Faculty spark valuable conversation with table talk

With so many controversial topics in the world today, I think it’s important that people from different backgrounds share their knowledge and perspectives to improve everyone’s understanding of the topics.

This seems to be a part of the allure of table talks. Joshua Mugg, PhD., program coordinator of interdisciplinary studies at Park University, seemed to want to host this event to showcase how different disciplines can have different, yet similar, ideas on the same topic.

The topic for this discussion was Generationalism: Fact or Myth. It was held on April 14 at noon in Norrington Learning Lab.

Almost everyone has heard the terms Gen Z, Boomers, Millennial, etc., but it’s hard to understand what they really mean and how they apply to different facets of life.

Mugg was the discussion moderator. He invited faculty from different departments to speak on the topic. The faculty who spoke in the table talk were Chelsea Platt, PhD., assistant professor of sociology, Adrian James, PhD., associate professor of management, and Samantha Quinn, PhD., assistant professor of communication.

The discussion started with each faculty member explaining what generationalism was and how it applied to their area of study. Platt seemed to argue that the stereotypes of the different generations could be based on many other factors in their lives, but that the events that occur in a society leave imprints on a generation. Quinn said it’s important for people to be able to communicate between generations in both their personal and professional lives and that learning to do so can have many benefits. James said that there are some benefits in knowing stereotypes, but we should never put people in a box based on those stereotypes.

Then the discussion became more balanced. The students and guests attending the talk were able to ask questions, voice their opinions and respond to the speakers’ opinions. Many different aspects of the topic were discussed including workplace attire and communication styles.

Overall, the students and the speakers agreed that everyone has more to their personality, communication style and work style, than just their generation. It’s also important to ask and learn someone’s preferences and personality instead of assuming who they are based on their age.

Personally, I really enjoyed this conversation. I think this table talk was a great idea. It was nice to see Park students engage with professors and gain a better understanding of a tough concept.

It was interesting to hear about this topic from other perspectives. I have my own opinions based on my background, experience and area of study. However, there were others present who had different perspectives, so it was interesting to hear from them.

I also liked the fact that students were able to ask questions and hear from experts in the various fields and from other students. It felt like an intriguing conversation, not a lecture or like someone was talking down to the students.

I hope that more of these table talks are held, so that students and faculty can discuss other topics in a similar way.