Connecting over an idea

Professors carry their passion for research to Ferris

Some might think research ends once college does but for faculty at Ferris the research and passion never does.

In order to have the opportunity to present this research with one another, the Humanities department at Ferris has put on a Humanities Colloquium that features a different member of the community every month.

Ferris professor of art history, Rachel Foulk, is the Humanities Colloquium co-coordinator who works on putting the whole event together, alongside co-coordinator, associate professor Stephanie Thomson.

With many topics and professors at Ferris it could be difficult to figure out who presents but luckily, they present on a volunteer basis.

“We send out a call at the beginning of each semester for faculty that are interested in sharing something that they are working on that maybe is a little more specific than what they’re teaching in the classroom, or an area of their professional work,” Foulk said.

The reasoning behind it is for members of the Ferris community to really take the time of their busy schedules to learn and share their ideas they’ve spent time working on.

“Sometimes we spend so much time doing other things like going to meetings, teaching, grading, all of those things and we want to create a space where we’re also talking about ideas,” Foulk said.

And these events allow researchers to see an essential part of their research through, which is the feedback, whether it be good or bad.

This month’s presentation was done by Ferris professor of philosophy and humanities Dr. J. Randall Groves, who discussed moral sustainability and the roles emotions play in moral disputers.

Members of the audience were excited to ask questions and learn about the research Groves had conducted, they even started asking questions before the designated time. Many provide various forms of feedback and ranging from questions on certain topics to some disagreeing or having different perspectives on certain concepts.

“A big part of academic work is working on an idea and then seeing what people think about it,” Foulk said. “And seeing if people bring a different perspective to it based on research they’ve been reading or research they’ve been doing.”

Groves was very excited for the event as he always enjoys the Humanities Colloquiums that are put on. “It’s fun, you could consider it the real meat, in a way, of what we do,” Groves said. “Of course, teaching is our main thing but right after that is the research. And the thing about research is that you want to tell people about it. You read all this stuff going crazy with it, and then when you get the chance to present, it just flows out of you.”

Not all the topics of the Humanities Colloquiums revolve around philosophy, there have been a variety of speakers on a diverse set of topics. And not everyone who presents necessarily is within the humanities department. From art history to sports, all research is welcomed.

“In the audience we had a range of faculty members, community members and students,” Foulk said. “And that’s part of the goal too, working to connect the various people that make up our university around an idea.”

Students who are interested in attending future Humanities Colloquiums can look on the Ferris calendar available online to see when the next one will be at