Rhett Talks

Rhett Talks is BU’s version of the popular TEDx talks. Listen to some of our University’s best faculty give brief, innovative, and engaging presentations outside of the classroom!

Rhett Talks explores the great intellectual breadth that is found across our University’s many schools and colleges. It also allows faculty members of all levels to experience student life in a new way.

Three 15 minute presentations will occur at each event. You will have a brief opportunity to ask questions on each presentation. And yes, refreshments are included.

The Faculty-in-Residence program sponsors Rhett Talks, with assistance from the Dean of Students Office and Residence Life.

What They’re Saying About Rhett Talks

BU Today, September 9, 2013
Daily Free Press, September 10, 2013
Daily Free Press , September 17, 2013
BU Quad, September 25, 2013
BU Quad, October 2, 2013


The Talks

September 9 – Rich Hall Cinema Room

Dean Virginia Sapiro
So you think you treat people as individuals, not as categories or stereotypes, eh?
Dean Sapiro draws on research from social and political psychology to show how and why you may see people and interact with them on the basis of preconceptions and stereotypes more than you know, and why that is simultaneously both necessary and problematic.

Lawford Anderson, Professor
The Future of Energy
The supply of energy to the world offers many career opportunities, from education, law, engineering, and science to  technology. The fossil fuel era continues to extend its end but it is a finite resource.  The use of coal and oil are also impacting the world’s climate as never seen before in human or earth history. Nuclear energy is well established but has its own issues of radioactive waste. The growth areas of green energy, including wind and solar are immense followed by those of geothermal, biomass, fuel cells, and tidal. The future of hydrogen fusion remains uncertain but are huge in expectations as it is the fuel of stars.

Thomas Cottle, Professor
Witness to the Story
Perhaps it is fair to say that we are the stories we tell, stories that describe and define the meanings we make of things, events, and more generally what it means to be us. But our stories require witnesses, people who confirm our narratives and in ethical terms terms, discover that they have taken responsibility for us. And so it is that we begin to understand the deepest nature of the relationships we hold with parents, teachers, counselors, and friends.

September 17 – Warren Towers Cinema Room

Dean Natalie McKnight
The Top Ten Reasons Why Dickens Still Matters in the 21st Century
The top ten reasons why Dickens is still relevant in spite of the fact that we live in the age of tweets and instant entertainment and Dickens wrote LONG sentences and 900-page novels.

Joan Salge Blake, Clinical Associate Professor
The Myth of the Freshman 15
Some research suggests that the Freshman 15 is a myth; however, studies do show that weight gain may be problematic for students over their cumulative years in college. This talk will provide tips and strategies to help all students from freshmen to seniors avoid some of the potential nutrition pitfalls of college life and beyond.

Sophie Godley, Clinical Assistant Professor
Lies They Told You in High School Sex Ed Class, and Why
Much of what is taught in US high schools during sexuality education is inaccurate, misleading, and unhelpful to teens.  Research on public health prevention provides insights on what actually works to support teens and young adults to make healthy decisions about sexuality.  This talk will explore the reasons high school sexuality education is often counterproductive, and suggest alternative frameworks for healthy sexuality.

September 24 – Kilachand Hall

Nathan Phillips, Professor
The Ecology of Boston
The study of urban ecology has progressed from a focus on ecology in cities, to the ecology of cities. I will use a research example of natural gas leaks to illustrate the need for a more holistic ecological understanding of cities.

Adam Sweeting, Associate Professor
Tropical New England
In a presentation that brings the humanities disciplines into conversation about global climate change, Dr. Sweeting explore the cultural implications of climate change in New England.

Andrew Bacevich, Professor
How the United States Became Mired in the Middle East
Professor Bacevich will discuss U. S. foreign policy in the Greater Middle East since the promulgation of the Carter Doctrine in 1980.  He will explain how the militarization of U. S. policy in this region has produced repeated disappointment combined with ever escalating costs.

September 30 – 10 Buick Street

Doug Kriner, Associate Professor
Hail to the Pork? The Presidency and Inequality.
The talk challenges conventional wisdom that presidents try to balance out the particularistic impulses of members of Congress and instead are focused on the national interest and maximum efficiency (every president since Washington has claimed this). Instead, we show that presidents engage in pork barrel politics to an even greater extent than members of Congress, channeling federal dollars to key constituencies.

Tyrone Porter, Associate Professor
The Legacy of Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs is considered the most innovative mind in the modern era.  His products have reshaped how we work, design, interact, communicate, and live.  But is there more to gain from his life-story than how we use his products?  This talk will share excerpts from his biography that may paint a new picture on his legacy and impact how you think and learn

Duy Doan, Director
The Favorite Poem Project, Poems Aloud
The Favorite Poem Project, founded by Robert Pinsky during his time as Poet Laureate of the United States, is dedicated to celebrating the role of poetry in the lives of Americans. With Rhett Talks, we’ll listen to favorite poems from the Project and talk about the pleasures of reading poems aloud.