"Respectful Conversations" was a favorite phrase of the first director of the CFI, Harold Heie, as he felt the work of a university or college should be thought of as an ongoing, civil conversation among those with different points of view, between the past and the present, and among different academic disciplines.
Visit Respectful Conversation a project hosted by Harold Heie to encourage and help facilitate forums for respectful conversation regarding important contemporary issues.The activities of the CFI listed below help sustain this vision; they help "keep the conversation going," as it were, here at Gordon College.
The Gordon College Spring Symposium has become an annual tradition at the College. One day in the spring semester, all classes are canceled, and students, faculty, and staff engage in learning from one another around a particular theme. For this day, the entire Gordon community is invited to propose panel discussions, lectures, dialogues, interviews, art displays, theatrical performances, and more.
Once each semester, the CFI hosts a panel discussion on topics both timely and timeless. Beforehand, faculty discussants from different academic disciplines are invited, along with students, to read a short piece on the given topic. At the event, faculty members offer brief reflections on the topic before engaging in a general discussion with those in attendance.
Gordon College is partnering with the John Templeton Foundation to honor the pioneering work of Dr. Robert Herrmann who addressed, throughout his distinguished career, the “Big Questions” constellated around the theme of science and religion. His friendship and collaboration with Sir John Templeton enabled numerous groundbreaking events, networks, programs and publications that greatly expanded the group of strategic thinkers engaged in the conversation on the crucial relationship between these two fields of study.
The Alternative Political Conversation (APC) that officially concludes on October 31 was intended to model a “better way” of talking about important public policy issues than the current vitriolic political discourse that is characterized by name-calling, demonizing and the unyielding commitment to “fixed positions” that has made it virtually impossible to uncover the “common ground” needed to govern.