Faculty Invited to Host ‘Hot Topic’ Dinners

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If you are a faculty member who is interested in new ways to interact with Georgia Tech students, consider volunteering to host a Residence Life Hot Topic Dinner. 

“About five years ago, we started offering the dinners to give both faculty and students the opportunity to talk about topics that are interesting to them, in an informal setting,” said Brett Hulst, assistant director of Housing and the Freshman Experience. “The goal is for our students to feel more comfortable talking with faculty, and the dinners are just one way we address the component of the strategic plan that encourages increased faculty and student interaction.”

The time commitment is minimal for those interested in participating.

For example, Cindy Zapata, an assistant professor in the Scheller College of Business, has hosted a dinner, and said that it only took about two hours of her time to prepare.

“It’s up to the faculty member to think of a topic he or she is passionate about — whether it’s a hobby or a current event — and come up with a few discussion questions,” said Holly Shikano, coordinator of residential academic initiatives for staff and community development in Residence Life. “After that’s done, all you have to do is navigate to the building the night of the dinner and hang out with our students.”  

Charles Liotta, a Regents Professor emeritus and chair in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, has also hosted a dinner. He chose to speak about his experiences with students over many years at Tech and his love for chemistry.

Liotta’s advice to any colleagues interested in participating in the program?

“Don’t do all of the talking,” he said. “Be sure you engage in give-and-take

Shikano is also looking to organize a few dinners at the beginning of the semester that focus on this year’s First-Year Reading book, Living with Complexity by Don Norman.

Those interested in leading a discussion on the book should email her by July 30. Anyone interested in hosting a dinner on another topic should let Shikano know by Sept. 6.



  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created By: Amelia Pavlik
  • Created: 07/08/2013
  • Modified By: Fletcher Moore
  • Modified: 10/07/2016

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