A forum on "The Public University in the 21st Century," featuring Virginia Tech President Timothy D. Sands, will be at 7 p.m. May 1 in the Quillen Family Auditorium in Goodwin Hall at the corner of Prices Fork Road and Stanger Street. 

The event is free and open the public. 

“Through this forum, we hope to open up a conversation about the public role of the university,” said Barbara Ellen Smith, a professor in the Department of Sociology and president of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) chapter at Virginia Tech, the sponsoring organization.

“AAUP believes that education is a public good and therefore should be available to all,” noted Smith. “Today we see many challenges to public education and the ideal of a common good, and those challenges put the public university in an especially important role. What responsibilities does the university have, and faculty in particular, to the needs of the wider public?”

In addition to Sands, the forum will showcase several faculty from the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, including Professor of Communication Wat Hopkins, who will speak on academic freedom, and Professor of Education Carol Mullen, who will speak on academic leadership. Janell Watson, a professor in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, will moderate the panel. Marc Edwards, the Charles P. Lunsford Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, will speak on public scholarship.

The AAUP is a 100-year-old organization founded to defend academic freedom and more recently  expanded to include issues of shared governance and the rights of contingent faculty.