Truth in Society

November 1, 1994

Prompt #33


Beyond the program

We've said that one of the important parts of this course is the engagement in the social, intellectual, cultural life of the community that is possible on a university campus and in a university town, but which often is missed in the rush of class work and socializing.

We said that we wanted to make such engagement an "official" part of the course -- meaning that you'd not only get "credit" for doing it, but that it would be in some sense "required" -- but, as well, that you'd have a good deal of choice in what sorts of things you decided to participate in. We also said that we'd want a level of participation which went beyond mere attendance: we think discussing such things afterward -- and discussing them in the context of a community like the Aquinas program -- is an important part of the learning that's possible.

We've already invited people to engage in a number of such activities -- the production of The Occupation of Heather Rose and the Theatre New Brunswick production of Yard Sale, for instance -- without having had any formal guidelines for how this sort of thing should be done. This document is to suggest some such guidelines.

First, everyone will be required, over the course of the year, to attend a dozen events in this "cultural, artistic, intellectual extra-curricular events" category. In each case, in order to get "credit" for having participated, three things are necessary:

  1. you need to make sure that at least eight other people participate (and you need to clear the event with Thom, John or Russ -- there are events that we might say we don't want to count: you can probably guess what some of them might be).
  2. you need to attend the event and write a reflection on it which can then be made available to everyone else who attended, and to the rest of the class. The reflection has to be available in a reasonable amount of time -- we'll decide on deadlines as we go. We may change the way in which the reflection needs to be made available -- in might be in drive Q:; it might be in hard copy, or it might be on an electronic bulletin board. We'll make this clear every time.
  3. You need to read the reflections of at least four other people, and write useful, substantive responses to them. "Good Job" or "I liked that" won't cut it.
As we said at the beginning of the year, we'll make some suggestions for things you might want to attend, but we'll also be happy to hear suggestions from you -- we don't always know everything that's going on. We'll consider a pretty wide range of events, from theatre productions and lectures to gallery openings and concerts. Try us.

And remember, at least twelve by April.


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