Honors Open Meeting: Guest Speaker Dr. Marie Werner, Sociology Department

                 On Monday March 5, 2012, Honors College students filled Butcher Suite in the Kessel Student Center for the Honors College Open Meeting, held during common hour.  The speaker at this annual event was Dr. Marie Werner of the Sociology Department. Dr. Werner gave an insightful lecture about her perspective on the rise of technology in today’s society. She spoke about technology’s “take over” of society and questioned whether this was a positive or negative turning point.

                  Dr. Werner said that she notices a clear difference in the way people currently rely on technology— as opposed to her own youth and time in college.  Dr. Werner also mentioned how she is lost when it comes to using the new gadgets that find their way into her classroom. She believes that technology is changing how society as a whole functions.  People are becoming more and more dependent on technology and less dependent on face-to-face interaction. Dr. Werner contends that there will never be a replacement for  interpersonal interaction, because it will always be the best form of communication, regardless of the technology available.

                  She sees the difference in her classes and on campus; students are learning differently and the campus culture is surely changing.  Once again, she did not say if it was a good or bad thing, only that she is noticing a clear change. One interesting question asked by a student was if Dr. Werner sees a difference in how the students themselves act because of technology. She responded that the students are the same, but the ways in which they learn and interact are changing. She shared information from a study that states peoples’ eyes move differently when reading a book than when reading a computer screen; this may have an effect on the way students learn.  Dr. Werner’s very  interesting lecture made every student think about the future of society and technology.

                  After Dr. Werner finished filling our minds with these concepts, Dr. Benton took the microphone to discuss ideas for possible Honors College events for upcoming semesters. She also wanted feedback from the students about which courses they wanted to see in  future semesters and possible guest speakers for the next Open Meeting.