The Commission on the Liberal Arts sponsored a series of four lunches in March, each attended by about 40 faculty, staff and students, to discuss issues of innovative curriculum, mentoring and creating intellectual community. Across each table of about 6 to 8 people, similar themes emerged. As always, gathering Emory community members together highlighted the many points of intersection among our research and pedagogical objectives.
The themes that resonated across these discussions included the need to develop intellectual community with students beginning early in their undergraduate career, and the importance of integrating scholarship learned in the classroom with hands-on experience in the library, the lab and/or the community. Future programming should seek to bring together undergraduates, graduate students, professional students, faculty, emeritus, and alumni around significant events in ways that facilitate engaged reflection. We need to build on the many programs already in place that integrate across schools and across generations in ways that continue to highlight the value of liberal education for both personal and public good.
These fairly abstract goals were concretized in many specific ideas that have emerged from the CoLA subcommittees, and the various CoLA outreach activities including these lunches, and more information can be found on the CoLA website, liberartsforwardemory.edu. CoLA will be hosting the Spring Forum on the Liberal Arts on April 30 in Winship Ballroom at 5:00, in which may of these ideas will be presented for open discussion, as CoLA prepares its’ report to the provost for August 2014.