WMU News

WMU professors guide discussion series on world issues

Jan. 15, 2002

KALAMAZOO -- A handful of Western Michigan University professors have teamed up with the Portage District Library in Portage, Mich., to present a number of evening discussions on important and controversial issues ranging from understanding risk to women's role in politics.

The four part series, titled "Learning OutLoud: A Guided Exploration of Contemporary Issues," will introduce the public to local experts and provide avenues to find more information about the four major topics.

The program's coordinator and moderator is Dr. Nicholas Andreadis, WMU assistant professor of counselor education and counseling psychology. He will begin each session by asking the presenter several questions to get the topic rolling and generate audience questions. At the end of the program, book lists will be available for those who want to learn more about the subject.

"In the last six months, we have had to learn more about what is happening in the world," says Andreadis. "I have found that adults learn about things that are important to them but don't always know how to tap available resources."

Dr. Richard Oxhandler, WMU associate professor and counseling psychologist in the University Counseling and Testing Center, will present the first discussion, "Understanding Risk in an Age of Uncertainty," at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 29.

According to Oxhandler, many people have begun to assess the risks of everyday activities such as attending sporting events in large stadiums or flying. Though he does not contest that these are external risks, the discussion will focus on how people act and think and the risks involved in changing those behaviors and beliefs.

"We have to start looking at and introducing a way of thinking about how we act and think," says Oxhandler. "By thinking differently and confronting risks on a personal level, it forces us to confront and question ideas about ourselves, religion, and even our government."

Other speakers scheduled in this series, their discussion topics and presentation dates are: "The World's Religions," Cybelle Shattuck, WMU instructor of comparative religion, Tuesday, Feb. 26;

"The Evolving Role of Women in Politics and Government," Dr. Ashlyn Keursten, WMU assistant professor of political science, Tuesday, March 19; and

"The United States' Role in the World," Dr. Gunther Hega, WMU associate professor of political science and the director of the WMU Institute of Government and Politics, Tuesday, April 23.

All of the discussions begin at 7 p.m. in the large meeting room at the Portage District Library, 300 Library Lane, Portage. The sessions are free and open to the public.

For more information, contact the Portage District Library at (269) 329-4542, ext. 604 or <www.portagelibrary.info>. Andreadis can be reached at (269) 387-3504.

Media contact: Scott K. Crary, 269 387-8400, scott.crary@wmich.edu

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