Political scientist talks creativity to kick off UF lecture series
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The University of Florida has invited its faculty together next week for an intellectual pep rally. It’s a lecture, yes, but with a motive to celebrate academics as well as to edify.
Distinguished professor Leslie Paul Thiele of UF’s political science department will speak about “Fostering a Culture of Responsible Creativity,” the first talk in the Faculty Senate’s Distinguished Professor Lecture Series, at 4 p.m. Jan. 27 at Emerson Alumni Hall.
The series puts the latest class of UF distinguished professors – chosen for their records of exceptional achievement that puts them at the top of their disciplines – in front of a faculty audience to translate their work to people outside their field. To go pop without pandering.
The lectures serve as a reminder, at a time when UF is recruiting as many as 130 new academic stars to help lift it to national preeminence, that the newcomers will be joining an existing team of all-stars.
“Preeminence is not taking us from ground zero to preeminence. We’re already at a good place,” said Marc Heft, Faculty Senate president and a professor in the College of Dentistry. “What we’re doing with preeminence is augmenting our faculty strategically.”
Heft said his aim in creating the lecture series is to engage faculty from across campus in thinking about core issues in the university’s intellectual life. Responsible creativity certainly counts among those core issues, Heft said.
Thiele’s talk is expected to touch on how creativity happens and how creativity can be harnessed to forward environmental, social and other beneficial goals. He’ll also unveil his vision for a new research center on campus to foster responsible creativity.
“Creativity, of course, can cut two ways,” Thiele said. “Bringing a sense of ethics to innovation can help UF make an even more positive impact on society with its discoveries.”
The series continues Feb. 17 when engineering professor Ranganathan Narayanan is scheduled to deliver a lecture titled, “Bhopal – A Tale of Technology, Tragedy, and Travesty.”
Leonid Moroz, a professor of neuroscience in UF’s Whitney Laboratory for Marine Bioscience, is scheduled to speak March 24.