Forced Online: How COVID Will Impact the Future of Amherst, Higher Education and the Liberal Arts

March 30, 2021

Over the past year, the rise of educational technology has redefined the physical bounds of the classroom and brought with it a new discussion: How will its now-central role impact the future of Amherst, higher education, and the liberal arts model?

Transcript of Forced Online

Over the past year, the rise of educational technology has redefined the physical bounds of the classroom and brought with it a new discussion: how will its now-central role impact the future of Amherst, higher education and the liberal arts model?

Former Trustee and Chief Strategy and Engagement Officer for 2U David Sutphen ’91; General Counsel of Chegg, Inc. Woodie Dixon ’95; and Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of Adtalem Chaka Patterson ’90 will unravel the relationships among educational technology, higher education and the liberal arts, and predict how those relationships may evolve once in-person learning becomes possible. Hilary Moss H’17, professor of history and Black studies (and, soon, education studies) at Amherst College will moderate the conversation with these three leaders in the educational technology field.

David Sutphen ’91

A photo of David Sutphen
As Chief Strategy and Engagement Officer, David Sutphen ’91 leads 2U’s communications and corporate brand functions, as well as the company’s social impact, public affairs and diversity efforts. He sits on the company’s executive leadership team. 2U provides students, faculty and staff at many institutions, including Amherst College, with the construction and delivery of online and hybrid learning opportunities.

After graduating from Amherst College with a major in political science, Sutphen worked at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. He then attended the University of Michigan Law School where he served on the Editorial Board of the Law Review. Following law school, Sutphen worked for the social justice advocate Bryan Stevenson and clerked on the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. He then entered private practice at Covington & Burling in Washington, D.C.

Sutphen quickly moved from practicing law to working on Capitol Hill where he served as Chief of Staff to former Congressman Harold Ford Jr. and Judiciary Committee General Counsel to the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy. Following his time on the Hill, Sutphen worked as a Senior Vice President at the Recording Industry Association of America and Viacom before joining Brunswick Group, a global advisory firm. Sutphen was a partner and head of the Washington, D.C. office of Brunswick, where he advised Fortune 500 companies on reputation, stakeholder engagement, crisis management, diversity and public affairs. In 2017, Sutphen joined 2U.

Outside of 2U, Sutphen is involved in numerous education, nonprofit and philanthropic endeavors. He recently completed a six-year term as a trustee of Amherst College. He currently chairs the board of GetSchooled and sits on the CityBridge and U.S. Soccer Foundation boards.

Woodie Dixon, Jr. ’95

A photo of Woodie Dixon, Jr.
Woodie Dixon, Jr. ’95 is the General Counsel of Chegg, Inc. (NYSE: CHGG), overseeing all legal and compliance matters. Chegg is the leading student-first connected learning platform, helping students improve their overall return on educational investment in less time and at a lower cost. Chegg offers a variety of educational technology solutions for students learning remotely and in-person, from digital flashcards to internship opportunities to the Math Solver, which provides step-by-step explanations of equations and methods.

Prior to joining Chegg, Dixon served as the General Counsel and Senior Vice President of Business Affairs for the Pac-12 Conference from 2010–2020. At the Pac-12, Dixon handled all legal affairs and business administration, in addition to oversight of human resources and football operations. He also coordinated the Pac-12’s strategic response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. From 2004–2010, Dixon served as General Counsel for the Kansas City Chiefs. Prior to that, he worked for the National Football League, Sidley & Austin LLP and Dorsey & Whitney, handling a variety of corporate legal matters.

Dixon graduated cum laude, with a major in history, from Amherst College, obtained his master’s degree in sport management from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and a juris doctorate from Harvard Law School. In 2013, Dixon received a Forty Under 40 Award from the Sports Business Journal, recognizing him as one of the most promising young executives in sports under the age of 40.

Dixon currently also serves as a member of the Fritz Pollard Alliance Board and Sports Lawyers Association Board. He also advises Arizona State's Sports Law and Business School.

Chaka Patterson ’90

A photo of Chaka Patterson
Chaka Patterson ’90 serves as Adtalem’s Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary. He is responsible for day-to-day operations of the Legal Department and counsel provided to clients in the areas of commercial, corporate governance, IP, labor and employment, litigation, regulatory and compliance, M&A, real estate and securities.

Prior to joining Adtalem in 2018, Patterson served as Chief of the Civil Division in the Cook County State's Attorney's Office, where he supervised 100 attorneys and represented the largest county in Illinois in its civil litigation. Before returning to government service, Patterson served as a partner in the Business and Tort Litigation Practice at the Jones Day law firm, specializing in complex commercial litigation, internal investigations and white collar criminal defense work. Patterson also co-chaired the firm’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee. Prior to joining Jones Day, he served in increasing roles of responsibility at Exelon Corporation, culminating in his role as Vice President & Treasurer. Before joining Exelon, he was a partner at Jenner & Block LLP and then the Chief of the Special Litigation Bureau in the Illinois Attorney General’s Office, where he prosecuted complex consumer, healthcare and securities fraud cases.

Patterson started his legal career as a law clerk for the Honorable Solomon Oliver, Jr., United States District Judge of the Northern District of Ohio and the Honorable Karen Nelson Moore, United States Circuit Judge of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Patterson received his bachelor’s degree in political science from Amherst College, his master’s degree from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and a juris doctorate from Harvard Law School.

He is a member of the Board of Directors at the University of Chicago Laboratory School and the Law Council for the University of Chicago Law School.

Hilary Moss H’17

A photo of Hilary Moss
Hilary Moss H’17 is a professor of history and Black studies, and soon to be education studies, at Amherst College. As an historian of education and the African American experience, her research explores how communities have allocated educational opportunity in its many forms. At Amherst, she teaches courses on African American history and foundational courses in education studies. She has served as chair of the Black studies department (2013–2015) as well as chair of the history department (2019–2020). She is especially proud of her efforts to help create a program in education studies at Amherst, which will begin Fall 2021.

Moss is the author of Schooling Citizens: The African American Struggle for Education in Antebellum America (Chicago: University of Chicago Press), which received the Outstanding Book Award from the History of Education Society in 2010. Her current research project is “There Goes the Neighborhood School: A Comparative and Transnational History of Zoning and Choice in late 20th century New Zealand and the United States.” It explores how ideas about the neighborhood school evolved during two experiments with public school choice and de-zoning that unfolded during the late twentieth century—one in Cambridge, Massachusetts and the other in New Zealand.

She is presently a Research Fellow at the Stout Centre for New Zealand Studies at Victoria University of Wellington.