At its heart, science is about learning to see. It is about remembering the natural curiosity that is our human birth right. It is about questioning the things we take for granted. In fact the things we cannot see are often the most important, and even something as mundane as the ground beneath our feet holds surprises if we are open to learning about it. Soil and ecosystem ecologist Teresa Balser will take us on an exploration of soil and science education as moderators of our future. We will consider the value of encountering the unexpected, and the transformative power of laughter in learning. (And yes - hopefully we will learn a little bit about dirt along the way!)
Professor of Psychology, Rice University
Monday, October 19, 2015, 3:30-4:30 p.m., B110, BSB
"Mindbugs and Gorillas and White Bears, Oh My!"
This talk will highlight a topic that lies at the intersection of both social and organizational psychology, which is that of subtle biases. Mikki Hebl will demonstrate how people - even well-intentioned and highly educated individuals - hold such biases, possess often positively skewed beliefs about themselves, and express prejudice and discrimination toward others. She will describe the research that she has done in this area and discuss individual and organizational strategies to reduce such biases.
Lisa Russ Spaar
Professor of English, University of Virginia
Monday, October 26, 2015, 3:30-4:30 p.m., Bennett Auditorium, Draper
"The Golden Laboratory: Poetry in the Classroom and Why We Need It"
The physician and poet William Carlos Williams wrote that “It is difficult / to get the news from poems / yet men die miserably every day / for lack / of what is found there." Probably the lack of poetry can no more kill us than the presence of it can save our lives. But certain processes and practices of mind-cultivated when poetry is studied deeply, in real time, in a classroom, in a cohort-foster skills that are needed perhaps now more than ever, when the very technologies which offer us enthralling opportunities for learning can also besiege our attention in ways that make it difficult to focus on anything, let alone verse. How can "digital natives" and late-comers alike-hop-scotching among e-mail, on-line shopping, big data, attachments, homework, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Yik Yak, gaming, Twitter, YouTube, and a constant stream of text messages-benefit from the concentration, imaginative exercise, ways of knowing, and enrichment that the exploration of poetry inimitably affords?