New Saturday Salons encourage dialogue and debate

The Saturday Salon, a gathering of faculty and students to discuss topics.

First-year students engage in constructive dialogue at an Open Academy event inside the Athenaeum.

The Open Academy's Saturday Salons, a gathering where students and faculty can discuss various topics.
Professors Jon Shields and Heather Ferguson, co-directors of The Open Academy initiative

Throughout the fall semester, CMC students, faculty, and staff have enjoyed multiple opportunities to engage with The Open Academy and the core commitments of freedom of expression, viewpoint diversity, and constructive dialogue. The latest opportunity is a series of Saturday Salons.

These small gatherings of faculty and students encourage discussions on topics curated by CMC professors and research institutes and help achieve The Open Academy’s goal of overcoming what divides us in order to solve the world’s most challenging problems.

“The current vision of The Open Academy at CMC is to build trust and to forge new alliances with research institutes, affinity groups, students, and faculty so as to model dialogue rather than debate as a crucial skill for shaping our future histories together,” said Prof. Heather Ferguson, co-director of The Open Academy.

The Open Academy's Saturday Salons, a gathering where students and faculty can discuss various topics.

“While many colleges and universities have initiated programs to enhance dialogue in the midst of escalating national and global polarization, CMC’s dedication to the liberal arts and our small residential community offers something different—intimacy as the basis of trust and humility as the key to engage in difficult topics,” Ferguson added.

This fall's Saturday Salons have included:

  • CMC History Professor Lily Geismer discussed “Should the Democratic Party reject neoliberalism?” with Steve Teles, a political scientist at Johns Hopkins University.
  • “Testing the Efficacy of Our Human Rights Regime, The Crisis in Ukraine” (co-sponsored by the Mgrublian Center) with Ukrainian journalist Anna Romandash and Pomona Professor Mietek Boduszynski.

The next Saturday Salon will be held in February, 2023 featuring Elizabeth Nolan Brown and Chrstine Emba in a discussion on “Is Pornography a Problem?” 

Find out more about The Open Academy initiative:


Anne Bergman


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