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Biography: Art Shostak

Art Shostak

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Since joining the World Future Society shortly after its 1968 founding Art has been fascinated by the range, relevance, and potential of this multi-disciplinary art form. He introduced and taught a Drexel University (Phila. PA) college-credit sociology course in futuristics from 1975 through 2003 (when he retired) , and a custom-tailored course for labor unionists from 1980 to 2000 at the AFL-CIO George Meany Center for Labor Studies (Silver Spring, MD.), the only such course in America (then and now). His forecasts have appeared in major newspapers, leading magazines (Business 2.0; WIRED, etc.), and different publications of the World Future Society (WFS). He has attended nearly every Annual Meeting of the WFS, and generally been a presenter. In 1972 he co-created the Philadelphia Chapter, and led it alone from 1974 until 2004 (the oldest city chapter in the WFS). He has also enjoyed giving as many as 20 commissioned futures talks a year for a wide variety of organizations here and abroad (Brazil, Canada, Israel,etc.) Most recently he has edited four books for high-schoolers of original essays by futurists, and is now developing what may be one of, if not the first college-credit undergraduate course in futuristics offered on the Internet (available in 2005 from the Drexel e-Learning Corporation).

Since earning a Ph.D in Sociology in 1961 Art has attempted in his 32 books and numerous projects to employ the discipline for the Greater Good: In the 1960s, for example, he created an energetic grass-roots social movement early in the War on Poverty to help Philadelphians fight City Hall for power over the local anti-poverty program. He also advised the University of Pennsylvania on its design for the first Job Corps operation in the USA. In the 1970s he helped the New Communities Division of HUD decide whether or not building contractors were as innovative as the terms of their giant HUD loans required. He also helped the Ford Foundation test in Graterford Prison a new model for parole release preparation courses. As well, he served as the Survey Researcher for PATCO for a year and a half before the disastrous strike of 1981. In the 1980s he worked for HUD on a project that attempted to borrow space shuttle technology and apply it to community environment problems. He also helped the AARP explore reform options for the pending wave in 2010 of Boomer retirements. As well, he completed the first-ever survey of males in the waiting rooms of abortion clinics, and published a book urging overdue reforms. In the 1990s Art focused on ways by which Organized Labor might make creative and empowering use of computer power. Now, in the early 21st century, Art is busy trying to get support for his blueprint for a high school that focuses on the future. He continues to campaign for abortion clinic education in family planning for waiting room males, and is writing an assessment of what the 1981 PATCO strike has meant for America. Having retired after 42 wonderful years on campus (including 25 years teaching part-time for the Labor Movement), Art now teaches on the Internet. His two courses - Industrial Sociology, and, Futuristics, help break ground in this relatively new educational mode, much as Art has tried to show the way throughout his career.

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