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Campus Conversations

This Spring 2024 the Campus Conversations continue as faculty and staff are invited to a series of lunches and a happy hour gathering to discuss issues facing the campus and higher education. The aim is to offer a forum to engage one another on challenging topics, model open inquiry, and celebrate this work together.

Campus Conversations are sponsored by the Institute for Advancing American Values and the Heterodox Academy Campus Community at Boise State.

Spring 2024 Campus Conversation Events RSVP

Next Campus Conversation

Thursday, March 28

4:30pm – 6:00pm

Bronco Zone, Stueckle Sky Center

At the last Campus Conversation of the semester, in lieu of readings, we’d like to discuss the program, what went well, what was challenging, and ideas for next year.  We have the following questions to guide our conversation, but for the last one of the semester we’ll keep it a little lighter.

  • What went well?
  • What was challenging?
  • What was something you learned about engaging with colleagues that you didn’t expect?
  • What are the circumstances that are conducive to these kinds of conversations?
  • How should we plan for next year? And how do we broaden our audience?

Previous Campus Conversation Lunches

January 19, 2024

We are exploring the relationship between public institutions of higher education, and the general public. Attendees are encouraged to read the following two pieces:

  1. “The Moral Decline of Elite Universities” by Ben Sasse, Atlantic,  December 2023
  2. “We Are Indispensable to Democracy Flourishing: An Interview with John Hopkins President Ronald J. Daniels“ by Susan Greenberg, Higher Ed News, October 14, 2021

Discussion Questions to Consider

Reading 1 – “The Moral Decline of Eilte Universities” (Ben Sasse):
  • What do you think of Sasse’s description of a college education that it “promotes resilience and strength in our students so that they are tough enough, smart enough, and compassionate enough to engage big ideas in a world where people will always disagree”?
  • Is Sasse right that “Higher education is facing a crisis of public trust”? What about that “If we commit ourselves to the work of creating, discovering, and serving—not enforcing impersonal hierarchies of power or stifling inquiry—we’ll rebuild public trust”?
  • Is Sasse’s critique a challenge for public universities as well?
Reading 2 – “We Are Indispensable to Democracy Flourishing” (Susan Greenberg):
  • What does Boise State owe democracy in the state of Idaho (and beyond)? Could it improve the fulfillment of its obligation?
  • What does the state legislature, as ongoing partners in the success of our institution, owe Boise State?
  • How might we take steps to build greater mutual trust between Boise State and our state legislature?
  • Daniels seems to suggest that while faculty may provide a space for diverse views in the classroom, similar space is not necessarily offered to pursue “important intellectual work” that may be aligned with conservative values or ideas. Is that an accurate depiction?
  • Would having more faculty who identify as conservative on campus impact our relationship to the broader Idaho community?

February 9, 2024

We are exploring the impact of Senate Bill 1242, which bans diversity statements at public colleges and universities in the State of Idaho.

Attendees are encouraged to read the following pieces:

  1. The text of Senate Bill 1242.
  2. Last year’s SBOE Resolution prohibiting diversity statements at Boise State, Idaho State University, Lewis-Clark State College, and University of Idaho.
  3. We Know Diversity Statements are Political Litmus Tests” by Komi Frey, Chronicle of Higher Education, January 4, 2024.
  4. Diversity statements are being banned. Here’s What might replace them”  by Adrienne Lu, Chronicle of Higher Education, October 6, 2023.

February 23, 2024

For this Campus Conversation, the Build and Community Engagement teams are co-hosting, as we explore Institutional Neutrality.

Attendees can are encouraged to read the articles found in this document.

  1. “The New Campus McCarthyism” by Jeffrey C. Isaac, Chronicle of Higher Education, 2/6/24.
  2. “Kalven Committee: Report on the University’s Role in Political and Social Action”, 11/11/1967.
  3. “The Need for Institutional Neutrality at Universities” by Daniel Diermeier, Forbes, 12/20/23.

March 8, 2024

For this Campus Conversation, we are exploring: How can universities help, and how do they hamper, students’ mental health? Attendees are encouraged to read the following two pieces (link to articles):

  1. “Student-Centered Education: A Philosophy Most Unkind”, by Rebekah Wanic and Nina Powell, Times Higher Education, 10/11/2022.
  2. “Professors Struggle With Demands to Tend to Students’ Mental Health”, by Kelly Fields, Chronicle of Higher Education, 10/24/2023.