book, The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future; Or, Don’t Trust Anyone under 30.

“The saturation of technology into our everyday lives will shape our country’s future, perhaps civilization’s. Social media is a true force that has impacted communication in countless instances, from Charlie Sheen gaining one million Twitter followers in 24 hours to the instantaneous distribution of firsthand accounts of the Middle East uprisings. The subject of this seminar is so important on so many levels, I am thrilled and humbled to be the host professor.”

Bauerlein has taught at Emory since 1989. Between 2003 and 2005, he served as director of the Office of Research and Analysis at the National Endowment for the Arts. He earned his doctorate in English at UCLA in 1988. Apart from his scholarly work, he publishes in popular periodicals such as the Wall Street Journal, The Weekly Standard and The Washington Post.

“Many young people spend a great deal of their free time online, leaving traditional learning methods and sources by the wayside,” said Martha Banz, associate dean of the OU College of Liberal Studies. “This seminar will focus on the irony of how limitless information may actually contribute to increased ignorance for Americans of all ages, but especially for the young.”

The annual Feaver-MacMinn Seminar was created to provide interdisciplinary perspectives on human values in disciplines such as humanistic psychology, philosophy and ethics, and to allow students to grow intellectually while exploring these fields. The seminar is named for two former OU faculty members who exemplified excellence in teaching: J. Clayton Feaver, distinguished David Ross Boyd professor of philosophy; and Paul MacMinn, professor of psychology, Honors College, and dean of students.

Update: The College of Liberal Studies was renamed the College of Professional and Continuing Studies in 2017. 

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The College of Professional and Continuing Studies is a fully accredited academic unit of the University of Oklahoma, offering 100% online, hybrid and onsite degrees for working adults and non-traditional students.