The Great Debate

“The Great Debate,” a forum designed for first-year students in which professors discuss the significance of their various liberal arts disciplines, will be held during Bengal Pause (12:15–1:30 p.m.) on Tuesday, September 25, in Bulger Communication Center S2.

The panel will be moderated by Scott Johnson, assistant dean of First-Year and Academic Support Programs, and will feature Gary Marotta, professor of history and social studies education, representing the social sciences; Susan Leist, professor of English, representing the humanities; Lisa Hunter, assistant professor of music, representing the arts; and Christopher Pennuto, associate professor of biology, representing the natural sciences.

The discussion will emphasize the validity and interdependency of the liberal arts, Johnson said, demonstrating how each, though distinctive in its own right, is germane to higher learning. In a “Crossfire-like” setting, the Great Debate will be peppered with “good-natured barbs, but will be proactive and fun,” Johnson said. “We tease each other, but we get our points across.”

The event is designed to help students better understand the purpose of their liberal arts requirements, and show them why their classes matter. “The discussion will reinforce what students are learning in BSC 101, as well as the core requirements of the Intellectual Foundations program,” said Johnson. “It’s designed to disarm resistances and help them appreciate what they’re learning. Every student, regardless of course or major, could benefit by attending the event.”

The event is free and open to the public. Faculty and staff are invited to attend the debate and join in the discussion, and are encouraged to invite their students as well.