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What does it mean to be a liberal arts university?

The William & Mary community is invited to attend a "Campus Conversation" Thursday on what it means to be a liberal arts university in the 21st century.

The discussion, which will feature Provost Michael R. Halleran as moderator and four faculty participants, is titled "Is a Liberal Arts University Possible?: William & Mary in the 21st Century." The event, which is free and open to the public, will be held from 3:30 to 5 p.m. in Tidewater Room A of the Sadler Center.

Provost Halleran"This topic raises many vital questions," Halleran said. "I look forward to a robust give and take of ideas, and unlike the case of the ‘Raft Debate,' no one is left behind on the ‘island;' all good ideas can and will advance."

The event is the first in a series of conversations planned this academic year on what it means for William & Mary to be a liberal arts university in the 21st century.   What are the opportunities, challenges and implications of this identity and goal? It also ties into the overarching grand challenge identified last year as part of the strategic planning process: for William & Mary "To be a leader among liberal arts universities."

In addition to the strategic planning Web site, a "conversation" Web site has also been launched and will continue to be updated throughout the year.

During Thursday's discussion, Halleran will moderate a panel discussion followed by questions and conversation from the audience. W&M panelists will include Herrington Bryce, Life of Virginia Professor of Business; Keith Griffioen, chair and professor of physics; Leisa Meyer, associate professor of history and American studies and Joel Schwartz, director of Charles Center and dean of honors and interdisciplinary studies.

Brief versions of the panelists' positions are posted on the Web.