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Rove, Gibbs to headline 2012 Themester


By Sydney Murray




This year’s Themester, titled “Good Behavior, Bad Behavior: Molecules to Morality,”  is scheduled to feature more than 60 events, including a public conversation between political consultant Karl Rove and former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs on Oct. 18 at the IU Auditorium.

Rove, who served as senior advisor to former President George W. Bush, is currently a contributor for Fox News and a writer for the Wall Street Journal.

He will be joined by Gibbs, White House press secretary from 2009-11, who worked for President Barack Obama.

Werner Herzog, who received the award for Best Director at the 1982 Cannes Film Festival, will come to campus for a screening of his 2005 film, “Grizzly Man.”

“(Themester) is a program that focuses both on curriculum and co-curriculum,” Themester Coordinator Tracy Bee said.

Themester, a College of Arts and Sciences endeavor, started in fall 2009 with the theme of “Evolution, Diversity and Change.” Union Board is contributing half the cost to bring Rove and Gibbs to IU in coordination with the Themester program.

Bee said the chosen theme is a major issue that students have interest in.

She said about 40 to 50 classes mold their curricula around it. Many of these classes are already offered, but some are created specifically for Themester, such as COLL-C 105, “Critical Approaches: When Good Science Goes Bad.” 

Bee said it gives both students and the community the chance to associate their campus experiences with issues in the world.

“We really try to connect what is taught in class to what is going on outside the classroom,” Bee said.

She said it is up to the instructor of the course to include Themester events in their teaching.

“The students in those courses are going to have different experiences based on their course,” Bee said.

She said the students enrolled in Themester classes are encouraged to submit proposals to the symposium at the end of the semester, which sheds light on work students have completed.

The organization will also partner with IU Cinema to screen films on issues such as human trafficking. The first film being shown is “Inglorious Bastards.”

Arts and Humanities and Undergraduate Education Associate Dean John Lucaites  said Themester is a collaboration of many different departments.

“Each tells part of the story,” he said. “It plays on the strengths of the College of Arts and Sciences.”

Each Themester theme is decided by faculty members, who suggest possible themes for the program.

In order to get their theme chosen, professors must explain why the theme is prominent, how it can connect to courses and what extracurricular events can be associated with it, Lucaites said.

“It’s got to be considered a shining jewel in the crown of the College,” he said.

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