January 19, 1995
We want to use this meeting to get a number of specific things done, and also to give us a chance to be together as a whole group, to touch base, compare notes, and see if there are mutual concerns we need to talk about. Among the specific things we want to get done today are creating some task forces, clarifying some things about the "Occasions," and raising the question of what sort of venue we might want to use to share what we've learned this year with the rest of the world (and how much of the rest of the world we might want to share it with).
In the first prompt we said that during this term we'd be setting up volunteer "task forces" like the one which prepared the playgoers' guide to the evening of Ionesco last term. We expect that there will be enough of these so that everyone will have an opportunity to volunteer for at least one.
Among other things, we're asking for people to (1) edit the November program evaluations (we already had a set of volunteers for that, but in the rush of end-of-term business we didn't get any farther with it and we didn't think it made sense to ask those people who volunteered to do it then), (2) to create some text for an alternate Aquinas program brochure on the basis of the December program evaluation texts, (3, 4) 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 (5) a number of others we'll be announcing.
What will be involved in these?
For the editing of the program evaluations, we've slightly changed the task. Each of the two groups working with these will get both files -- the program evaluations from November and, as well, the ones we did at the end of the first term. But they will have different tasks.
One group will be asked to read through the program evaluations and pull out the most typical, often-repeated and important comments, boiling the whole document down to a few pages. The audience for the final document will be, first, all of us involved in Truth in Society, so that we can see, and discuss, what's working and what's not, what problems still need to be addressed (and which have already been addressed), what changes need to be made now (and what changes should be made before we offer Truth in Society -- or the Aquinas program -- next term). The idea is that you'll save everyone the labor of having to read through the whole file, and still allow them to learn from it.
The second group will be asked to assemble, on the basis primarily of the December evaluations, but using the November ones as well, a program description more accurate than the one handed out last summer. This description may be the basis for a description to be handed out either next summer, to prospective students, or to those who've indicated an interest, as a way of making clearer what they're getting into.
The third and fourth groups will be asked to do some research on the two plays and to produce a playgoer's guide that will help people going to the Black Box or to the Playhouse to make sense of what they're seeing (and to give them something to read while they're waiting for the lights to go down).
Each of the groups will have John, Thom or Russ acting as consultant and resource person.
There will be other volunteer task forces set up during the term. Watch for announcements.
Some possible "Occasions"
There may be lots of other things coming up, but we've noticed at least the following:
You may have noticed that we have scheduled a "Chautauqua" for March. You may have wondered what that is. We used the term because it was unfamiliar enough that it wouldn't limit us before we've decided (a "Chautauqua" was a sort of popular educational entertainment -- involving lectures, dramatic and musical performances, and other things, that was popular in the late nineteenth century. It was named after the town in New York State where one was held every summer).
We'd like to be able to explain specifically what we have in mind for Truth in Society, but frankly we have a problem. We know that toward the end of the term we need to gather ourselves and perhaps others together to share what we've learned. We know we need a closing public event to celebrate the Truth in Society section's work. Our problem is that we don't know just what it should look like. Partly, that's because we don't yet know what we're going to be focusing on later this term; partly it's because we don't know what people are interested in doing. Maybe it should be an academic conference with papers presented; maybe it should be more like the event in December; maybe a "poster session"; maybe a slide show, a song-and-dance?
And, we wonder, who should be there? Just us? Other iguana sections? Different lizards? Other STU folk? UNB students and profs? Fredericton high school students? Other high school students? Who, we wonder, is the best audience for this event?
We fretted about this a fair bit when we were planning the schedule for this term. We know we will soon have to book a suitable space and do some invitations and/or advertising if that is appropriate. After much fretting, we worked out the obvious: it's not really our problem alone. It's a community problem. So we're turning to you for some help with this. We suggest we begin by brainstorming this problem, then float some possible solutions and see if there is a consensus. If there is, great; we can start planning. If there is not, we can try to move toward one. The first step, though, is to use our imaginations to create an event that for us best celebrates and shares our learnings. So what can you imagine you and your Truth in Society colleagues doing on March?
Think about it. Let's talk.