BLE Study Groups

The Big Learning Event: Powerful Conversations for the FutureAttending the Big Learning Event June 506, 2013 is encouraged, but not required for participating in these study groups. Come prime the pump to think BIG at the BLE! All are welcome! Don’t delay – register today!

1. “Communities of Practice: Inspiring Connections, Learning, Innovation & Engagement”
Group meets on 3/18, 4/22, and 5/15 from Noon-1:30pm in UHS Room 8003 (U-Square Bldg) 

The “learning organization,” as Peter Senge coined the term over twenty years ago, has become the cutting edge process by which businesses and other institutions significantly enhance their capacities to deliver products and services to their customers and communities. Communities of Practice (CoP’s) are important manifestations of that vision, as peer-to-peer learning groups introduce innovations, spark creative thinking about overwhelming challenges, and foster safe and constructive environments in which staff can build relationships and develop new resources. Join us in these explorations of CoP’s, their current role on campus, and their possibilities for the future.

Register for Communities of Practice

2. “Women and the STEMM Fields – Fostering Opportunities in Higher Education and the Professions”
Group meets 4/9, 4/30, and 5/14 from 11:30am to 1pm in room 2188 Mechanical Engineering Building.

The STEMM fields  (science, technology, engineering, math, medicine) are some of the most significant in higher education research and professional opportunities. Yet, they have been historically difficult for women to enter. While there is much evidence of change, subtle discriminatory barriers remain, greatly influencing choices facing students, faculty, and professionals in these various fields. What is the current state of the challenge? What are areas of promise for change? Join us in this provocative series of conversations regarding these important questions. Topics for the three sessions include:

  1. Women in STEMM Overview
  2. Women’s Advancement in STEMM:  Why So Slow?
  3. Moving Forward:  Advancing Women in STEMM

Register for Women and the STEMM Fields

3. “Sustainable Resource Extraction–Oxymoron or a Path to Peace?”
Group meets on 4/22, 5/6, and 5/23 from 12:15pm-1:45pm in Room 140 Science Hall

From the mines of Wisconsin to the factories of China, when we extract and use resources, we also mine conflict and often leave wastelands. The practice itself seems to defy the idea of sustainability. And yet we cannot seem to deny either our consumption demands or the need for economic development in poorer communities and nations. Perhaps there is a middle ground between exploitative resource extraction and complete preservation. Or perhaps this is an unattainable ideal. Using current controversies over mining in Wisconsin as a touchstone, this discussion group will explore general concepts and specific cases of environmental conflicts surrounding resource extraction, asking: Can these conflicts lead us to peace and sustainable development? We will review works by BLE speaker Saleem Ali, data visualizer Hans Rosling, and others. Preliminary topics for the three sessions include:

  1. What is a “natural resource?” (Monday, April 22, 12:15 – 1:45 pm, Rm. 140 Science Hall)
  2. The complex nature of resource extraction conflicts. (Monday, May 6, 12:15 – 1:45 pm, Rm. 140 Science Hall)
  3. Sustainable Resource Extraction–oxymoron or pathway to peace? (Thursday, May 23, 12:15 – 1:45 pm, Rm. 140 Science Hall)

The group welcomes anyone doubtful or determined, curious or concerned, about the prospects for peace in a resource-dependent, consumer-driven world. Attending the BLE is encouraged but not required.

Register for Sustainable Resource Extraction

4. “Art and Consciousness”
Group meets on 4/23, 5/7, and 5/21 from 8:30am-10:00am at Union South – Check TITU for specific room

Our minds work in mysterious ways, and they are stimulated by art to perceive new connections that are otherwise elusive. What is the relationship between art and consciousness? What are we learning from recent research that has implications for the ways we organize teaching and learning? Join us for a study group that explores these fascinating questions.

Register for Art and Consciousness

5. “The Edges of Astro-Physics: SETI, Space Exploration, and the Meaning of Such Quests”
Group meets 5/14 and 5/21 3:00-4:30pm at Union South – Check TITU for specific room

Science is now engaging us to consider the profound question, “Who are we?” in ways barely imaginable a generation ago. Our essential nature is being questioned and revealed by physics, while the atoms and molecules of stars find their ways into life on Earth. SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) and additional efforts to explore other worlds reveals the likelihood that we are not alone.

Join our special guest facilitator, Maggie Turnbull (an astronomer who formerly worked with Jill Tarter at SETI) us for a pair of discussions of this important work , the questions being raised and the implications for all of us at UW-Madison.

Register for Edges of Astro-Physics