Flash Seminars have returned to campus for their second semester, but not everyone is invited.
Started by 2013 graduate Erika Babikow, Flash Seminars are meetings in which various professors are invited to speak on their topic of choice to a limited audience. Babikow learned of the idea from the University of Virginia, which the Washington Post did an article on.
Professor Mark Metzler Sawin started off the semester’s seminars with a lecture on “Perceptions and Perspectives,” that had an attendance of about 12 students of varying years and majors.
Yesterday evening, Carl Stauffer, assistant professor of the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding, led the seminar titled, “Masculine Journeys: Pathways and Patterns,” which was a male-only event due to the gender-specific and sensitive nature of the discussion.
All professors invited to share their ideas were selected from a list generated by current students, and professors who accept decide for themselves what topics to expound on.
“As an English Education major, I’m aware that my interests lie in the humanities and not in the hard sciences,” said student facilitator Bren- dan Erb, Senior. “So, I rely on other voices to offer suggestions for speakers with expertise in the hard sciences.”
Once a week, Erb sends out a mass e-mail invitation to the student body, and the first 15 to respond to an online survey are replied to with the seminar’s time and location.
The idea of a smaller selection of students, according to Erb, is to allow for intimate interaction with the speaker, as well as a lecture that directly involves the participation of the students present.
Erb plans to release the seminar’s leadership over to Brad Mullet, Junior, after the Fall semester’s end. While facilitator, Erb’s goals for Flash Seminars are “to facilitate learning opportunities on campus, to match speakers and topics with student interest… and to make them a regular part of the intellectual landscape at EMU.”
-Lani Prunés, Managing Editor
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