‘EAT THINK TALK’ combines intimate setting, conversation

Honors College brings learning outside of the classroom

Story by Abby Siegel, Assistant News Editor

A handful of Honors College students and two Honors professors ate from an extensive menu – roasted rosemary chicken, caramelized onion mashed potatoes and cheesecake – in the Commonwealth Suite. They casually discussed gender stereotypes on Thursday evening for no grade and no extra credit.

“EAT TALK THINK” is a new opportunity for Honors College students that allows them to continue learning outside the classroom with their peers and professors. It is a topic-focused, exclusive dinner that is open to the first 10 Honors students who sign up and two professors who have interest in the topic of the evening.

“Education should not be confined to the classroom setting,” said Carole Inman, Honors student development counselor. “It should be part of our everyday life and our dinner conversations.”

Honors faculty members propose their topic ideas to Inman and Warren Edminster, director of the Honors College, and they chose the topic from those proposed.

“We keep it small on purpose because we want an intimate conversation,” Inman said.

Emma Schell, senior from Madisonville, Kentucky, said she loved the intimate setting.

“Although most of us did not know anyone at the table when we got there, it felt as if we were old friends casually discussing gender stereotypes around the dinner table,” she said.

The professors who attended also said they enjoyed the evening.

“This is the kind of thing every Murray State student should have every once in a while,” said Kevin Binfield, professor of English, who attended the dinner.

He said this was the closest to the feel of a liberal arts college he has seen at Murray State, and he said it is something he believes should expand to the residential colleges.

Binfield said he was surprised how little talking he had to do, describing the conversation as “self-unfolding” with “no stakes, no grade and free-range conversation.”

Marjorie Hilton, assistant professor of history, was the other professor that attended the dinner and proposed the topic idea.  Schell said the conversation was enlightening and her views were challenged.

“The professors that were facilitating the discussions provided a lot of scientific and historical insight about genders that I had never considered before,” she said.

She attended the dinner because she wanted to discuss gender stereotypes with students with informed opinions and open minds.

“If our beliefs are never challenged and we never change the way we think about something, it is impossible to fully understand the issue,” Schell said.

Other high points, Schell said, included delicious, free food that meets dietary restrictions.

The idea came from Inman’s research on other university Honors College opportunities. She made a few tweaks and the dinner became a reality for Murray State Honors students.

The next “EAT TALK THINK” dinner is March 29 and Andrew Black, assistant professor in the College of Humanities and Fine Arts is one professor that is attending.