Guest Column: Build Community by Meeting and Learning From Your UA Colleagues
The UA is a vibrant intellectual community, but faculty, post-docs and students can often find themselves unintentionally confined to their own disciplinary silos. You may lack awareness of the amazing research, scholarship and creative works underway on other parts of campus.
One way to move beyond your silo is to attend the exciting public events sponsored by various units at the UA. These public events are an important part of building and strengthening the partnership between the University and the larger Tucson community and have proven to be popular. For example, the College of Science sponsors a widely attended lecture series every spring.
These events present an opportunity not only to learn about what your campus colleagues are doing and to broaden your intellectual horizons, but also to network and forge connections with faculty, staff, students and community members that you'd be unlikely to meet in your day-to-day work. Meeting new people can lead to friendships, mentoring opportunities or even inspire interdisciplinary collaborations. Cultivating these relationships is worth your time – a large body of literature finds that social connections also increase happiness.
Below are just a couple of examples of UA faculty presenting in the community in the near future, with event descriptions provided by the presenting units.
Confluencenter for Creative Inquiry Public Programming
The Confluencenter enriches the collaborative atmosphere for innovative research and interdisciplinary endeavors at the UA by offering grants, fellowships and public programming. The Confluencenter is hosting numerous upcoming events that will provide you with an opportunity to learn more about what is going on and available at the UA. A unique part of the series is Show & Tell @ Playground – free public events held at Playground Bar & Lounge. On Oct. 15 at 6:30 p.m., you can learn about the Global Revolution from Harlem to Havana, and on Nov. 12 at 6 p.m., you can learn about the influence of the UA's Steward Observatory in Focusing the Universe.
College of SBS: Downtown Lecture Series
The UA's College of Social and Behavioral Sciences identifies itself as the "The People College." It studies people and their connections with each other, their pasts, and the world around them to better understand the complexity that shapes their daily lives. The college's Downtown Lecture Series is designed to share those insights by inviting UA faculty to take the stage of the Fox Tucson Theatre and share their work. This year, the series will explore "food," and you will learn about food's connections with people's health, culture and environment. All lectures are at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesdays from Oct. 15 to Nov. 12. Lectures are free and open to the public, but ticketed. Tickets are available at 4 p.m. from the Fox Tucson Theatre on the day of each lecture. To learn more about each lecture offered, visit www.downtownlectures.arizona.edu or call 621-1112.
Hopefully you will be able to attend some of these exciting events and other University events involving your colleagues. Your support and participation is essential to creating a well-connected community in which we can all thrive.
Laura Hunter is the program and research manager in the Office of the Provost.