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Freshman helps launch ULecture, free lecture series for students

For freshman Michael Kaplan, hearing lectures from professors in the classroom was not enough.

This semester Kaplan, an undeclared College of Arts and Sciences student, established a new club at the University of Miami. He realized the great stories and unique anecdotes professors from the nine different schools at UM had to share.

Every Wednesday from 7 to 9 p.m. in room 184 of the Whitten Learning Center, Kaplan has arranged for a professor to come lecture to students free of charge on something pertinent to their specific field of study. The new club is called ULecture.

“First semester I took a freshman seminar class called ‘Books That Matter,'” Kaplan said. “The class was taught by professor [William] Green and each week we would have a different professor come in and speak to our class about a book that was important to them. I thought the class was great and thought these kinds of stories should be open to more than just 15 to 20 students.”

After the class was over, Kaplan emailed various professors to see if they would be willing to lecture outside of the classroom. He received an overwhelming response and soon the idea by the freshman came to reality.

The past Wednesday, Sam Grogg, dean of the School of Communication, opened the lecture series with a presentation about the digital divide between his generation’s use of the media verse the current generations’ use of the media.

“ULecture is an excellent way to let the students interact with faculty outside their majors or schools,” Grogg said. “There is such a wealth of talent and expertise at UM and this series is a way to take advantage of it.”

Despite the fact that the lecture went well, Kaplan was disappointed in the turnout. Only ten people showed up for the first lecture.

Freshman Alex Kurtz was one of the few in attendance.

“ULecture was a really great experience,” Kurtz said. “Dean Grogg’s topic really resonated with us and dealt with things we experience in everyday lives, like why our parents don’t [understand]texting or Facebook.”

Kurtz also like the fact that the event was not a stressful one where he had to take notes on every word the professor said.

“I especially liked the fact that it wasn’t in context with a normal course,” Kurtz said. “For that reason, the Q&A session was great at the end because everyone asked what was really on their minds and what truly interests them.”

Kaplan is excited about the foundation of the club and feels that publicity from the weekly e-mail of Ibis News and The Miami Hurricane will help bolster attendance.

Even for a freshman at the University of Miami, any idea is possible and can be executed to its fullest potential.

“The university is always supportive of its students and their initiatives to expand the learning experience,” Grogg said. “In this new digital age, speed is expected, and I am delighted that the university allows good ideas to move into action with positive support and enthusiasm.”

Come hear various professors from a variety of different fields speak on Wednesdays from 7-9 p.m. in room 184 of the Whitten Learning Center

Date Professor Field of Study
March 4 Sam Grogg Communication
March 11 Arthur Simon Political Science
March 25 Vince Cardinal Theatre Arts
April 1 Roderick Gillis Psychology
April 8 David Wilson Biology
April 15 Shelton Berg Music
April 22 John Paul Russo English/Classics
April 29 Michael Halleran College of Arts and Science
March 8, 2009

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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.