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Wednesday, October 23 • 8:30am - 9:30am
Lightning Session: How One Campus Created a Space for Intellectual Discussion Outside of the Classroom

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La Salle University’s Explorer Café is an informal, interdisciplinary forum that brings the campus community together for engaging, interactive discussions on thought-provoking topics. Cafés are open to the entire community and no prior experience or technical expertise is required for participation. Cafés were created to address the lack of engaged intellectual discussion outside of the classroom and the reluctance of community members to dialogue around controversial topics.

Two main components characterize a typical café event: the initial background or introduction to a topic that frames a question (may involve a BRIEF presentation, informal remarks, multimedia, etc.) followed by group discussion. Facilitators are invited to frame the title of the café in the form of a question and to maintain a commitment to inquiry rather than to agendas or lessons learned as take-aways. A good facilitator introduces a topic, provides just enough background information, and raises compelling questions that launch the room into discussion in pairs, small groups, or as a plenary. Conversations are unscripted and can be far ranging. Group discussion lets the audience's natural curiosity and interest play a role in deciding what aspects of a topic are discussed. Facilitators are coached to employ pedagogical techniques that promote dialogue and ongoing consideration of a topic from multiple perspectives.

Some recent cafés include:
• When is it right to do wrong?
• What does my DNA have to say about my identity?
• Do unions belong on university campuses?

avatar for Tara Carr-Lemke

Tara Carr-Lemke

Assistant Director, De La Salle Institute, La Salle University
student-led deliberative dialogue and conversation, community-based teaching and learning, immigrant rights organizing

Wednesday October 23, 2019 8:30am - 9:30am EDT
Commonwealth A1