January 10, 1995
Welcome back. We hope you had a restorative Christmas break, read and enjoyed (and wrote about) the booklets we produced, and are ready for a new term and a whole new set of challenges and opportunities.
For the first four and a half weeks of this term, one of the things you'll be doing is spending quite a lot of time in relatively structured reflections -- from the perspectives of sociology, religious studies, and language and literature ("English") -- on the issues which form the basis of this course, and which were raised by, though not always reflected on during, the research everyone did last term.
One of the ways in which we want to structure this process of reflection is by setting up specific small classes, or seminars, each conducted by at least one of us, in which we'll attempt to help everyone make more explicit some of the ideas and perspectives which can be drawn from our different disciplines. In practice, what we've done is to divide the class into three "seminar groups" (each of which is half of one of the focus groups from last term) and schedule four meetings of each group focused on one discipline (for each person, that'll be twelve meetings in all; the schedule is laid out on the schedule sheet we're also distributing).
Beyond these seminars, everyone will be engaging in a process of outside reading (and writing) which we expect will not only introduce you to some examples of writing and some ideas you might not have encountered otherwise, but which will also contribute toward the process whereby we make decisions about what particular focuses our work will adopt for the last section of the course (see Prompt #47 for more on this).
There are, in addition, a number of other tasks and opportunities we're setting up for this term. One involves a restructuring of the way in which discussions of "outside occasions" will be conducted. Everybody, we think, found it somewhat frustrating that the ways in which responses to such occasions got collected and exchanged for reading were so inconsistent and erratic last term. We've decided to do that differently this term, by moving the whole business to the STU "Online Discussion." There'll be a separate prompt explaining how to use the Online Discussion for those who haven't yet explored it. This explanation will be distributed along with a printout of all the reports on outside occasions which we received, in one form or another and through one medium or another, last term. We'll also be posting (and inviting others to post) lists of potential occasions on the bulletin board in EC 120.
We'll also be setting up volunteer "task forces" like the one which prepared the playgoers' guide to the evening of Ionesco last term. Among other things, we'll be asking for people to edit the November program evaluations, to create some text for an alternate Aquinas program brochure on the basis of the December program evaluation texts, to prepare at least two more playgoers' guides (one for the STU production of Top Girls, and one for the TNB production of The Importance of Being Earnest), and so forth. These, too, will be listed on the bulletin board so people can sign up for them.