Friday, September 23, 2016

Theatre Director/Educator Dr. Matt Saltzberg to give Kennedy Lecture

In honor of 70 years of Culture and Memory, a theme for Ohio University Chillicothe this year for its 70th birthday, the campus will hold its annual Kennedy Lecture on Thursday, October 6, 2016. The lecture will take place at 1:00 p.m. in the Bennett Hall Auditorium. The lecture is free and open to the public. Teachers, students, and community members are encouraged to attend. Seating in the auditorium is first-come, first-served.

Dr. Matt Saltzberg, theatre director and educator, will give a lecture titled “Rehearsing Empathy.” The talk will explore educators’ relationships with students, highlighting empathy as the means of strengthening those connections.

Saltzberg believes that educators need to be more aware of and attuned to their physical presence, their bodies, and the bodies in the room with them, especially in how they relate to students.

He says, “in the Western world we’re so removed from our body,” as products of Enlightenment thinking influenced by Rene Descartes’s proposition “I think, therefore I am.” But empathy is in the body, according to Saltzberg.

For the theatre director and educator, an act as simple as greeting students by name on their way into the classroom can make a significant impact not only on the relationships between student and teacher, but also on the student’s outlook on their day and life in general.

Educators have a responsibility to their students preceding even sharing and creating knowledge with them: “We have to treat students like people,” Saltzberg says.

The annual Kennedy Lecture at OU-C aims to attract nationally recognized speakers who share expertise from diverse fields. Funded through an Ohio University grant, previous speakers include: author Dr. Miki Crawford, who presented work from her book Japanese War Brides in America: An Oral History, historian Dr. Charles McKinney, who spoke on recent civil rights issues, and Russian-American political scholar, Dr. George Hudson.

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