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March 15: Book club

Faculty Commons Book Club to discuss ‘Where Good Ideas Come From’

The University of Delaware Faculty Commons Book Club will meet at noon, Wednesday, March 15, to discuss Steven Johnson’s Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation.

Where Good Ideas Come From uncovers the seven key patterns behind genuine innovation and the history of innovation across time and disciplines. This month’s book was selected for its broad appeal to anyone interested learning about the history of innovation and to those working collaboratively to solve the grand challenges of today.

The three book club facilitators share a common interest in promoting innovation and eliciting students' creativity, echoing Johnson's thesis: "World-changing ideas generally evolve over time as slow hunches rather than sudden breakthroughs." The facilitators of this meeting will be John Jungck, director of Dupont Interdisciplinary Science Learning Laboratories and professor of biological sciences; Lynnette Overby, professor of theatre and deputy director of the Community Engagement Initiative; and Jon Cox, assistant professor of art and design and project liaison in the Interdisciplinary Science Learning Laboratories, National Geographic Explorer.

Building from backgrounds in dance, art, science and mathematics along with their collaborative experience, the facilitators will share why this text reflects a challenge to many current educational assumptions. Discussion questions include, “How do we cultivate students' creativity in a collaborative context rather than reifying traditional notions of instantaneous individual insight in siloed environments?”  Another point of discussion is “How can we engage heterogeneous students in collaborative problem-solving that requires that they develop original solutions so that they become, in Johnson’s words, 'Ecosystem engineers [who] actually create habitats for other organisms, building platforms from which several others benefit'?"

This book is appropriate for faculty and staff from all disciplines. Discussion will include specific applications for UD undergraduate and graduate students. For instance, participants will hear firsthand accounts of how this book is being used in an undergraduate course, ART 215: Seeing and Being, where students work in small multidisciplinary groups on extended projects.

Limited free copies of the book will be awarded to participants based upon registration and winners will be contacted via email.

In addition, the Library also has a print and online copy of the book on reserve behind the Morris Library Circulation and Reserve Desk, which can be checked out. The book club reserve course is called FCOM 999 (Faculty Commons Book Club) and has the call number BF408.J56 2010. Give the Circulation and Reserve staff the call number or ask for assistance in looking up the call number.

The meeting for this book will be Wednesday, March 15, from noon - 1 p.m. in Faculty Commons (116 Pearson Hall). Drinks and dessert will be provided. RSVP requested.

The Faculty Commons is always looking for book club facilitators. Those who are interested in leading this discussion or sponsoring a session in the future can contact faculty-commons@udel.edu.

For more information about these events, visit the Faculty Commons website.


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