Arete contribution submitted by Amber Thompson
The inaugural meeting of the Honors Salon at WKU was a success. This informal discussion was hosted and moderated by Wolfgang Brauner, an advisor at the Honors College at WKU. The scholars discussed the Internet and its impact on the way that we as a society learn and live. Of the nineteen scholars present, seven were WKU faculty members, including Craig Cobane, Leslie Baylis, Sam McFarland, Nathan Phelps, and Elizabeth Gish.
According to Brauner, the first meeting of the Salon “went well in the sense of creating a relaxed, informal atmosphere… not just another academic exercise.” Brauner’s goal for the discussion was to bring people together that may have never crossed paths under ordinary circumstances. Brauner stated that attendance was around what he had expected based on his previous experience with similar discussion groups at the Goethe Institute in Boston. He also explained the importance of continuing learning outside of the typical classroom environment, while stressing the significance of student participation in informal situations such as the Salon.
Brauner emphasized that he “welcomed criticism from the students that attended” and placed great value on their input in making the group more satisfying for all involved. Most of the feedback from the first meeting expressed concern about the argumentative atmosphere that had developed by the end of the discussion. Brauner stated that this was common in the case in new discussion groups, and that the next meeting would adopt a different format to ensure that an equal discussion, not a debate, would take place.
The next Honors Salon is entitled, “Who Cares about Humanity?” and will be led by Dr. Sam McFarland, a professor in the Psychology Department at WKU and the former director of the WKU Honors Program. The discussion will take place March 5, 2013, at Wolfgang Brauner’s house. All interested students are encouraged to contact Brauner for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information about the Honors Salon, along with current events at the Honors College, can be found on the Honors Advising Blog: http://honorsadvising.blog.wku.edu
(Source: Honors Headlines, Feb 22, 2013)