North Central News

Honors salon series explores new theme of social justice

Kara Kots

Nov 29, 2021

This fall, the Honors Salon Series is back by popular demand with more presenters and topics surrounding a new theme: social justice. This time last year, North Central’s Honors Program debuted its first-ever salon series. Throughout the year, the program hosted 12 different salons around the theme of racial justice. The series featured faculty members across a range of departments presenting on topics, such as environmental racism, voter suppression and media depictions of race in the criminal justice system.

After a successful debut, student organizer Nicholas Cheop ’22 explained, “We decided to continue the salon series because a central part of the Honors program is to encourage learning both inside and outside the classroom in an interdisciplinary manner … and these events exemplify that idea.”

Right away, the salon series captured the attention of students, faculty and staff alike. “Last year, we had a great turnout at every single salon,” said Cheop. “Many continued to come back and learn about the different topics we covered, so we never even questioned if we’d continue the series this year.” 

With a new theme came new opportunities to involve more faculty members in the conversation and share their expertise and passions. “The topics covered in the salons are ones that we may not get to learn about or discuss in the classroom, but they all affect our everyday lives in some way or another,” added Cheop. 

Kicking off the fall semester series was Carly Drake, assistant professor of marketing, who explored media representations of the body and how they influence our multifaceted identities. Bill Muck, professor of political science, presented next on what voter suppression and the January 6 attack on the Capitol reveal about the state of American democracy. This month, Susan Kempinger, assistant professor of physics; Chandreyee Mitra, associate professor of biology; Alicia Okpareke, associate professor of education; and Lindsay Wexler, assistant professor of education, discussed the need for diversity in STEM education. While the previous salon series was held virtually, the sessions are now available in person, and continue to be open to all campus community members.

The last session will take place on Wednesday, Dec. 1, at 4 p.m. in Stevenson Hall. Liana Peter-Hagene, assistant professor of psychology, will discuss racial bias in criminal trials and prejudice in jury decision-making and implications for recent and forthcoming trials involving police officers.

The popular series will continue in spring semester. David Cordero, assistant professor of art and design, and Meegan Lambert, assistant professor of occupational therapy, are among faculty members who will be included as presenters. 

To learn more and register, visit the Honors Salon Series web page.

For more information about the series, contact Nick Cheop at njcheop@noctrl.edu.