With Wheaton having more than 150 faculty members teaching a variety of courses, it is impossible to take every one that seems appealing. With this in mind, Kim Nash ’12 and Thomas Bruemmer ’12 created the ‘Flash Seminar’ in 2012. This 20-minute lecture series allows students and faculty members to share new and evolving ideas, outside a traditional classroom setting.
The ‘Flash Seminar’ went on hiatus when former Educational Council Chair Felicia Stewart ’13 graduated and was recently re-started as a Student Government Association (SGA) Initiative. Current Educational Council Chair, Avi Anshika ’16 said, “We spent a month re-organizing and reaching out to appropriate members of faculty. We then kick-started the entire project and plan to have five per semester.”
This semester has seen three flash seminars. Associate Professor of Philosophy Stephen Mathis held the first on March 12. It was entitled “Comparing Affirmative Consent in Sexual Misconduct Policy to Consent in Contract Law” and was attended by 50 people. Visiting Assistant Professor of Psychology, Lindsay Orchowski spoke on “The Treatment of Anxiety” on April 13.
The last ‘Flash Seminar’ of this semester was held on April 20th. Assistant Professor of Psychology, Matthew Gingo gave a talk entitled, “When Honesty Isn’t the Best Policy- The Development of Deception in Close and Controlling Relationships.” Gingo used his research on moral resistance and children’s reasoning about social justice, to talk about lying and its relation to imbalances in power.”
“The Education Council said I could “talk about anything”, so I chose my primary research area,” said Gingo, “I was really flattered to be invited give a flash lecture and I love the fact that it is student driven. (The seminars) seem like a great way to bring students with diverse interests together to have a conversation that they might not otherwise have a venue for.”
Approximately 20 students attended this seminar. Said Gingo, “I thought that the questions and comments were really thoughtful and highlighted the diverse backgrounds and training of the group. Social justice does not belong to a single discipline; it’s a core concern that we all should be considering in our academic and intellectual lives. It was clear to me that people were drawing connections between their academic training and interests and the psychological work that I was presenting.”
Abby Jackson ’17, who was in attendance, said, “It was interesting to hear about findings concerning lying as a tool to subvert power dynamics and social hierarchies. Throughout life you definitely learn that there are instances when absolute honesty isn’t always the best policy. I would definitely attend another flash seminar on topics concerning psychology, gender politics, art or photography.”
These ‘Flash Seminars’ are set to continue next semester with improvements to the organizational process. “We haven’t been able to advertise well because we get confirmation maybe one week or two weeks before the actual talk. Now that we’ve had three (seminars), more people have gotten to know about it. We want to have diversity in the speakers so that students have an avenue to discover more about different departments,” said Anshika.