Emory students

Did someone say 'tailgate'?

Bringing faculty and students together around ideas in new ways is the goal of two projects resulting from recommendations by Emory's Commission on the Liberal Arts, which is now transitioning to its new implementation name, Coalition on the Liberal Arts (CoLA).

CoLA Seminars will connect participants through experiential learning communities that cross-conventional boundaries of disciplines and schools as well as typical academic calendar. "Intellectual tailgating" will invite the academic community to engage in informal and spirited conversations around big events on campus.

"We're looking to create experiences that are consistent with the core principles of a liberal arts education -- critical and creative thinking, strong communication skills, collaborative problem solving, and ethical engagement," says Robyn Fivush, associate vice provost of academic innovation. "And it’s important that we involve all of Emory's schools."

Fivush is working with two advisory committees -- made up of faculty, staff, and graduate and undergraduate students -- to implement the proposals. Kim Loudermilk, a senior lecturer in the Institute of Liberal Arts, is taking a lead on the seminar group. Simon Blakey, an associate professor of chemistry who is Residence Life's first director of academic engagement, is helping with leadership of the tailgating group.

Community members are invited to submit proposals for the CoLA seminars and intellectual tailgating events in early 2015. Pilot programs will launch during the 2015-2016 academic year and subsequently be refined, based on feedback.

"These initiatives grow out of what Emory offers as a residential liberal arts research university," Fivush says. "It's part of why all of us -- faculty, students, staff, and administrators -- choose to be in a university setting, because we're interested in and engaged with ideas."