Seeking Answers by “Questioning Passion”

New series aimed to supplement classroom discussions on topics that matter in daily life

Kassie Scott

Following the success of the “Questioning the Good Life” series two years ago, “Questioning Passion” is an interdisciplinary seminar series aimed to engage students in a conversation that focuses on topics that truly matter in daily life.

The series is organized by professors Jeffrey Kosky, Karla Murdock, Jon Eastwood, Tim Diette and Art Goldsmith.

“We intend this as something truly innovative that adds value over and above what your peers might get at similar institutions,” Eastwood said.

The series is created to overcome potential limitations of classroom discussion.

“The series is meant to be an open conversation in which students are not worried about ‘saying the right thing,’ one in which they can take intellectual risks and tackle difficult questions without worry about grading consequence,” Eastwood said.

“Questioning Passion” is neither graded nor offered for credit.

“Our hope is that this will foster such conversation as a habit, and that students, faculty and staff will carry on such conversations (about this and other themes) in other contexts in the future,” Eastwood said.

Eastwood said he does not think students will need incentive to participate.

“[Students, faculty and staff] seemed to find participation intrinsically rewarding, and of course people who would find such a conversation intrinsically rewarding are exactly the sort of people with whom one might like to converse about such matters,” Eastwood said.

When asked for tips for students trying to balance pragmatism and passion in a university setting, Eastwood said the organizers they were simply “fellow members of a conversational community, not experts in a position to impart knowledge about such difficult and important questions.”

As for the students, they are eager to participate.

“Professor Kosky told us about Questioning Passion in my Intro to Religion 100 class. I am looking forward to this intellectual opportunity,” Alora Martin, ‘18, said.