Big Ideas, Grand Challenges Series

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The W.A. Franke Honors College Big Ideas, Grand Challenges Series is designed to engage Franke Honors, the Arizona campus, and our community in dialogue about important topics that affect us all. During the first two years of the Series, we’ve focused on interdisciplinary approaches to global relationships (2020-21) and the future (2021-22). This year, our focus is on resilience. 

Open to the public and supported by the Provost’s Investment Fund, the Series is sponsored by the W.A. Franke Honors College, which focuses on interdisciplinary thinking and engagement with the wide range of ideas, interests, and intellectual emphases on campus and in society. The Franke Honors College is leveraging experts on campus and beyond to model how we consider new ideas and engage in civil discourse with people who bring different perspectives and experiences into the discussion. Through these panel conversations, our goal is to model and strengthen perspective-taking, empathy, creativity and critical thinking as we address common challenges and think about ideas that affect how we live. 


2022-23 Emphases:  

In the 2022-23 academic year, the W.A. Franke Honors Big Ideas, Grand Challenges Series is focused on resilience. Franke Honors students are building skills and understanding that will be essential to solving problems and addressing challenges. Our two events this year will consider resilience as understood in different contexts: interpersonal and psychological, social, and environmental resilience. As all of us -- those within the university and those outside of it -- look ahead to what life looks like in the years and decades to come, how should we think about resilience? What can we do as individuals and societies to build the kind of resilience needed to sustain a meaningful life? Join us in person or virtually as we engage in dynamic conversations about resilience. 

2022-23 Schedule: 

Wednesday, November 2, 6:30-7:30pm: Cultivating Resilience 

Wednesday, February 22, 6:30-7:30pm: Resilience and the Earth  

Topics to be discussed may include: 

  • What is resilience and what are different ways of thinking about it? 

  • Is too much resilience a bad thing (i.e., can we "normalize" unhealthy situations/structures)? 

  • What affect does resilience have on our health and potential risks to our wellbeing? 

  • How do our educational and social environments shape our capacity for resilience? How can current college students build resilience in the midst of the demands of college? 

  • How can students cultivate resilience in the face of school/societal/global pressures? 

  • What do the arts have to do with resilience and the ability to build it? 

Final dates, times, locations, and registration information will be available soon.

Recordings of our 2020-2022 talks are available through the links below: