Friday, August 22, 2008

Coker Convocation

Dr. Ed Ebert of the Coker College Education Department presented (whqat appeared to me) the best convocation talk I have heard since joining the Coker College faculty. He raised the bar for convocation presentations. His talk provoked! His talk involved! His talk connected! His talk made his audience move from their comfort zones to thinking zones where normal heuristics have to be replaced by what he noted in his talk, "critical thinking skills." In past conversations Dr. Ebert and I have discussed the idea of an American culture. In fact, it was one of these discussions that enhanced some of my own preparation for the Mass Communication, Culture and Media Literacy Class that I teach in the Communication major. Dr. Ebert's question to the audience was What is American Culture -- in one sentence. It was with this question, which he worded much better, that he sparked the creative thinking in his audience. Remember, this is a tough audience. The Elizabeth Watson Coker Auditorium was full, what a great sight by the way. Most of the audience were students. Listening to speakers is not something they enjoy doing for very long. This night, they listened. The fidgeting, the undertone, and other signs of a restless audience were pleasantly missing during his presentation. Another piece of evidence that he connected was one of my night students, leaving the auditorium on his way to the late class, who said -- "He was good, that was really interesting."

Convocation is a calling together of the Academy to start a new year. This Centennial Convocation speech ignited creative thinking and critical thinking providing a most appropriate opening to the beginning of a second hundred years of learning, teaching and living in the Coker College Community.

And, before the end, wasn't that a great song by Amesha Johnson...

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