Creative Intelligence Diversifies Education

by Nadia Smith

The Creative Intelligence Series is pretty self-explanatory, considering its name.

“(The name) comes from the idea that people have multiple intelligences,” said Dr. Meg Upchurch.

Upchurch, a member of the president’s cabinet, said that the idea for the series came from the top, a suggestion from President Owen Williams.

“The goal is to celebrate all these different kinds of intelligences,” said Upchurch.

The goal of the series is to have weekly presentations or performances that showcase people doing interesting, new work in their fields. The series will focus on visual and performing artists of all kinds — professionals, scholars, researchers and community activists who for the most part are just starting out in their careers and producing novel work.

Upchurch said the series will bring more variety to campus, enriching the intellectual life and conversation on campus. The presentations will be in various formats, whether lectures, discussions, gallery talks or perhaps, in the future, video linkups for conversations with presenters over long distance. There will be a mix of local, national and international presenters.

This year the series is a pilot program. If the lectures are successful, the plan is to continue and work up gradually to weekly presentations. Upchurch expects the events to start small but hopes that the series will be something that people will look forward to so that they’ll want to check every week what’s happening in the Creative Intelligence Series.

The series is designed to engage members from every part of campus. Jeff Mudrak, director of human resources, is promoting attendance by campus staff by encouraging supervisors to accommodate staff members wishing to attend, allowing them paid time off if they wish to attend a talk which occurs during their working shift.

Karen Anderson, coordinator of community service and civic engagement, is also involved in promoting the series.

“(Mudrak’s support) really reflect(s) the spirit of this series … by bringing together the full campus to engage in learning,” said Anderson.

The next event is a post-Kenan Lecture tea at Graham Cottage on Feb. 17 at 4 p.m. The following week will feature a talk with Dr. Ellen Furlong, who is currently doing innovative research into moral behavior of primates.

Upchurch said much of Furlong’s talk will focus on how to research in this area. The diversity in the speakers can be seen in the lineup posted on Inside Transy, which
also includes an award-winning baritone and a talk about Mexican cinema.

Upchurch is actively looking for suggestions for speakers and would love to have more input from students.

“I … hope that the conversation doesn’t stop just because a presentation is over, but challenges us with new questions” said Anderson. “I hope it will encourage our community to rethink concepts in a new light, during the presentation and long after a presentation has concluded.”

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