World Economic Forum names Susan Hockfield chair of its Forum Academy

Susan Hockfield

Former MIT president to shape development of new online learning initiative.


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The following is adapted from an announcement by the World Economic Forum.

The World Economic Forum has named Susan Hockfield, president emerita of MIT, professor of neuroscience, and member of the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, as chair of its online learning initiative, Forum Academy.

Hockfield will provide strategic guidance to Forum Academy, helping facilitate engagement and collaboration with the world’s top universities. She will guide the development of content, curriculum, and pedagogical framework.

“Discovery and innovation are key pillars of my work in academia, and as Forum Academy explores new approaches to lifelong learning, it will draw on the critically important mix of insights from the academy, industry, and government,” Hockfield says. “The World Economic Forum has always provided a platform to gather with like-minded people from different sectors. I am honored to be part of a program that fosters cross-sector, cross-disciplinary exchanges to deliver new approaches for professional development. Meeting the challenge of lifelong learning as the pace of discovery accelerates requires us to innovate for positive global change.”

Hockfield served as MIT’s 16th president, from 2004 to 2012. Her accomplishments included the launch of edX, a nonprofit online education initiative in partnership with Harvard University that is now also a partner to Forum Academy.

“Dr. Hockfield has pioneered many new ideas and bold initiatives in her life, evident throughout her tenure at MIT and in all her other functions,” says Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum. “She has always shown a great innovative spirit, and I am therefore confident that under her leadership, Forum Academy will make a significant contribution to the mission of the World Economic Forum — committed to improving the state of the world — by providing strategic insights to enhance lifelong, professional learning.”

Hockfield has previously served as a co-chair, moderator, and discussion leader at a number of World Economic Forum meetings. She is also a member of the Forum’s Foundation Board, where she contributes to the overall strategic development of the World Economic Forum.

Launched in January, Forum Academy is designed to provide online strategic updates for professionals and organizations to enhance their leadership and strategic knowledge. Forum Academy differs from the many existing online learning initiatives by focusing on specific industries, providing decision-makers with the updates and in-depth perspectives to help them better understand the tremendous forces transforming every industry today. 


Topics: MIT Administration, MIT presidency, online learning

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