Current: Spring 2016 deadlines

Key advising info

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The real value of a real education has almost nothing to do with knowledge, and everything to do with awareness


This is an opportunity to continue the conversation we started at H4.

David Foster Wallace is widely considered one of the most creative writers of the last 20 years. He is the author of the novel Infinite Jest (1996).

These are some excerpts from his commencement address at Kenyon College in 2005 on the meaning and value of education (my emphases):

There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says “Morning, boys. How’s the water?” And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes “What the hell is water?” […]

But I’m going to posit to you that the liberal arts cliché turns out not to be insulting at all, because the really significant education in thinking that we’re supposed to get in a place like this isn’t really about the capacity to think, but rather about the choice of what to think about. If your total freedom of choice regarding what to think about seems too obvious to waste time discussing, I’d ask you to think about fish and water, and to bracket for just a few minutes your scepticism about the value of the totally obvious. […]

Probably the most dangerous thing about an academic education – least in my own case – is that it enables my tendency to over-intellectualise stuff, to get lost in abstract argument inside my head, instead of simply paying attention to what is going on right in front of me, paying attention to what is going on inside me. […]

And I submit that this is what the real, no bullshit value of your liberal arts education is supposed to be about: how to keep from going through your comfortable, prosperous, respectable adult life dead, unconscious, a slave to your head and to your natural default setting of being uniquely, completely, imperially alone day in and day out. […]

This, I submit, is the freedom of a real education, of learning how to be well-adjusted. You get to consciously decide what has meaning and what doesn’t. You get to decide what to worship. […]

That is real freedom. That is being educated, and understanding how to think. The alternative is unconsciousness, the default setting, the rat race, the constant gnawing sense of having had, and lost, some infinite thing. […]

The capital-T Truth is about life BEFORE death.

It is about the real value of a real education, which has almost nothing to do with knowledge, and everything to do with simple awareness; awareness of what is so real and essential, so hidden in plain sight all around us, all the time, that we have to keep reminding ourselves over and over:

“This is water.”

“This is water.”

It is unimaginably hard to do this, to stay conscious and alive in the adult world day in and day out. Which means yet another grand cliché turns out to be true: your education really IS the job of a lifetime. And it commences: now.

I wish you way more than luck.

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A Walk to Remember the Srebrenica Genocide in Bosnia

The Bowling Green community is invited to a memorial walk to commemorate the 20 year anniversary and the lives lost during the Srebrenica genocide in Bosnia. The walk will take place July 11 from 3-6pm in downtown. Backpacks, as a symbol of the victims lost that day, will be collected for schools in Warren County, KY. Donations will also be collected to purchase school supplies for children still living in impoverished areas of Bosnia and Herzegovina. For more information, join the Walk 2 Remember Srebrenica Genocide  event on Facebook.

Final Walk Flyer_Page_1

Final Walk Flyer_Page_2


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I wish someone had told me … : Study abroad anxiety & solutions

study abroad anxiety solutions

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Mauerfall 25th Anniversary: A Night of Remembering and Discussing the Fall of the Berlin Wall

Mauerfall copy

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Kentucky Honors Roundtable, Honors College at WKU, Fall 2014

Kentucky Honors Roundtable (KHR)

On Sep 26/27, 2014, the Honors College at WKU hosted the Kentucky Honors Roundtable, where Honors students from around Kentucky presented their exciting projects. We would like to take this opportunity to highlight those projects and thank all those who made this conference possible.


  • Brooke Barber, Agriculture: Influence of Rodents on Recruitment of Ecologically and Economically Important
  • Carla O. Beu, Agriculture: A Horse’s Response to Receiving Masterson Method Integrated Equine Performance Bodywork Treatments
  • Cherita Black, Psychology: Investigate the Social Well-Being of Older Adults with Narrative Life Review and Poetry-Writing
  • Chloe Brown, English for Secondary Teachers: Exploring the Intersection of Folk and Conventional Medicine in Albany, Kentucky
  • Erika Brown, Art History & Philosophy: Vicious Art or Vicious Audience? Understanding the Effects of Art on the Youthful and Vicious Audience in Aristotle’s Poetics
  • Jessica Brumley, English & Chinese Flagship: The Cultural Classroom Instructional Handbook
  • Jessica Colwell & Kiersten Richards, English & Spanish: Toppers at Sea Climate Change Challenge
  • John Corum, English & Religious Studies: Facing Faustus: Marlowe’s Critique of British Society
  • Minh Dao, Communication Studies: A Case Study of Internationalization at WKU
  • Forest T. Deacon, History & Philosophy: Gender and the History of Philosophy
  • Steven Gibson & Mary Spraggs, Physics: A Multi-Wavelength Analysis of Cold Evolving Interstellar Clouds
  • Elizabeth Gribbins, French & Political Science: Gendered Legislation: Effects of Percentages of Females in Legislatures on Policy
  • Tori Hampton, Meteorology: Correlating In Situ Aerosol Size Distribution Measurements with Cloud Coverage over the Sierra Nevada Mountains during the 2014 NASA SARP Campaign
  • Alex Hezik, Sustainability Studies & Chinese Flagship: Studying Chinese Intensively with University of Oregon Students in Harbin, China
  • Eli Kleinsmith, Film & Spanish: Paperboy (short film)
  • Ka Wang Li, Biology & Chemistry: Comparison of Shiga Toxin Generating Escherichia Coli Inactivation on Grounded Veal and Beef at Various Internal Temperatures
  • John Marcsik, Computer Science: The Game of Chess and Its Role in Higher Education
  • Chelsea McCarty, English & Philosophy: Place as a Means for Understanding an Author’s Work
  • Kristina Medero, Health Sciences: Investigation of Asymmetric Impacts on Protective Head Gear Using the Large Chamber Scanning Electron Microscope
  • Lora Haley Miller, Corporate and Organizational Communication: Rethinking Leadership Training: Relay for Life
  • Rachael Misiuta, Interior Design and Fashion Merchandising: Refined Simplicity: Spring 2015
  • Brittany Moster, English: A Comprehensive Guide to Study at Harlaxton
  • Dharmesh Patel, Biochemistry and Chemistry: Poly-3-Hexylthiophene Nanorods as Donor for Organic-Based Photovoltaics
  • Jade Primicias, Dance and English: Fusion of Art Forms Across the World: Exploring Contemporary Dance in the United States and Great Britain
  • Tyler Prochazka, International Affairs and Chinese Flagship: The World in Transition: A Comparative Analysis of Youth Perceptions in China and America
  • Shelby Rice, Advertising: Fighting for a Free and Open Web with Google’s #freeandopen campaign
  • Barrett Rogers, Biology: A Fishy Discovery: The Remarkable Swim Bladder of the Flagtail Prochilodus
  • Shelby Rogers, News/Editorial Journalism: Lady Susan: Adapting a Modern Heroine for Modern Times
  • Paige Settles, Political Science and Communication Studies: What Goes Up Must Not Come Down: The Tweet Retraction Process of Politicians
  • Mckinze Vowels, Psychology: A Descriptive Study of Exercise Science Students’ Knowledge of, and Attitudes Toward Older Adults

We would also like to thank the following students, faculty & staff for volunteering their time to make this conference possible

  • Marie Angeles
  • Lauren Bailes
  • Leslie Baylis
  • Wolfgang Brauner
  • Connor Brown
  • Natalie Buller
  • Ami Carter
  • Ben Coniff
  • Aimee Davis
  • Morgan Duff
  • Colton Hounshell
  • Sean Jacobson
  • Clay Motley
  • Liz Oates
  • Nate Phelps
  • David Sams
  • Brenna Sherril
  • Brooke Simmons
  • Katie Woosley






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Time Enough at Last

time enough at last
Time Enough at Last, Rick Finkelstein, 2012, Robert Mann Gallery, New York

7 Must-Read Books on Time


What the second law of thermodynamics has to do with Saint Augustine, landscape art, and graphic novels.

Time is the most fundamental common denominator between our existence and that of everything else, it’s the yardstick by which we measure nearly every aspect of our lives, directly or indirectly, yet its nature remains one of the greatest mysteries of science. Last year, we devoured BBC’s excellent What Is Time? and today we turn to seven essential books that explore the grand question on a deeper, more multidimensional level, spanning everything from quantum physics to philosophy to art.

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Whitewashing the Color Politics: The ‘Unfair’ Contruction of Beauty for the (Market) Beast – Dr. Gitiara Nasreen (Fulbright Scholar, Howard University & Professor, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh)


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IdeaFestival 2014 #10: Disruptive Thinking, Ideation & Art Creation: Interrupt, Confuse & Transform the Common Sense of Practices – Sam Van Aken

Sam Van Aken

Friday, October 3, 2014, 10.30-11.30am, (Kentucky Center)

Sam Van Aken’s approach to ideation and art making follows a highly disruptive process that interrupts, confuses and transforms the common sense of practices; the established order of things. This process, which Van Aken will explore at IF, is reflected in his two current bodies of art work: A Hole in the Sky where he attempts to alter the actual weather by using a plane to punch holes in clouds and produce the phenomena known as Jacob’s Ladder and The Tree of 40 Fruit, which is a single tree that has the capacity to grow over 40 different varieties of stone fruit. Attempting the miraculous, these two bodies of work draw from many sources, including a quote by Philosopher David Hume that “a miracle is a violation of the laws of nature.”

Presented in partnership with artwithoutwalls.

Sam Van Aken’s artwork takes place in dissonant moments, in the gaps and lost meanings that are created when form and significance are broken down and reordered. Through an expansive approach that incorporates new technology and traditional modes of art making, his work crosses and melds such genres as sculpture, sound, video, and performance. Taking place in lived experience, through such forms as radio hoaxes, a Hollywood film carried out into the real, a tree that grows 40 different types of fruit, and a hole created in the winter skies over New York, his work is an intervention in public and social space that transforms cultural configurations, the common sense of practices, and the natural order of things as it delivers one at a place of unknowing where the very possibility of openness and change occur.

Born in Reading Pennsylvania, Sam Van Aken received his undergraduate education in Art and Communication Theory, studying Symbolic Interactionism which explores how meaning is derived from social interaction and modified through interpretation. Immediately following his studies he lived in Poland and worked with dissident artists under the former communist regime through the auspices of the Andy Warhol Foundation and the United States Information Agency. Van Aken received his MFA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2001 and since this time his work has been exhibited nationally and internationally receiving numerous honors including a Joan Mitchell Foundation Award, Association of International Curator’s of Art Award and a Creative Capital Grant. Sam Van Aken lives and works in Syracuse New York, where he is currently an Associate Professor in the Art Department at Syracuse University.

Key ideas

  • disruption as interruption
  • confusion creates new ideas – Confuse students to help them learn — John Seely Brown, Chief of Confusion
  • ‘Art and poetry take place where language breaks down.’ (Beckett)
  • A Hole in the Sky – Jacob’s Ladder — weather modification
  • The Tree of 40 Fruits – how to graft a variety of fruits
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IdeaFestival 2014 #9: Average Is Over: Powering America Beyond the Age of the Great Stagnation – Tyler Cowen, Marginal Revolution

Average is Over

Tyler Cowen

Friday, October 3, 2014, 9-10am, Kentucky Center


George Mason University economist and author Tyler Cowen explains why being satisfied with “pretty good” in today’s innovation-driven, hyper-competitive world can quickly become a fast track to irrelevance.


Marginal Revolution blog

Tyler Cowen is the Holbert L. Harris Professor of Economics at George Mason University and General Director of the Mercatus Center. He received his PhD in economics from Harvard University in 1987. His book The Great Stagnation: How America Ate the Low-Hanging Fruit of Modern History, Got Sick, and Will (Eventually) Feel Better was a New York Times best-seller. He was recently named in an Economist poll as one of the most influential economists of the last decade and last year Bloomberg BusinessWeek dubbed him “America’s Hottest Economist.” Foreign Policy Magazine named him as one of its “Top 100 Global Thinkers” of 2011. He co-writes a blog Marginal Revolution and has recently inaugurated an on-line education project, MRUniversity.

Key ideas

  • average is over = winner-take-all market
  • how to be/make yourself relevant/do well: the future belong to the thick-skinned, techies, persuasive, conscientious
  • labor’s falling share, capital’s rising share – today’s US in one picture
  • the new normal: part of a longer trend, especially the last 15 years: declining wages (stagnating in Germany = success?)
  • the Great Recession does not feel like it’s over for most people
  • 10-20% of Americans are doing very well and increasingly better
  • the global intelligentsia loves ideas and access exponentially grows, and they feel they are better off
  • IT & automation drives global economy: we are only globalizing because we have IT: use IT to leverage and sell to global markets – are you riding that wave or are you competing against it — who are the winners, and who are the losers (global political economy)
  • emerging global middle class – BRICS
  • not much progress in transportation technology – Concorde — progress in the material world of ‘stuff’ has slowed down / not step change: cars, kitchens vs ICT — most progress has stopped: very uneven technological ‘progress’ — those who ride the high-tech wave benefit the most
  • comment: diminishing returns from technological ‘progress’
  • key question: Working with or against tech & globalization?
  • 20% of US population will benefit to the point of becoming millionaires (?) – 80/20 world
  • 14% of Singaporeans are millionaires by wealth (not income), not counting real estate
  • labor force participation rate is falling – fewer people are working
  • more people are getting jobs, but more people are also giving up looking for jobs – they are not counted as unemployed
  • male earners 18-40 have been the biggest losers; they have lost the most – manufacturing, physical strength
  • socioeconomic gender gap
  • education is no panacea
  • high school graduation rates peaked in the late 1960s – has been stagnating around 70% for over 4 decades
  • How to do well:
  • Do not overly focus on technical skills and quantitative methods
  • rather: intelligent application of the humanities through marketing and persuasion – interpersonal skills; 4 Cs — excellent/honors education
  • Talent development: specialization + 4Cs + experience
  • start doing things that you computers cannot do
  • new service sector jobs: millionaire personal tutors in Asia: motivate children; online education; healthcare; carpentry
  • measuring value, measuring you: 60% of employers check credit scores of applicants
  • we tend to react more negatively about negative things than positively to positive things
  • depression will increase, because more and more people will not make it to the top
  • the future belong to the thick-skinned, techies, persuasive, conscientious


  • globalization as last phase of modernization
  • modernization as functional differentiation: the global economy/system thrives on growing, not shrinking differences
  • technological determinism?
  • what about diminishing returns from technological innovation?
  • some manufacturing is coming back but not the manufacturing jobs – automation, IT
  • big tech breakthroughs: driverless cars work already; drones (already commercial drone deliveries in Germany)
  • the future of education is learning how to learn, lifelong learning, retraining
  • growing middle-class incomes: scarce mineral resources & growing global demand, especially from Asia: unconventional fuels: fracking, tar sands: Western North Dakota, Alberta, Western Australia, Peru



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