An audience of 80-something faculty, students, and members of the community filled Brantl Hall on Thursday, April 19 to hear panelists representing each of the five undergraduate colleges on campus debate the issue "The 'Golden Rule' -- Why Abide By It?": Ronald Sharps, Associate Dean for CART, Zoe Burkholder, Department of Educational Foundations for CEHS, Avram Segall, Department of Political Science & Law for CHSS, Scott Kight, Department of Biology & Molecular Biology for CSAM, and Mark Kay, Department of Marketing for SBUS.
Each panelist had five minutes to speak to how the "golden rule" relates or should relate to his or her discipline, as well as how it might not. After all, as George Bernard Shaw has his character John Tanner from the play Man and Superman point out, "the golden rule is that there are no golden rules"! After moderator Dorothy Rogers, Chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religion, invited questions from the floor -- students first -- lively discussion between panel and audience members ensued.
As Alan Cottrell, Associate Dean of CHSS, who welcomed audience and panelists on behalf of Dean Morrissey, pointed out, the day’s “intercollegiate” discussion represented a chance to recover the Renaissance ideal of the interconnectedness of all knowledge, such as it was before modern academia fragmented it into separate disciplines, departments, and schools.
This was the first of what Victoria Larson, Director of the Institute for the Humanities, hopes to make an annual event in the Institute calendar, offering an unusual opportunity for "cross-campus interdisciplinary conversation" among members of different colleges at MSU, which is inevitably quite rare on a campus of our size.