Resource Center to Host Free, Public Discussion on “Alternative Facts”

By Tom McLaughlin

With truth itself seemingly on trial these days, Rutgers University–Camden faculty and students will lead a free, public discussion on living, learning, and teaching in an era of “alternative facts,” from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Monday, March 6.

Bill FitzGerald

“Alternative Facts: A Forum on Speech and Politics in a Post-Truth Era,” hosted by the Teaching Matters and Assessment Center at Rutgers–Camden, will be held in the 401 Penn classroom, accessible from the side of the Paul Robeson Library.

“In the first half of the 21st century, we find ourselves in a moment in which long-held standards of evidence-based argument are continually being challenged as fake news by those on ‘the other side,’” says Bill FitzGerald, associate professor of English and director of the faculty resource center at Rutgers–Camden, who will moderate the event. “This is a crisis that threatens civil discourse going forward, when we can no longer reason together to address problems and identify solutions.”

Featured Rutgers–Camden panelists are James Brown, an assistant professor of English and director of the Rutgers–Camden Digital Studies Center; Jean-Louis Hippolyte, an associate professor of French; Tim Knievel, a teaching instructor of political science; and Katherine Anderson, the interim director and a reference librarian for the Paul Robeson Library.

The Teaching Matters and Assessment Center, in conjunction with the Paul Robeson Library, will also provide attendees with a resource guide that includes several different types of materials related to understanding teachers’ roles in an era of alternative facts. The guide will include op-eds, such as a recent piece in The New York Times, presenting various perspectives on how and why instructors should address the issue in their classrooms; a list of texts that instructors might read on their own or with their students, such as Dan Lazere’s Reading and Writing for Civic Literacy; and links to various studies, such as a recent report from Stanford outlining students’ current levels of civic and information literacy. There will also be specific examples of lesson plans and programs used by other universities aimed at promoting these literacies.

The Paul Robeson Library is located on Fifth Street, between Cooper Street and the Benjamin Franklin Bridge on the Rutgers–Camden Campus.

For more information, contact FitzGerald at (856) 225-2925 or wfitz@nullcamden.rutgers.edu.

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