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Phone: 901/678-2843
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Enjoy “Great Conversations” April 18th with Faculty of the U of M College of Arts & Sciences

For release: April 1, 2013
For press information, contact Curt Guenther, 901-678-2843

Whether you’re more interested in politics, religion or the weather, those and other hot topics will be open for discussion at this year’s “Great Conversations” dinner, presented by the faculty of the College of Arts & Sciences of the University of Memphis on Thursday, April 18, at the Memphis Botanic Garden.  There you’ll join friends and alumni of the University at tables of eight or ten to discuss topical subjects, with the discussions led by professors who have expertise in the topic at each table. 

Guests choose in advance, when registering, which topic they want to spend the evening discussing.  The event will begin with a hospitality reception at 6 p.m., followed by dinner at 6:30.

The cost is $65 per person.  The attire for the evening is business casual.  Reservations are required by April 11; they may be made by calling 901-678-1332.

Among the ‘great conversationalists’ and their topics are:

  • Reinventing the Modern University: Challenges in the Coming Decade, with Dr. M. David Rudd, provost;

  • The American Political Party … Friend or Foe to Democracy?, with Dr. Eric Groenendyk, assistant professor, political science;

  • Deluge to Drought:  A Historical Perspective of Recent Extreme Weather, with Dr. Dorian Burnette, assistant professor, earth sciences;

  • The Myth of Absolute Safety: When Governments or Corporations Put Our Health at Risk, with Dr. Kristen Iversen, associate professor, English;

  • One Mouth, Two Ears, Ten Fingers: Telling, Hearing and Writing a Story, with Courtney Miller Santo, creative writing program administrator;

  • Territorial Disputes and Instability in East Asia, with Dr. Catherine Phipps, assistant professor, east Asian history;

  • Tennessee: A History of Innovation in Education, with Dr. Alistair Windsor, assistant professor, mathematical sciences and co-director of Tigers Teach;

  • Gun Violence in Memphis:  Can Anything Be Done?, with Dr. Richard Janikowski, associate professor, criminal justice;

  • Policy Tactical Urbanism in Memphis- New Approaches to Urban Revitalization in Memphis Neighborhoods, with Leah Dawkins, Community Redevelopment liaison, University of Memphis  and Dr. Stan Hyland, professor and head, School of Urban Affairs and Public Policy;

  • The French Presence in the Mid-South, with Dr. Will Thompson, assistant dean, College of Arts & Sciences and associate professor, French;

  • Science and the Bible, with Dr. Joan Schmelz, professor, physics;

  • Preserving our Privacy – Does it Matter?, with Dr. Sajjan Shiva, chair and professor, computer science;

  • Launching The Green Machine Mobile Food Market: The U of M’s Role in Promoting Urban Food Security, with Dr. Kenneth M. Reardon, professor, city and regional planning;

  • Stressed Out: What it Does to Us and How it Impacts Health Care Policy, with Dr. Kathryn Hicks, assistant professor, anthropology;

  • Five Worthwhile Cancer Screenings, with Dr. Reed Baskin, alumnus, oncologist.

This event is coordinated by the Great Conversations Committee of the Dean’s Advisory Board.

More information is available online at


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