On Wednesday Feb. 19, President designate Brien Lewis arrived on Transy’s campus for his extended visit through Feb. 22 to meet with students, faculty, staff, and attend “several open forums, as well as meetings with various Transylvania constituencies” as stated in the schedule released via Tnotes.
During his first evening on campus, Transy held an hour long meet and greet for students to talk with Lewis in the Rafskeller’s Lexington Room.
Lewis, originally from Toronto, Canada, has been serving as the twenty-third president of Catawba College in Salisbury, North Carolina since 2012. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and went on to get his Law Degree from the University of Toronto. After practicing law in North Carolina, he served as the Vice President for Development and Dean of University College at Winthrop University in South Carolina.
During the meet and greet, Lewis spoke with The Rambler about what he sees for the future of Transy as he steps in as the new president. “Part of what I really wanna do in my first few months here is be a sponge and learn as much as I can about not just the history and traditions, but what it is that the students of today are needing.” Lewis continued, “You’re gonna hear me talk a lot about this phrase that I’ve really come to like. An author named Dan Pink has come up with this great phrase he calls the ‘Conceptual Age’ because he says you’ve had the Agricultural Age and the Industrious Age, and now we’re in the Information Age and we are very quickly shifting to the Conceptual Age. What we have to provide you all with are the skill sets and capabilities to navigate the conceptual age and to make sure you can do things that can’t be outsourced or automated or replaced with artificial intelligence.”
Lewis said that the focus is not as much the traditional literacies but rather “data literacy, technology literacy, human literacy, because those are the things that AI is never going to replicate.”
He added, “My ears are gonna be wide open, so please don’t be shy about sharing ideas, concerns. I’m just coming in looking to see what I can do to be helpful.”
Lewis later answered questions from the students in attendance following a speech addressing what he sees for the future of Transy and how the university should help prepare students for a constantly changing, technology-centered world.
Whether or not Lewis will be a good fit for the Transy community based off of one meeting is hard to say, but he definitely seems to possess a vision that will help the university transition into a more technology-based approach to education.