Brown Bag informal lectures conclude

WKU Director of Scholarly Development Audra Jennings presents her research Wednesday regarding women suffering from cerebral palsy, specifically in the 1940’s titled “Save Yourself A Bunch of Heartaches: Disability, Marriage, and Gender in the United States (1940-1960)”. The talk was a part of WKU’s Institute for Citizenship & Social Responsibility brown bag luncheons. (Luke Franke/Herald)

Samantha Wright

The Brown Bag series encourages students and faculty to “brown bag it” and bring their own lunch while discussing academic subjects, cultivating a relaxed environment rather than a formal setting.  

Brown Bag lectures are a casual way for faculty to present their research and articles for feedback, while also educating students on something they may not know about.

The events started in the spring of last year led by Judy Rohrer, director of the Institute of Citizenship and Social Responsibility.

“Doing research can be an isolating process and being able to talk through problems, concerns and questions with colleague can help tremendously,” she said. “I have seen this model of informal brown bag lunch talks being used successfully at other institutions and thought we should institute it here.”

She started out by inviting faculty from her own department, Diversity and Community Studies, but later opened it to faculty members that have previously worked with ICSR and are currently working on interesting research. 

There were only three each semester,  and the talk presented on April 1 was the last of the year. Audra Jennings, assistant professor in the Honors College, presented “Save Yourself a Bunch of Heartaches: Disability, Marriage, and Gender in the United States, 1940-1960.” 

Jennings was inspired to write an article after reading articles from issues of Spastic Review, an older magazine for people with cerebral palsy. She noticed that there was repeated discussions about marriage and was inspired by all the analytical possibilities. 

As she ran through what she had so far, people asked questions and brought up relevant points. She spoke about the two possible routes she was thinking of going in for the article, and listeners discussed points for each.

Rebecca Schroeder, a sophomore working towards a major in social work, said she attended because it was related to her major.

“I try to come to discussions like this or when speakers attend and talk about ways to dismantle oppressions, because of my major,” she said.

Jennings believes these talks are important because they help faculty get feedback. 

“I think it’s very helpful to talk through something because sometimes you’re working on your own, and it’s good to hear from other people,” she said.