New Season, New Great Conversations

For more than 22 years, Great Conversations has created a community for those eager to explore, think, and understand. Through salon-style events, Great Conversations shares the work of our outstanding College of Liberal Arts faculty, who facilitate discussions on some of the most engaging topics in the arts, humanities, and social sciences. This fall, Great Conversations has been reimagined to welcome more community members to experience this CLA tradition through an open-to-the-public kickoff event and affordable pricing options.

Traditionally held in intimate settings with one speaker engaging a small audience, the 2017- 2018 Great Conversations season will kick off with a community oriented discussion-in-the-round. The topic, Civic Engagement and Governance in a Polarized Society, is meant to explore how we meaningfully interact with our peers and political system in a time of division.

“Now, conversations like these are more important than ever, and we’re proud that the liberal arts gives people the tools they need to engage with one another in meaningful ways,” explains Dr. Ben Withers, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts.

Held on Sept. 28, 2017 from 6-8pm at the Iris & Michael Smith Alumni Center on the CSU campus, the Kickoff Event will feature community leaders and College of Liberal Arts alumni including former Colorado Governor, Bill Ritter (’78), and former New York Times Public Editor, Liz Spayd (’81). Beloved Department of Political Science professor, Dr. John Straayer, will serve as a moderator for the town hall-style discussion.

“We think starting off the season with a conversation about engagement and governance in a polarized society couldn’t be more timely and the speakers are ideal for the subject,” shares Kickoff Event sponsors and longtime Great Conversations members, Kellie and Steve Sponberg. “The amazing new Iris and Michael Smith Alumni center is the perfect backdrop for this community kick-off event that will showcase an example of the speakers, the topics and the discussions that make Great Conversations such a valuable program.”

In addition to the Kickoff Event, the 2017-2018 Great Conversations season will feature four salon-style events including:

Some Have Greatness Thrust Upon ’em’: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare™ and Why He Still Matters
Presented by Roze Hentschell, Professor of English, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies
Hosted in the University Theatre
Thursday, November 9, 2017

Vulnerability: Balancing the Environment and Well-Being in a Time of Climate Change
Presented by Kenneth Shockley, Associate Professor of Philosophy
Location to be announced
Thursday, February 1, 2018

Musical Creativity in Autism: Exploring Growth through Collaborative Peer Interaction
Presented by Erik Johnson, Assistant Professor of Music Education and Blythe LaGasse, Associate Professor of Music Therapy
Hosted at The Music District
Thursday, April 12, 2018

Summer Soirée
Featuring entertainment from the School of Music, Theatre, and Dance
Hosted by Marcia and Jerry Donnan
Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Great Conversations memberships support the Ann Gill Faculty Development Endowment, which help the College fun the creativity and scholarship of the faculty through professional development grants. It is through this support that our faculty can remain on the cutting edge of their disciplines, developing new knowledge and new capabilities that in turn will benefit the students who work and learn alongside them.

The new Great Conversations membership pricing offers affordable payment plans, making the innovative programming more accessible to community members. Further, now Great Conversations members receive membership to Colorado State University’s 1870 Club. Learn more about the 1870 Club benefits here.

Champion the liberal arts at CSU, and join Great Conversations today!