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Pennoni Panels

Pennoni Honors College positions itself as a site for active learning, high achievement, and community. The Honors Community is invested in undergraduate research, scholar development, outreach, and interdisciplinary scholarship. Because the College is composed of students from various backgrounds, academic fields of study, and interests, the community is in a unique position to carve out space for engagement in complicated ideas, difficult topics, and insightful inquiry.

Conceived as a complement to the programs and initiatives of the College, the Pennoni Panels speaker series will allow for a certain amount of openness – the goal is to not present a one-sided perspective, nor encourage contentiousness, but to open dialogues across campus and develop a space for students to engage with complex themes.

A Matter of Facts: Do You Trust the News?

Many today claim that we are living in a post-truth era with readers and consumers duped by untruths and misinformation. While the concept of "fake news" has ancient roots, distrust of the fourth estate seems to have acquired new traction since the United States' 2016 presidential election. Both political parties contend that they are the target of false stories, and the public, confused by the barrage of accusations on both sides, has begun to question the line between fact and fiction on all fronts. Our panel will explore such questions as: What should the vetting process for news stories be? Are audiences more interested in punditry and entertainment than news? How should responsible consumers go about getting their news? What form is journalism likely to take in the decades ahead?

What is the future of America’s prison system?

What is the function of the prison system in the 21st century? Punishment? Justice? Education? Rehabilitation? Can we enact prison reforms that successfully address the troubling issues that have long-plagued the U.S. criminal justice system? As an episode of The Drexel InterView series, Dean Paula Marantz Cohen will lead a Pennoni Panel discussion about restorative justice, the economics of prison reform, and the actions that can be taken to make substantive change and reduce the rates of recidivism.

The Diversity Dilemma: What Constitutes Diversity in the 21st Century?

The significance of diversity has been expressed through the think pieces and research lamenting the lack of representation of various marginalized groups in media and positions of power. But what do we mean by diversity? What is the difference between representation and tokenism? How do we talk about diversity in a more meaningful way, beyond categorization and statistics? This panel seeks to address the significance of diversity, the discourse surrounding diversity, and the ways in which we can address issues of diversity in our respective fields and institutions.

What Makes a Good Neighbor? A roundtable discussion on the pros and cons of gentrification

Is it possible for a neighborhood or city to encourage growth but also protect its longtime homeowners and restore its economy from within? Or is gentrification just another word for re-segregation? Come take your seat at the table at the next Pennoni Panels, Tuesday, November 14 from 3:30-5 p.m., when we have a roundtable discussion about how communities change over time.

Is There a Place for Politics in the Classroom?

The college campus while being a place for ideas and innovation, has also been a site of tension: conflicting ideologies, growing pains with surrounding communities, and debate concerning higher education’s purpose. From free speech to counter protests politics has always been central to a university ether. In times of high tension, however, and a split national identity, what roles does and should administrators, faculty members, and students play when it comes to engaging with politics on campus and in classrooms? Panelists from various areas will discuss the complexities of a such a question and elaborate on higher education’s potential future as a site of activism.

The Writing on the Wall: How to Evaluate Good Writing (your own and others')

The panel will discuss evaluating writing in a variety of contexts and from multiple perspectives. Are there “rules” and standards for good writing that apply in most contexts? Does the context dictate the criteria? How do writers evaluate their own writing? How do writers weigh constructive advice on their writing against the subjectivity associated with excellence which requires that they believe in their work? How do teachers evaluate student writing? The panelists will bring unique perspectives and experiences to this discussion. We anticipate a lively exchange of ideas.

A Tale of Two Mayors: Philadelphia's Past, Present & Future

Get exclusive access to an interview with two former Mayors of Philadelphia, Edward Rendell and Michael Nutter, led by Pennoni Honors College Dean Paula Marantz Cohen. As an episode of The Drexel InterView series, the conversation will be filmed and will focus on the past, present and future of Philadelphia including major redevelopment initiatives like Schuylkill Yards and the West Philadelphia Promise Zone. This event is presented by The Drexel InterView in collaboration with the Pennoni Panels series, Pennoni Honors College’s Week of Undergraduate Excellence and Drexel Alumni.

Science as Activism

"If your science gives you a result that you don’t like, pass a law saying the result is illegal. Problem solved. – Stephen Colbert What role, if any, should scientists play in the increasingly contentious landscape of public policy? Are we beyond the point of even asking this question as science has become politicized on topics ranging from global climate change to vaccinations to gun violence? How can objectivity and advocacy go hand in hand as the scientific community seeks to continue informing public debate with data and facts? This panel will address these very questions from multiple disciplinary perspectives, and it will attempt to situate these conversations in a broader context of the cultural moment in which expertise and scientific method are being met with public skepticism and private interests.

Failing Forward: Building Distress Tolerance on the College Campus

A growing body of research shows pressures—both financial and emotional—contribute to stress levels, mental health, academic performance and university enrollment. Understanding the consequences of these studies is useful to academic advisors, university administrators, professors and students themselves in the development of distress tolerance and resiliency. In the first Pennoni Panels event of 2017, we'll discuss how students can "successfully fail" with coping and wellness strategies including mindfulness, managing emotions, distress tolerance and developing resiliency.

The Value of Mentorship

Are you a student looking to propel your career forward? A staff member looking to knowledge share? A faculty person searching for meta-advice? Mentorship matters. An essential element in successful career development is being aware of the type of support you need to nurture your career. In this panel discussion, we'll look at what mentoring is, mentoring at different stages of your career, mentoring as a mutually beneficial partnership, and how mentorship differs from advocacy and sponsorship. The panel will include Valerie Graves, a creative director of such Fortune 500 accounts as Ford, General Motors, AT&T, Burger King, General Foods, and Pepsi. Graves was one of the first black copywriters at BBDO, Kenyon & Eckhardt, and JWT and went on to serve as chief creative offer at the UniWorld and Vigilante/Leo Burnett agencies as well senior vice president of creative services at Motown Records.

Party Animals: Donkeys vs. Elephants: Is it time to "break up with" America's Two-Party System?

Our Founding Fathers were suspicious of the Two-Party System, but American party politics has long gravitated toward the binary. In 2016, however, factional politics has narrowed our choices and so polarized people who no longer feel represented by the Democratic or Republican Party. Have we reached a point in which America is ungovernable? Is it time to "break up with" America's Two-Party System?