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2014-2015 Theme: "The Joy of Discovery"
Request for Proposals

The Joy of Discovery
Convocation Year 2014-2015

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” Marcel Proust

"Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.” Carl Sagan

“The joy of discovery is certainly the liveliest that the mind of man can ever feel.” Claude Bernard

The Convocation Committee is pleased to announce that Bill Nye is the speaker for next year’s Convocation keynote, which will be held on Thursday, September 18, 2014. Our keynote is well known for his popular television show, “Bill Nye the Science Guy,” for which he won seven Emmy awards for writing, performing, and producing. He is the host of three currently-running television series, “The 100 Greatest Discoveries” airing on the Science Channel,  “Eyes of the Nye” airing on PBS, and his most current project, “Stuff Happens,” which airs on Planet Green and focuses on environmentally responsible choices that consumers can make. For the last few years he has served as the Vice President of the Planetary Society and is currently serving as Executive Director of the society, which is considered to be the world’s largest space-interest group. A short video featuring Bill Nye speaking on the topic of the joy of discovery can be found at:

For the 2014-2015 convocation year, we invite the campus to explore the importance of engaging in the joy of discovery. Some discoveries are deeply personal, whereas other discoveries have far reaching implications. For example, the process of discovery can be used to address “wicked problems.” There are issues where the answers are actually known but the trade-offs needed to accomplish the solution are really difficult. This year’s convocation encourages members of the campus community to think of creative ways to address these types of issues. It promises to be a particularly exciting academic year with the opening of our new science building so please join us as we celebrate the joy of discovery!

Academic departments, student groups, campus organizations, and individuals are encouraged to submit a proposal to sponsor an event any day, evening, or weekend when classes are in session during the 2014-2015 academic year. Our budget for the year is $7,000. We particularly encourage interdisciplinary proposals. We will give preference to proposals with minimal budget needs that take advantage of the abundant talent available on campus and from the surrounding area. It is often the case that organizers utilize multiple sources of funding to support their event.

Proposals could focus on topics such as the following:

  • What are some of the greatest discoveries both past and present and how will they shape our future?
  • What have been some of the most important discoveries in your discipline and how did they come about?
  • In what ways have certain discoveries had both a positive and negative impact in our lives?
  • What is a “wicked problem” that your discipline grapples with and how can it be addressed through a process of discovery?
  • What do you think will be the most important discovery in the next century?  What drives new discoveries?
  • How do we engage in the process of self discovery, exploring who we are and what it means?
  • In what ways have different disciplines come together to make major discoveries?
  • How can the campus baccalaureate goals: “creative, connected, skilled, and responsible” be used to ignite the joy of discovery in our students?
  • How does one inspire and cultivate intellectual curiosity? How do we encourage the next generation of learners to engage in the joy of discovery?

Proposals should include the following information:

  • Title and description of event
  • Explanation of how the event fits the theme
  • When, where and under what circumstances the event will take place (we would like to spread the events out over the entire academic year). While final dates are not necessary, you should check on the availability of your proposed venue
  • Who the intended audience is-entire campus, particular department or group of departments, students in a particular year of study, faculty, etc.
  • A description of how you plan to publicize the event; the Convocation Committee is only responsible for coordinating the keynote event and publicizing the series as a whole
  • Who is sponsoring the event? This should include the name(s) of the primary contact(s) and the department or organization under whose auspices the event will take place
  • A budget, including all expenses and all sources of funds (if non-convocation funds are anticipated)

Proposals will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

  • Congruence with the convocation theme
  • Ability to generate attendance and dialogue
  • Quality of the event
  • Reasonableness of the budget
  • Thoroughness of the proposal
The entire proposal, from title to budget, must be no longer than 3 single sided pages; deadline for receipt of proposals is Friday, May 9, 2014 at noon . Award notifications will be sent out approximately one week later. A representative of each funded project will be required to attend a meeting for coordination purposes at the beginning of the Fall 2014 semester.

Please submit your proposals electronically to the 2014-2015 Chair of the Convocation Committee, by May 9, 2014 at noon.

Questions regarding the proposal process or convocation matters may be addressed to Dawn Eckenrode at 673-4864 or send an e-mail to:

Review examples of past requests for proposals:

Members of the Convocation Committee are: Michael Barone, Mira Berkley, Tracy Collingwood, Jack Croxton, Dawn Eckenrode, Lauren Orlowski, Karolyn Stonefelt, Denise Szalkowski, Jefferson Westwood, Rolanda Ward, and Patrick Rocheleau.

The Convocation Committee would like to thank the Office of the President and the Faculty Student Association for their generous support in making Convocation possible. We would also like to thank Jack Croxton for his years of service as Convocation Committee Chair. We wish him well in new campus undertakings and look forward to his continued involvement in future Convocation activities.

Page modified 12/7/15