College of Liberal Arts

University of Mississippi

University Hosts Inaugural TEDx Talks

October 31 event features 10 brief lectures

SEPTEMBER 29, 2015  |  BY MICHAEL NEWSOM

Tedxum graphicThe University of Mississippi hosts its inaugural TEDx talks Oct. 31 at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts. The 9 a.m. event will feature 10 brief lectures from university faculty members to showcase “ideas worth spreading.”

“TEDxUM 2015” uses the TED Talks conference format, which brings together lecturers and other participants in a globally popular set of conferences run by the Sapling Foundation under the slogan “Ideas worth spreading.” Under the rules set by TED for the event, it will be open to only about 100 audience members this year, but organizers plan a much larger TEDxUM event for 2016.

“We believe it critical that Mississippi and the University of Mississippi, in particular, showcase the many ideas we have that are worth spreading,” said Marvin King, UM associate professor of political science and African American studies. “We have incredible researchers and activists in our community, and the TED platform is among the best ways to make sure that Mississippi is a part of engaging discussions leading to real, positive change.”

Elizabeth Wicks

Elizabeth Wicks

The theme for the event is “In Plain Sight,” said TEDxUM organizer Elizabeth Wicks, a senior international studies and French double-major from Ocean Springs.

“It will serve to highlight the great minds that we have here on our campus and show the world the amazing work being done in the Oxford area,” Wicks said. “Our theme for this year is ‘In Plain Sight’ and will remark upon those aspects of life which are right before our eyes, yet must be illuminated in order to receive recognition.”

She said audience members will be constantly engaged by a diverse group of speakers and they’ll also participate in interactive breakout sessions.

“The importance of an event such as TEDxUM on our campus cannot be understated,” Wicks said. “This will be the first event of its kind to occur at any university within the state of Mississippi and will be the second of its kind within the state as a whole. I believe that it will be an event that will better our community tremendously as well as show the world the talent and promise that we have here at Ole Miss.”

About 60 prospective faculty and staff lecturers were nominated to speak. A nine-member committee of five students and four faculty-staff members selected 10 speakers for TEDxUM 2015.

Marvin King

Marvin King

After the talks, breakout sessions will give audience members a chance to respond to the talks. The event also includes a reception.

“We want people to remember the day not as a series of 12-to-18-minute lectures, but as a lifetime of engagement with ideas worth spreading,” King said.

The talks will be recorded and later posted on the TEDx Youtube channel. Watch >>

Speakers for TEDxUM 2015 are:

Randy Wadkins, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, talking about nanotechnology
Matthew Wilson, assistant professor of theatre arts, lecturing on humor
Mitchell Robinson, of Strawberry Plains Audubon Center, discussing diversity and environmental activism
Cathy Janasie, research counsel for the National Sea Grant Law Center, lecturing on water scarcity
Michele Alexandre, professor of law and Leonard B. Melvin Lecturer in Law, giving her talk titled “The B Word”
Gregory Heyworth, associate professor of English, lecturing on digital humanities
David Rock, dean of the UM School of Education, discussing classroom technology
Laura Johnson, associate professor of psychology, lecturing on cross-cultural engagement
Marc Slattery, professor of pharmacognosy, talking about drug research from the ocean
Chris McCurdy, professor of medicinal chemistry and pharmacology, lecturing on natural products used to diagnose neural damage

Visit the TEDxUM 2015 Facebook page, for details.