Professor Jim McAllister and I will be teaching a virtual Winter Study seminar on the College’s Diversity Initiatives. Interested in participating? Note:

1) Original motivation for the “CGCL” acronym is Professor Bob Jackall’s observation that Williams is, or should be, “a cross-generational community of learning.”

2) Basic assumptions are, first, that there are a large (?) number of alumni who miss the intellectual back-and-forth of a Williams classroom. A virtual seminar provides that experience, albeit imperfectly. Second, a large (?) number of students are interested in even more intellectual back-and-forth than they already experience, especially in conjunction with some older alumni, many of whom have radically different viewpoints than almost all the professors at Williams. Third, there is at least one faculty member willing to lend his good name to the project.

3) Basic plan will be the same as last year’s wildly successful (?) seminar. We will recruit several discussants, each of whom will be responsible for reading a portion of the Report and providing some comments on it. (Special thanks to last year’s discussants — Richard Dunn ’02, Lee Altman ’93, Diana Davis ’07, Kevin Koernig ’05 and Lowell Jacobson ’03 — for doing such a fine job.) Each discussion will start a new thread. Commentary and disputation will follow. Much fun will be had by all. If you are willing to be a discussant, please let me know. Early volunteers will get first dibs on their preferred sections of the Report.

4) Special thanks to Jim McAllister for agreeing to participate. With any luck, his associating will make it easier for us to get the word out. The Alumni Office was singularly unhelpful in my efforts to advertise last year; my e-mails announcing the seminar were refused from various alumni list servers. With any luck, Jim’s participation will open up some doors that have been closed in the past. Jim does, however, point out that

Given the wide potential for controversy here, I just want to make sure it is understood that I am not in any way responsible for anything anyone might say of an inflammatory nature — whether actual or perceived.

I agree! Neither am I! Each participant in the seminar is responsible only for her own comments, not those of others. I am not my Eph’s keeper.

5) The “location” for the seminar is still up in the air. The default option is to host it at EphBlog, as we did last year. But our commenting system is not ideal for organizing a conversation with many possible threads. We might try to use our forums, but neither Eric nor I are eager to take on that chore. I am tring to sweet-talk and/or bribe-with-pizza WSO into building something that we, and others, might use. More on this later.

6) What Jim and I really need is a student who would like to volunteer to run the class with us. The ideal triumvirate for this effort is a student/alumnus/professor. Much fun is guaranteed and, even better (?), it’s another line for your resume! Your main responsibilities would be organizational: drafting a syllabus; posting the discussants’ comments; working with us to get various College officials to answer questions and/or provide more information. E-mail me if your interested.

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