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‘Table Talks’ allow students to discuss real issues with faculty

October 14, 2015
KOKOMO, Ind. — Taking away the pressure of the classroom for the freedom to talk about real issues motivated Paul Cook to create an informal venue for discussion.

Cook, assistant professor of English, was inspired to start “Table Talks” after a recent survey revealed students wanted more time to discuss complicated topics.

Students and faculty will sit on a panel, enjoy lunch and dive into challenging subjects for an afternoon of guided discussion, which Cook would like to continue on a monthly basis.

The first talk, about the increasing cost of higher education, is planned from noon to 1 p.m. Thursday, October 15, in the Kelley Student Center, Room 130 B. Mark Canada, vice chancellor for academic affairs, will attend.

Cook said the vice chancellor’s involvement in the event lets participants know that they are heard, further encouraging them to reach out to leaders in the community to ignite change in the future.

“The conversation will help us all to appreciate this complexity and perhaps see a way forward,” Canada said. “Perhaps the most important outcome will be the valuable interaction between students and faculty — itself a worthwhile experience that transcends the topic.”

Cook said the 18-1 student-to-faculty ratio makes this environment ideal for nurturing the scholarly relationships between students and professors.

“It’s important that we’re listening to students,” he said, “and IU Kokomo is the perfect place to do it.”

Discussions don’t stop when the talk ends, either. Cook created a page on Canvas, IU Kokomo’s online hub for academic communication, to share scholarly articles, news stories and more resources for further correspondence.

“This is the essence of education – equipping others with the tools to become self-motivated,” he said.

For more information on the event or how to get involved, contact Cook paulcook@iuk.edu, or Erin Doss efdoss@iuk.edu.

Story written by Kaitlin Fallowfield. Kaitlin is an intern in the Office of Media & Marketing.

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

Last updated: 10/14/2015