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Pecan Hill Seminar to bring back tradition of innovative, mind-stretching discussions on education

Pecan Hill Seminar to bring back tradition of innovative, mind-stretching discussions on education issues of the day

Athens, Ga. – More than 20 years after the last one was held, the colorful legacy of a University of Georgia education professor will be renewed when the 2007 Pecan Hill Seminar is held April 27-29 at the State Botanical Garden in Athens.

“The Pecan Hill Seminars,” as they became known in the late 1970s and early ‘80s, were the brainchild of the late UGA professor Eugene “Gene” Johnson who would occasionally invite colleagues and students to his house on Pecan Hill, near Baxter Street, for dinner and an evening of innovative thinking, interactive discussions and even creative dance routines.

Johnson, a professor of adult education who retired in 1978, believed that adults must understand current social trends and question public policy. Participants in the Pecan Hill Seminars were challenged to stretch their minds and incorporate new ways of thinking into their work as adult educators.

“Some of our alumni asked that we revive the seminar because they miss the stimulation of the meeting and the opportunity to network with former classmates,” said Laura Bierema, associate professor in the department of lifelong education, administration and policy, which is sponsoring the event.

The program will offer a diverse lineup of lectures and group discussions on the theme which is “Social Justice Issues in Adult Education.

Margaret E. Holt, a retired UGA faculty member who attended the original Pecan Hill Seminars, will deliver opening remarks.

Keynote speaker Tom Heaney, associate professor of adult education at National-Louis University, will address the topic “Social Justice and Adult Education in the 21st Century: Rhetoric or Reality.” Heaney is director of the adult education doctoral program at National-Louis and co-founder of the Lindeman Center for Community Empowerment through Education, a Chicago-based organization that develops education and research projects with low-income and oppressed groups related to indigenous efforts to change conditions in their neighborhoods, the city, and beyond.

In addition, Rich Rusk, director of the Moore’s Ford Project, will provide an update on the effort to memorialize the victims of an infamous area lynching in 1946 and encourage re-opening of the case; and Jace Weaver, director of the UGA Institute of Native American Studies, will speak about social justice issues in Native American adult education.

Other activities include a tour of the State Botanical Garden and a breakfast. Registration deadline is March 30. The general fee is $125, but full-time students can register for a discounted fee of $25.

While a faculty member at Washington University in St. Louis in the 1950s, Johnson became nationally recognized for developing the Metroplex Assemblies, a series of innovative radio, television and telephone debate programs that enabled participants from a wide geographic area to discuss important issues of the day in a communal fashion.

For more information or to register, visit