The inaugural Texas Graduate Liberal Studies Symposium was held on Saturday, June 27 at the Anderson-Clarke Center at Rice University, the home of the Glasscock School of Continuing Studies. Hosted by the Master of Liberal Studies programs at Rice and Southern Methodist University (SMU), the event attracted students and alumni from all over Texas and one from North Carolina. Mary McIntire, dean of the Glasscock School of Continuing Studies, welcomed the audience, saying how exciting it was to have the opportunity to host this event in our new building. The largest cohorts came from Rice and SMU but there were also large communities from the University of Dallas and the University of St. Thomas. The University of Houston, University of Texas-Dallas and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte were also represented. Prior to the event, students and alumni were encouraged to submit papers to be considered for presentations during the symposium. There were 24 accepted papers and 21 of these were presented during the concurrent sessions throughout the day. The presentations sparked energetic discussions during the allotted Q-and-A time which then overflowed into the Dean’s Commons during breaks and lunch, allowing participants to share their experiences and studies. The keynote speaker, Nick Tsarevsky, an assistant professor in chemistry from SMU, provided an engaging presentation during lunch about how critical thinking and science need to be given a higher priority in education. One of his slides included a symbol from the periodic table, which he defined and then apologized for, joking that he knew this audience surely had the periodic table and all symbols memorized and ready for quick recall. Regional symposia for graduate liberal studies programs have been hosted since 2007 and the Association of Graduate Liberal Studies Programs encourages schools in other areas to host their own sessions. This year, through the partnership between Rice and SMU, we were able to host a symposium to serve students in graduate liberal studies programs in Texas, with the hope this region can expand to encompass more programs nearby. The annual symposium is tentatively scheduled to be held next summer in Dallas at the SMU campus. Please visit mls.rice.edu to learn more about the Master of Liberal Studies program at Rice.
Laura Bailey, Marketing Coordinator