The Great(est) Conversation(s) - Request for Proposals

In Recognition of SMC's Academic Identity

The theme of “The Great(est) Conversation(s)” frames many events which showcase our academic distinctiveness.  Our community is characterized by a particular educational experience, a “functioning model of what life can look like when first-rate intellectuals examine their faith, live their faith, and enjoy positive relationships in community with others who believe differently or not (at) all” (Dr. Richard Yanikoski, former President and CEO of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, in Veritas, March 2012).  The SMC educational experience is exemplified by Collegiate Seminar, whose pedagogy of shared inquiry and discussion of essential questions about faith, morality, ethics and social justice increasingly characterizes both our undergraduate and graduate programs.  In recognition of our unique academic identity, the Provost's Office will continue to sponsor events that celebrate our academic distinctiveness and model discussion that lends itself to unanticipated creation and the synthesis of perspectives.

Faculty or staff who are interested in organizing and sponsoring an event which meets the guidelines below and submit a successful proposal will receive a $500 stipend and a budget of up to $5000 for the event, which can include guest speakers, promotional materials, food, or supplies.  Proposals for “The Great(est) Conversation(s)” should be submitted to the Office of the Provost by September 15 for funding during the same or a subsequent academic year

Guidelines for Submission

1.  The Topic:

Should address a great idea (e.g., truth, beauty, goodness, justice) or examine a perennial question (e.g., Who are we?  What happens when we die?  What is the role of government?)

Should include perspectives from more than one discipline.

Should showcase (but need not be limited to) Saint Mary’s College faculty.

2.  The format:

Should promote synthesis beyond two competing perspectives.

Should create space for audience participation, particularly from students.  Events that are directly connected to courses and required by faculty will be given priority.

Should be aimed at discovery.

Should include a common “text” posted on the SMC website at least one week in advance of the event.

Should be accessible to audiences beyond SMC.

3.  The desired result:

Promote intellectual integrity, mutual respect and tolerance, a willingness to listen to and take seriously the ideas of others, public consideration of contested issues, and a commitment to rational discourse and civility.

Showcase the Saint Mary’s College commitment to active pedagogies, in which students participate as much as possible in creating their own understanding.

Advance liberal learning by engaging in multiple modes of inquiry and demonstrating their impact in a diverse and digital world.