Education inspired: MAV Talks provide new platform for faculty
Monday, May 4, 2015 2:52 PM
What do snakes, beer, empires and entrepreneurship have in common? They were all topics discussed by Colorado Mesa University faculty members at the inaugural MAV Talks event on May 13 in the Mesa Experimental Theatre.
MAV Talks is modeled after the popular TED Talks, a series of short talks exploring ideas in technology, entertainment and design. TED Talks are filmed in front of a live audience and spread online, inspiring viewers around the world.
MAV Talks is CMU’s version of this series, focusing on the work being done by university faculty. The program puts faculty first, enabling them to talk about their passions, experiences at CMU and their work. The live event is a treat for audience members, and the talks were filmed and will be put on the institutions website so that prospective students, parents, community members and anyone who missed the event can enjoy them as well.
Eight speakers — Doug O’Roark, PhD; Tim Casey, PhD; Kurt Haas, PhD; Tim D’Andrea, PhD; Alaa Kassir; Emma Fleck, PhD; Paul Hampton, PhD; and Kristen Yun, DM — were invited to give three- to five-minute talks.
The evening began with an impressive talk by O’Roark, a history professor who discussed CMU’s transition from general education to the new essential learning curriculum. “Today’s college graduates, over the course of their work life, can expect to change careers five to seven times,” he told the audience. “To be successful in that kind of a work environment takes a nimble mind. And that is exactly what the new essential learning curriculum is designed to do — create a nimble mind.”
He and Casey, a political science professor, will co-teach Technology and Empire, one of the first Maverick Milestone courses, next semester. Casey’s talk explored the basics of that course. When we think of empires, he said, we think of visionaries like Christopher Columbus, Genghis Khan and Julius Caesar. The milestone class will not focus on these heroes or inventors, but instead on the societies that organized to create empires.
Haas, an English professor, will co-teach next semester’s other milestone course with business professor Morgan Bridge, PhD. Success and You, Haas explained, will consider the complicated, contradictory ways our society attributes success to individuals. He used examples from the course to outline the framework of a milestone class.
Audience members learned about the chemistry of beer brewing from D’Andrea, an assistant professor of chemistry. He also discussed real-world applications of some of the research conducted by CMU’s chemistry students and faculty, including assisting Kannah Creek Brewing Company with getting its beers’ balance just right.
Kassir, associate technical professor of developmental mathematics, described some of the challenges that non-traditional students routinely face and overcome. Fleck, an assistant professor of business, explained how supporting innovation can lead to exciting, world-changing results.
Skittish audience members cringed as Hampton, an assistant professor of biology, discussed the fascinating interdisciplinary importance of snakes while holding a live specimen. The evening wrapped up with a talk by Yun, an assistant professor of music, that showcased new methods of stage presentation by classical musicians. She finished with a cello performance, accompanied by a violinist, pianist and student dancers.
The Marketing Office hopes to make MAV Talks a regular event. The next session will take place in early fall.
Dana Nunn, Director of Media Relations