What is a Flashpoint?

Flashpoints are faculty generated public forums aimed at spotlighting global and local events significant to our human and planetary experience. Inspired by university wide conversations on academic culture, Flashpoints bring faculty, staff, students, and the community together in structured dialogues that highlight how interdisciplinary expertise offers perspective on current events. Flashpoints will occur intermittently throughout the academic year as significant events arise.

Flashpoints begin with a panel of faculty from different disciplines who explain the issue through the questions raised in their discipline. After each panelist has been given a chance to answer key questions, the forum is opened up to the audience for a question an interactive dialogue. This format allows for audience members to be participants as well as observers.

The CFI coordinates up to three Flashpoints per semester; as such, the CFI is now accepting ideas for spring events. If a topic of extreme time sensitivity arises in the interim, and a forum is needed for dialogue, faculty are encouraged to reach out directly to cfi@jmu.edu to discuss.

Propose a Flashpoint

To submit a successful proposal in consideration for a Flashpoint, You will be asked to:

  1. Develop a working title and a 5-7 sentence description with a list of relevant sources.
  2. Brainstorm a list of potential faculty panelists representing diverse academic perspectives on the issue.
  3. Propose 2-3 possible dates. Flashpoints typically take place on Friday afternoons during the semester.

If the Flashpoint proposal is accepted, the CFI will work with the proposer to contact the panelists and arrange all logistics and marketing. Each panel is moderated by Sarah Brooks, Ph.D., Art History. 

Spring 2018 Flashpoints

  • Disability Rights/Civil Rights on the Line (March 29, 2018)
    • Panelists:
      • Daisy L. Breneman, M.A., Instructor in Justice Studies; Co-Coordinator of the Disability Studies Minor; and Faculty Advisor for the Justice Studies Student Society,
      • Susan Ghiaciuc, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Writing, Rhetoric, and Technical Communication,
      • Valerie Schoolcraft, M.A., Director of the Office for Disability Services, and
      • Matt Trybus, M.Ed., Coordinator of the Peer Assisted Study Sessions/PASS, The Learning Center.
  • #MeToo (February 8, 2018)
    • Panelists:
      • Ed Brantmeier, Ph.D., CFI & College of Education,
      • Shelly Hokanson, Ph.D., School of Media Arts & Design,
      • Claire Lyons, Ph.D., Psychology,
      • Amy Sirocky-Meck, Ed.M., Title IX Coordinator and Graduate Psychology,
      • Kristin Wylie, Ph.D., Political Science.

Fall 2017 Flashpoints

  • Panelists:
    • Tammy Castle, Ph.D., Justice Studies,
    • Gianluca De Fazio Ph.D., Justice Studies,
    • Steven Reich, Ph.D., History,
    • Roger Soenksen, Ph.D., School of Media Arts & Design.
  • Panelists:
    • Kevin Borg,Ph.D., History
    • Thanh H. Dang, AICP, City Planner, City of Harrisonburg
    • Abdelrahman Rabie, Ph.D. Integrated Science and Technology, Emeritus,and Co-creator of the "Many Voices of Harrisonburg"
    • Steven Thomas, Organizer and Restorative Justice Coordinator, Harrisonburg’s Northeast Neighborhood Association
  • Creating a More Inclusive Campus and Community (Oct. 13, 2017).
    • Panelists:
      • Jonathan Alger, JD, President of James Madison University,
      • Yvonne Harris, PhD, Research and Scholarship,
      • Karina Kline-Gabel, MA, Foreign Languages, Literatures, and Cultures; Virginia Latino Higher Education Network; Madison Hispanic Faculty Caucus, and
      • Bill White, EdD, College of Education. 

Upcoming flashpoints



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